NMU 293 – Bacopa Supplementation Supports and Improves Memory in Aging
Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 293 (June 20, 2023)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Bacopa Supplementation Supports and Improves Memory in Aging
Source: Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience Journal (2021)
One of the lesser-known ways to preserve memory and reverse early-stage memory loss in aging is to supplement with well documented Indian herb known as Bacopa monnieri. It doesn’t get as much attention as other memory-support supplements like CDP-choline, Phosphatidylserine, and Huperzine A, but experimental and human clinical studies most impressive for this supplement to preserve and enhance memory function.More specifically, extracts from the Bacopa monnieri plant contain medical ingredients known as Bacosides A and B. These unique molecules are shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and exert a variety of protective effects on brain cells, linked to memory preservation as well as repairing some damaged brain cells. As reported in a 2015 review paper on Bacopa monnieri, experimental studies show that it can remove and/or detoxify some toxic metals within brain cells, quench free radicals via its potent antioxidant properties, reduce brain inflammation, improve brain blood flow, and raise levels of the memory chemical acetylcholine. It can also increase levels of the brain’s protective antioxidants, including Superoxide Dismutase, Catalase and Glutathione Peroxidase.
The 2021 research paper published in the journal Frontiers of Aging and Neuroscience reviewed all the available human clinical studies that tested Bacopa monnieri in memory function. The researchers cited various studies showing that Bacopa monnieri supplementation has improved immediate and delayed recall memory in several human studies and has induced improved brain processing speed and sustained attention in studies that were conducted over 12- weeks, 90-days and 3-months, suggesting that Bacopa monnieri starts working within a very short period of time, one supplementation is initiated.
My feeling is that people over the age of 50 or 55 should take a memory support supplement each day that combines Bacopa monnieri (standardized to 20% Bacosides content) with CDP-choline, Phosphatidylserine and Huperzine A. This is an important consideration, as it becomes difficult for the brain to maintain optimal levels of the memory chemical, acetylcholine after the age of 50-55. This is due the fact that the blood-brain barrier become less effective at transporting key nutrients from the blood into the brain, especially after age 50-55. As a result, studies show that almost 50% of adults aged 64 years and older tend to report difficulties with their memory (Reid L. M., MacLullich A. M. J. Subjective memory complaints and cognitive impairment in older people. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders. 2006;22(5-6):471–485. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17047326/).
In addition to memory problems, executive function, processing speed, attention, and spatial ability have also been shown to decline with age (see reference below: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564646/#:~:text=The%20Indian%20herb%2C%20Bacopa%20monnieri,and%20age%2Drelated%20cognitive%20decline).
One way to combat the age-related decline in memory, executive function, and brain processing speed, is to provide your brain with key nutrients shown to cross the blood-brain barrier that guard against these aspects of age-related brain deterioration and dysfunction. As such, the combination of Bacopa monnieri, CDP-choline, Huperzine A and Phosphatidylserine is a supplement combination that individuals over the age of 50 should strongly consider taking each day, in my view.
I have included the references for Bacopa monnieri in the text below. Many people and doctors have never heard of Bacopa monnieri, but the research studies on this supplement are most impressive.
Simpson T et al. Bacopa monnieri as an antioxidant therapy to reduce oxidative stress in the aging brain. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564646/#:~:text=The%20Indian%20herb%2C%20Bacopa%20monnieri,and%20age%2Drelated%20cognitive%20decline
McPhee G.M. et al. The Neurocognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri and cognitive training on markers of brain microstructure in healthy older adults. Aging Neurosci. 2012; 13: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.638109/full
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