So what is Bacopa Monnieri good for? How much do we know about it?
Quite a bit, actually, on both counts.
Bacopa Monnieri has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a nerve tonic, as well as to enhance cognitive function.
Written records of Bacopa being used for neurological deficits date back to around 600AD.
Bacopa is also known as ‘Brahmi’ in Ayurvedic practice, and is typically prescribed for epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, ADHD, anxiety, stress, and memory issues.
The interesting thing about Bacopa is the way it improves memory. It enhances ‘Active Memory’.
What do I mean by ‘Active Memory’?
Think of it as the RAM in your computer. It’s not the storage capacity; it’s the space you have to perform functions right now.
Bacopa provides users with the flexibility to multi-task; to shift attention from one thing to another.
It has also been shown to benefit creativity; which is somewhat unusual in the world of nootropics.
Is it any wonder that we see Bacopa in so many Nootropic stacks?
The truth is, we still don’t understand the full extent and scope of what Bacopa can do for the improvement of mental capacities.
Ayurvidic practitioners in the East have already accepted Bacopa as a broad spectrum neural enhancer.
Meanwhile, the Western world has been doing scientific research to clarify what the health benefits of Bacopa Monnieri are for quite some time.
In other words, the scientific community is trying to substantiate what is already being assumed as true by Eastern medicine.
That being said, let’s take a look at what we already know about Bacopa, shall we?
What is Bacopa Monnieri? – Does it Improve Brain Health?
Bacopa Monnieri is called Water Hyssop by Westerners. It’s a creeping perennial native to India and Australia.
It grows in wetland areas, has oval-shaped leaves, and purple flowers. The whole plant is used as medicine.
Bacopa benefits users first as a neuroprotective agent, and second as a natural psychostimulant.
The brain is very vulnerable to oxidative stress because it is largely composed of unsaturated fats or lipids.
When free radicals, or unpaired electrons, are permitted to prowl around in our heads, bad things can happen.
The fats and proteins in our brain cells can essentially get mutated. Metabolic reactions can be disrupted, and the integrity of DNA strands can be compromised.
Basically, when our tissues get damaged by free radicals, they get altered on the molecular level.
You could also say that they get inflamed, which can potentially lead to cancer.
Kind of a big deal.
BM has compounds in it called Bacosides that soak up unpaired electrons and render them harmless.
In other words, BM reduces inflammation, and can help prevent cancer.
Great defense! How’s the offense?
Bacopa Monnieri also enhances cognitive function in the following ways:
- Reuptake Inhibitor – prevents the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine from breaking down
- Improves Neuroplasticity – increases the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain
- Vasodilator – increases cerebral blood flow
- Acts as an Adaptogen – regulates the release and activity of stress hormones like Cortisol
- Anxiolytic – relieves anxiety and stress, and can act as a mild anti-depressant
This is not an exhaustive list, but as of this writing, these are the health benefits of BM that we have verified with scientific research.
Bacopa Monnieri Benefits – Is it Good for ADHD?
In this article, I really wanted you to understand that Bacopa not only provides a wide range of health benefits to users, but a few characteristics that make it very unique as a natural nootropic.
One feature is the ability to improve attention and cognitive flexibility. This is significant because BM has been shown to be a great nootropic for ADHD.
Add to that the fact that Bacopa has virtually no side effects, and I could see it being used in the future for children with ADHD.
In fact, a few studies have already been conducted where children with ADHD have seen significant improvements in restlessness, self-control, attention, learning capacity, and impulsive behaviours.
I know that’s very controversial, but please hear me out.
I have inattentive ADD, and so does my daughter.
My wife and I have decided not to medicate her because we don’t feel that her condition is severe enough to justify the risk.
ADD is a form of ADHD that’s lower on the spectrum; in other words it’s less severe.
It has a minor effect on her performance at school, but we’ve decided to work on that with social conditioning instead of medications.
My wife and I are also aware that only 70% of children that take prescribed psychostimulant medications see significant improvements in behaviour.
These kids also run the risk of experiencing symptoms like nausea, insomnia, and weight loss.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that I would feel a whole lot better having my daughter take Bacopa Monnieri for her ADD than a completely synthetic medication.
If we were to go that route, I would definitely do my research, consult with my daughter’s doctor, and make as informed a decision as possible.
Medicating kids for ADHD or ADD is a very touchy subject, and it’s not a decision any parent should make lightly.
