Cognitive Enhancement with Bacopa, Ginseng, and Caffeine
Nutritional scientists report the result of their double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation on the effects of herbal supplements on cognitive health. A study was published in Nutritional Neuroscience.
The scientists studied a multi-ingredient herbal supplement containing Bacopa monnieri (BM), Panax quinquefolius ginseng (PQ), and whole coffee fruit extract (WCFE). Their aim was to determine whether it could enhance cognitive performance and cerebral-cortical activation during tasks of working memory and attention.
Motivated by growing evidence that herbal extracts, such as BM and PQ could acutely enhance cognitive performance, the scientists designed a rigorous study. Forty healthy adults between 18 and 60 years, 21 females and 19 males, participated. They completed tasks designed to test working memory and attention, without supplements, and 45 minutes after consuming either an active supplement or a placebo.
The active supplement was made up of commercially available extracts of BM (150 mg/ tablet), PQ (50 mg/tablet), and WCFE (50 mg/tablet). The participants in the active supplement group consumed a two-tablet dose to provide a total dose of 300 mg BM, 100 mg PG , and 100 mg of WCFE, with a combined active ingredient intake of 500 mg.
During the cognitive testing, changes in hemodynamic response in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) were continuously measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The term hemodynamics refers to the dynamics of the blood flow.
The results of the study indicate that working memory was significantly improved following active supplement consumption compared to placebo in terms of both accuracy and response time. The improved performance was associated with a reduction of PFC activation related to effortful mental demand. This reflected increased neural efficiency concomitant with improved cognitive performance.
Taken together, the results show improved accuracy and response time across cognitively demanding working memory tasks following active treatment.
According to the scientists, this was the first study to examine the combined dose effects of Bacopa, Ginseng, and whole coffee fruit extracts on cognitive performance and brain activation of the PFC using fNIRS. The results show that the combination can modulate brain activation and cognitive task performance.
This is the first report of acute, significant changes in cognitive function following intake of a combined, multi-ingredient herbal supplement with concomitant observed changes in haemodynamic response in healthy adults.
This study demonstrated that a single, combined dose of herbal extracts known to influence cognitive function improved working memory performance. An equivalent improvement in attention was not found, despite an overall increase in efficiency for response time.
The scientists conclude that future studies are needed to replicate the current findings. They also recommend additional examination of the potential positive effects of these herbal supplements across different cognitive functions, with a focus on working memory tasks.
Thrivous develops Clarity Daily Nootropic and Surge Acute Nootropic to enhance cognitive performance. Each serving of Clarity provides a clinical dose of Bacopa. And each serving of Surge provides a clinical dose of Ginseng and Caffeine. As indicated by this study, a single serving combination of Clarity and Surge may enhance performance on working memory tasks.
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