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Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as water hyssop or referred to as Brahmi in Sanskrit, is a perennial herb that has been used in the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda. It grows naturally in moist and wet places. The entirety of the plant is used in the extraction process. (6) The herb can be found in Southern India, Australia, Europe, and South America. Bacopa is an adaptogen; a class of herb that helps the body adapt to stress and exert a normalizing effect. (1,3)
Bacopa is unregulated in the United States and Canada, meaning it can be legally purchased and consumed without a prescription. In other countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia, Bacopa is regulated as an ingredient in medicinal preparations. (6)
Other than its stress and anxiety relieving properties, Bacopa is popular in the nootropic’s community for its cognitive enhancement capabilities. In Ayurveda, the herb was thought to help scholars and other individuals to memorize lengthy texts and scriptures. (1,4)
Bacopa’s primary benefits are in its ability to reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing memory. (22,23,24,25) Bacosides work to improve the signaling of electrical impulses between neurons in your brain. At the same time, bacosides help to prevent cell toxicity while rebuilding damaged neurons. (7,10)
Another active component of bacopa, Apigenin, targets GABAᴀ to help reduce stress and anxiety. (8,9,13) Bacopa also helps your brain when under chronic stress. (26) Your brain is protected by:
When under chronic stress, Bacopa is able to regulate levels of Hsp70 in the brain, keeping the brain less susceptible to stress. (26) Bacopa also works by increasing levels of EROD and PROD to help deal with stress as it comes on. (26) Finally, Bacopa improves SOD activity which helps deal with attacks by free radicals. (26)
Other than improving memory and cognition and reducing stress, Bacopa has shown to benefit in the following ways that will be discussed further in “Bacopa Monnieri Research”:
Bacopa can be found as a powder, powdered capsule, or tablet and is frequently found in pre-made stacks. As bacopa is fat soluble, it is most effective when taken with food or a source of fat. This will also help to prevent potential gastrointestinal side-effects.
It is recommended to take Bacopa as a capsule as Bacopa powder has a strong taste that some individuals may not enjoy. Bacopa is found to be most effective when taken for a consecutive period of time. It may take 6 to 8 weeks of consistent supplementation to experience cognitive benefits although anxiolytic benefits may occur in a shorter period of time.
Bacopa Dosage Guidelines
The dosage of Bacopa is dependent upon the percentage of bacosides within the product you’re supplementing with. With an average Bacopa extract with 20% bacosides, the recommended dosage is between 450mg and 900mg. If you have a Bacopa extract that has a higher percentage of bacosides, then you can take a lower dosage and vice versa for a lower percentage of bacosides.
If taking a smaller dosage of Bacopa, taking it once a day in the morning is recommended. If taking larger dosages, it is best to split the dosage between one dose in the morning and one in the afternoon.
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