Bacopa Extract Produces Memory Improvements in Elderly

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri, Scrophulariaceae) is an aquatic plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance memory, intellectual function, and longevity. Several randomized, blind, controlled clinical trials demonstrate the benefits of bacopa extract on memory and learning, including one that also improved depression and anxiety measures in the elderly without dementia.1 A Phase I clinical trial demonstrated the safety and tolerability of BacoMind™ (Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India), a standardized extract of bacopa, in healthy volunteers.2 The purpose of this randomized, placebocontrolled, double-blind study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BacoMind in older people (the population that experiences memory impairment).

The authors conclude that bacopa significantly improves memory acquisition and retention in older Australians as measured by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test. They state that the study demonstrated an improvement in the learning rate and had no effect on the forgetting rate. They caution against concurrent use of bacopa and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor medications, which are commonly prescribed for dementia. This study reported a higher incidence of GI side effects than was reported in the Phase I trial of BacoMind. This difference may be due to the older age of the population included in the current study, which may have a lower tolerability to bacopa, possibly due to its high saponin content.

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