As we get older, our minds and bodies tend to deteriorate, too. More than 16 million people in the country are already living with cognitive impairment. That number is expected to jump by 2050.
By then, the number of patients with the most well-known form of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's, will jump to 13.2 million.
If you're worried about your cognitive function declining, bacopa monnieri can help. A staple of Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa monnieri benefits brain function by easing stress and anxiety. It can also reduce your risk of certain health conditions, improve your memory, and treat epilepsy.
Curious about the mental and physical benefits of bacopa monnieri? Keep reading to learn more!
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Between work, our home life, raising kids, and paying the bills, little stressors add up throughout the day. That stress can lead to an increase in cortisol; a stress hormone that controls your fears, motivations, and mood.
When your cortisol levels increase, it can have a dangerous impact on your body. Excess cortisol can:
- Affect how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (leading to weight gain)
- Increase inflammation (which can lead to chronic pain)
- Cause headaches
- Make it difficult to sleep
- Cause anxiety and depression
- Lead to memory and concentration problems
Bacopa monnieri benefits people who deal with constant stress. As an adaptogenic herb, bacopa is thought to increase your body's resistance to stressors. Bacopa is able to reduce your cortisol levels, which can improve your mood and help you cope with stress.
Bacopa benefits people with anxiety as well. The herb's anti-anxiety effects are similar to the effects of a prescription drug used to treat anxiety called lorazepam.
In one study, healthy patients were asked to perform numerous tasks for the purpose of increasing their anxiety levels. Bacopa extract proved helpful in:
- Providing positive cognitive effects
- Improving mode levels
- Reducing cortisol levels
It's important to note that studies regarding bacopa monnieri and anxiety have provided mixed results. More human studies are needed to determine bacopa's full effect on our stress and anxiety levels.
2. Eases ADHD Symptoms
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Common symptoms include impulsivity, attentiveness, and hyperactivity. Bacopa monnieri might help improve ADHD symptoms such as:
- Impulse control
85% of children in the study experienced reduced symptoms after six months of taking bacopa monnieri.
Based on the research, there's some evidence that bacopa could prove useful as a replacement for Adderall. While the research so far looks promising, large-scale studies are necessary to explore bacopa monnieri's success as a treatment for ADHD.
3. Enhances Memory
Evidence also suggests that the herb extract can improve memory during free-recall tests. In this study, participants were able to recall old information and acquire new memories faster after taking bacopa monnieri.
Bacopa monnieri benefits memory retention as well as working, or short-term, memory. As a result, you'll become less likely to forget new information. Instead, you'll become more likely to retain the information long-term.
As a result, more people are using bacopa as a memory supplement.
4. Boost Thyroid Function
When your body doesn't function properly, it can cause stress, anxiety, and other mental strains. For example, many people consider the gut-brain connection, which involves anxiety's link to stomach problems and vice versa. With that in mind, it's also important to understand how bacopa monnieri benefits the body.
For starters, bacopa benefits your body's thyroid function.
The thyroid system secrets hormones that are responsible for regulating vital functions. Without hormones like T3 and T4, your body can't function at its best. As a result, your metabolism can suffer, which could lead to weight gain.
Weight gain, in turn, can lead to lethargy, which can impact your mood.
When your T3 and T4 levels are low, you can experience:
- Mood swings
- An inability to concentrate
As a result, bacopa monnieri's ability to improve your thyroid function can also benefit your mind!
5. Reduces Alzheimer's and Dementia Symptoms
Beta-amyloid plaques can cause blockages between neurons, which can impact your central nervous system's efficiency levels. These plaques contribute to neurodegenerative symptoms that are associated with conditions like Alzheimer's.
Bacopa monnieri might work as a neuroprotective agent that can reduce beta-amyloid levels in your brain. As a result, bacopa could also help reverse the negative symptoms associated with dementia. For example, bacopa's ability to improve long-term memory could prevent a cognitive decline in dementia patients.
However, more human research is necessary before we can use bacopa monnieri as a treatment option.
6. Regulates Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to:
- Damaged arteries
- A damaged heart
- An enlarged heart (which can cause heart failure, arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, or a heart attack)
- A damaged brain
Bacopa monnieri contains compounds that might have antioxidant effects. Antioxidants help protect the body against cell damage, which could prevent:
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers
Bacopa could prevent fat molecules from reacting to free radicals. This process, called lipid peroxidation, is linked to Alzeheimer's, Parkison's, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Bacopa's ability to regulate blood pressure levels could improve blood flow and lower your blood pressure. Improving blood flow ensures your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs, which can benefit brain function.
7. Lowers Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to disease. Too much inflammation, however, can cause heart and kidney disease, as well as cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain. Bacopa monnieri benefits patients with chronic inflammation by stimulating an inflammatory immune response.
Chronic inflammation can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. By reducing inflammation, bacopa monnieri benefits both the body and mind!
8. Improves Cognitive Function
In this study, twice-daily treatment using bacopa led to improved cognitive function. Bacopa can help improve mental performance and reduce brain fog.
Students who use bacopa are often less distracted and more focused. As a result, they're able to retain new information faster.
Bacopa benefits students by increasing blood flow to the brain, which delivers more oxygen and vital nutrients to the organ. Bacopa also repairs damaged neurons and generates old brain tissue, which can help you maintain mental acuity.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Bacopa Monnieri Benefits You
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and vice versa! By experiencing these eight bacopa monnieri benefits yourself, you can keep your brain sharp and body strong.
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