A new study found that an extract called bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) can improve attention, cognitive processing (thinking), working memory, and overall function of the critical neurotransmitters used in these mental processes.
Researchers analyzed 60 healthy individuals — 23 male and 37 female — in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Half of the subjects received bacopa and half received a placebo for 12 weeks.
The scientists found that those receiving bacopa demonstrated significant improvement in attention and a number of memory functions.
Those getting the placebo showed no improvements.
Objective testing of brain function were carried out as well. These tests demonstrated that, in particular, brain systems utilizing the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and monoamines were most improved.
This was accomplished by increasing brain levels of acetylcholine and by inhibiting the enzyme that destroys the neurotransmitter (called acetylcholinesterase).
Other recent studies have shown that bacopa protects against pesticide-induced Parkinson’s disease damage, improves neuron energy production, stimulates dendrite growth (improving brain cell communication), and raises brain cell glutathione levels.
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