But I will say this; I see a lot of potential in doing more research on Bacopa for this specific purpose.
I think it could be a real game changer once enough studies have been done.
Bacopa Monnieri Uses – How does it Optimize Neurotransmitters?
Another characteristic that I think makes Bacopa special is how it improves the effectiveness of another nootropic, CDP Choline, to enhance brain function.
Let me explain.
Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter ever discovered. It performs several key functions in the brain.
Neurohackers often take CDP Choline as a supplement to increase Acetylcholine levels.
Citicholine provides Choline in a form that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby enhancing cognitive functions.
Bacopa Monnieri stops the enzyme that breaks down Acetylcholine from working.
So when neurohackers take Citicholine and Bacopa together, not only is there more Acetylcholine present in the brain, less Acetylcholine breakdown takes place.
In other words, taking Citicholine and BM together creates a very powerful synergistic effect to improve mental capacities.
I get to experience this benefit every day when I take my chosen nootropic stack, Mind Lab Pro. I take it to manage my ADD, and it works like a charm.
Mind Lab Pro has 11 ingredients in it, but I think it’s worth noting that Citicholine and Bacopa have been paired together in this stack to enhance their effectiveness.
Several premium nootropic stacks are engineered this way.
Bacopa for Depression – Can it Boost our Mood?
As if the many benefits of Bacopa already discussed weren’t enough, there are still more to mention.
In other words, BM can lower stress and anxiety levels just as well as prescription drugs like Lorazepam, but without severe side effects.
BM can also prevent the onset of depression by increasing levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor(BDNF).
Increasing BDNF levels in the brain encourages the growth of new brain cells, and the repair of receptors at the synapses.
This of course leads to greater sensitivity to neurotransmitters at the receptor sites, and accelerated brain activity.
Last but not least, Bacopa has saponins and flavonoids in it that increase blood flow to the brain.
This means more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the brain cells, thereby enhancing cognitive function.
Bacopa Monnieri Side Effects – Dosage Notes
Bacosides are the active ingredient in BM, and they’re fat soluble.
This is why I recommend that bacopa extracts be taken with a high quality fat like organic coconut oil or extra virgin cold pressed olive oil.
Basically, it improves the delivery of the Bacosides to the brain.
Alternatively, Bacopa supplements can be taken with food. Bacopa is generally free of side effects, but sometimes users experience mild nausea or fatigue.
The dosage required to be effective will depend on the Bacoside content of the supplement. This is a basic guide:
- Assuming 20% Bacoside Content: Recommended Dosage of 600-900 mg/day
- Assuming 50% Bacoside Content: Recommended Dosage of 250-400 mg/day
It is also important to keep in mind that everybody has a unique body chemistry, and the amount of Bacopa needed to be effective might vary somewhat from one person to another.
Bacopa is also more effective when taken over several days.
The effects come on slowly sometimes, since it is a natural nootropic, and not a psychostimulant like Adderall or Ritalin.
If you do decide to try Bacopa either as a nootropic, or to treat a neurological ailment, I think it’s fair to temper your expectations and be patient.
Bacopa Review – Final Commentary
What is Bacopa Monnieri good for?
I’d have to answer that question with another question; “What isn’t it good for?”.
Bacopa Monnieri has so many useful properties as a nootropic that it almost seems like a ‘cure-all’ solution for neurological issues of any kind.
However, I did outline a few special characteristics that I think we should try and take full advantage of whenever possible.
This is my list of ‘Best Benefits’ –
- Enhances Focus/Attention/Multi-Tasking Ability
- Improves Creativity
- Treatment for Neurological Disorders – Alzheimers, Parkinsons, dementia
- Neural Tonic – Epilepsy
- ADHD Treatment – for both Adults and Children
- Synergistic Effects – Good for Stacking with Citicholine
- Reduces Anxiety & Stress
- Acceleration of Brain Activity
- Managing Memory Issues
Basically, if any of these possible uses resonate with you, I would recommend you try a good Bacopa extract.
Please keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. You need to do your own research on any products that you might purchase.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Bacopa truly is a wonder of Nature!
In my next post, I’ll be talking about Choline as a natural micronutrient.
In particular, I will be looking at the different supplement forms, like Alpha-GPC and CDP-Choline. They have different absorption rates, and some are more effective than others.
See you there!
P.S. – Do you or someone you know have problems with attention and focus? Do you think Bacopa could help?
Post a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help you!