New data drives home cognitive benefits of Noogandha

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© Onurdongel / Getty Images
© Onurdongel / Getty Images

Related tags ashwagandha Memory

Specnova's Noogandha ashwagandha ingredient can improve short-term memory, attention, vigilance and reaction times in healthy men and women, according to new research.

The study, funded by the ingredient supplier Specnova in collaboration with research consultancy Increnovo LLC, examined the effects of liposomal ashwagandha supplementation on cognitive function, mood and markers of health and safety in healthy men and women under the age of 50.

Noogandha, available worldwide, is described as a root/leaf liposomal custom composition ashwagandha with high total withanolide levels as well as other important bioactive compounds, namely alkaloids and saponins. 

A dosage of 225 mg of this ingredient over 15 an 30 days was previously shown to reduce markers of stress and improve cognitive function​ in individuals with perceived stress. 

A 400 mg acute dosage was found to help sustain attention and increase short-term/working memory​ in healthy young adults.

Sebastian Balcombe, founder and CEO of Specnova, told NutraIngredients that this latest study drives home the cognitive performance and mood benefits of the ingredient, "showing how it performs differently from any other ashwagandha in the market".

"It only needs a 225 mg dose for chronic use or 400 mg for a single dose/acute effect, perfect for RTD’s in the nootropic/energy category, or pre-workout products," he added.

The study

Researchers from Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin and Increnovo LLC recruited 59 men and women between the ages of 18 and 49. Participants donated a fasting blood sample and were administered the COMPASS cognitive function test battery (Word Recall, Word recognition, Choice Reaction Time Task, Picture Recognition, Digit Vigilance Task, Corsi Block test, Stroop test) and profile of mood states (POMS).

In a randomized and double-blind manner, participants were administered 225 mg of a placebo (Gum Arabic) or ashwagandha (Withania somnifera​) root and leaf extract coated with a liposomal covering.

After 60 minutes, participants repeated cognitive assessments. They then continued supplementation (225 mg/d) for 30 days and returned to the lab to repeat the experiment.

Resulting data indicated that those supplemented with ashwagandha had improved acute and 30-day measures of word recall, choice reaction time, picture recognition, digit vigilance, stroop color-word and POMS from baseline compared to placebo.

Mechanisms of action

There are several potential mechanisms through which ashwagandha may influence cognition, according to the researchers. First, ashwagandha has been reported to serve as an adaptogen thereby improving response and resilience to stress.

"The cognitive function tests produce a stressful state," the study noted. "Consequently, ashwagandha may have improved cognitive function by allowing the participants to perform better during stressful situations. Second, ashwagandha has been reported to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, increase neurotransmission and provide neuroprotective effects."

Ashwagandha has also been reported to influence gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has been a target in the treatment of anxiety. The herb has also been reported to promote the quality of sleep, thereby improving cognitive function. Finally, it has also been reported to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, issues which have been implicated in the progression of cognitive impairment during aging.

"While we studied younger participants, it is possible that ashwagandha mediated oxidative stress and/or inflammation, thereby improving cognitive function," the researchers wrote.

The report advised additional research is warranted to: conduct studies on more frequent, higher doses, and/or a longer supplementation period; evaluate the effects of ashwagandha supplementation during a standardized and supervised exercise and diet intervention; examine the potential nootropic effects of ashwagandha supplementation in older individuals as a nutrition strategy to maintain cognitive function before experiencing clinically significant mild cognitive impairment.

Source: Nutrients
doi:10.3390/nu16121813 (registering DOI)
"Acute and Repeated Ashwagandha Supplementation Improves Markers of Cognitive Function and Mood"
Authors: Leonard, M. et al. 

Related topics Research

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