Bacopa Monnieri is among the most well-studied and effective natural nootropics. It is a perennial creeping herb native to wetlands worldwide. Supplementation may provide notable increase to memory, according to multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on humans:
An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. In 2014, this study found that Bacopa "produced some adaptogenic and nootropic effects". 17 participants used 320 mg or 640 mg of 55% bacoside extract (at least 176 mg bacoside) once. Supplementation of the lower dose was more effective for improving memory, and it increased memory about 9% at 1 hour and about 5% at 2 hours (letter search task compared to placebo).
An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of a special extract of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on sustained cognitive performance. In 2013, this study found that Bacopa "improved performance at the first, second, and fourth repetition post-dosing on the [Cognitive Demand Battery]". 24 participants used 320 mg or 640 mg of 55% bacoside extract (at least 176 mg bacoside) once. Supplementation of the higher dose was not more effective, and both doses improved cognitive parameters loosely associated with memory at 2 hours.
Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. In 2010, this study found that "Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older Australians". 36 participants used 300 mg of 40% bacoside extract (120 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation increased memory about 35% at 3 months (delayed recall task compared to placebo).
Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. In 2008, this study found that Bacopa "has potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance in the aging". 24 participants used 300 mg of 50% bacoside extract (150 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation increased memory about 6% at 6 weeks and about 18% at 12 weeks (delayed recall task compared to placebo).
Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. In 2008, this study found that Bacopa "significantly improved performance on the 'Working Memory' factor, more specifically spatial working memory accuracy [and] the number of false-positives recorded in the Rapid visual information processing task was also reduced". 33 participants used 300 mg of 55% bacoside extract (165 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation increased memory about 2% at 3 months (working memory task compared to placebo).
Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. In 2006, this study found that Bacopa "is efficacious in subjects with age-associated memory impairment". 20 participants used 250 mg of 55% bacoside extract (137.5 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation increased memory about 3% at 1 month, 10% at 2 months, and 10% at 3 months (total memory test compared to placebo). Effect ended within 1 month after supplementation ended.
Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. In 2002, this study found that Bacopa "decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information". 37 participants used 300 mg (450 mg for those over 90 kg) of 55% bacoside extract (at least 165 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation increased memory about 25% at 3 months (delayed word pairs task compared to placebo). Effect ended within 6 weeks after supplementation ended.
- The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. In 2001, this study found that Bacopa "may improve higher order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment such as learning and memory". 23 participants used 300 mg of 55% bacoside extract (165 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation was ineffective at 5 weeks, and increased memory at 12 weeks (proactive interference task compared to placebo).
Not all studies of Bacopa Monnieri have demonstrated nootropic effect.
Brahmi for the better? New findings challenging cognition and anti-anxiety effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) in healthy adults. In 2013, this study found that "The results ... are not in agreement with findings of some of the earlier studies which have found improvement both on cognitive parameters and a reduction of anxiety scores". This study also found that "there was a trend for lower state anxiety in the [Bacopa] group as compared to placebo group". Participants used 450 mg of 24% bacoside extract (108 mg bacoside) daily. Supplementation was ineffective at 12 weeks.
- The acute effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy normal subjects. In 2001, this study found that Bacopa "has no acute effects on cognitive functioning in normal healthy subjects". Participants used 300 mg of 55% bacoside extract (165 mg bacoside) once. Supplementation was ineffective at 2 hours.
Explanations for these results, in contrast to other studies, may be that the bacoside dosage was too low, or the supplementation time was too short.
To summarize, supplementation of Bacopa Monnieri extract at a dosage of at least 120 mg bacoside daily for at least two to three months was consistently effective across nine tests in six studies. Chronic supplementation at lower dosages or at similar dosages for less time was not consistently effective or ineffective across seven tests in six studies. Acute supplementation at higher dosages was effective across three tests in two studies, but not more effective than lower dosages.
When selecting a Bacopa Monnieri supplement, look for one that provides servings of at least 120 mg bacoside, such as 480 mg of an extract standardized to at least 25% bacoside. Preferably choose a Bacopa Monnieri supplement that provides servings of between 150 and 250 mg bacoside, such as 600 to 1000 mg of an extract standardized to at least 25% bacoside, or 300 to 500 mg of an extract standardized to at least 50% bacoside. These parameters may provide the greatest potential for nootropic effect.
These meta-analyses confirm the efficacy of Bacopa Monnieri supplementation:
Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. In 2014, this meta-analysis found that Bacopa "has the potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention".
- Cognitive effects of two nutraceuticals Ginseng and Bacopa benchmarked against modafinil: a review and comparison of effect sizes. In 2013, this meta-analysis found that "neurocognitive enhancement from [Bacopa] can produce cognition enhancing effects of similar magnitude to those from pharmaceutical interventions". Cohen power analysis quantifies magnitude of effect on a scale of 0 to 1, where 0 is no effect, .2 is small effect, .5 is medium effect, and .8 is large effect. The meta-analysis found that magnitude of effect for Modafinil (a particularly popular nootropic) is .77, which is an approximately large effect. And the meta-analysis found that Bacopa magnitude of effect is .95, which is a large effect and substantially larger than that of the pharmaceutical, Modafinil, although for a different cognitive function.
Based on these and other studies, Thrivous developed a nootropic dietary supplement for daily use. A single serving (two capsules) of Clarity contains 600 mg of Bacopa Monnieri extract standardized to at least 25% bacoside, or at least 150 mg bacoside. Accordingly, daily supplementation of Clarity may provide notable increase to memory at two to three months. So what are you waiting for? Talk to your doctor about starting Clarity today!