Spotlight: Bacopa – Isagenix Health

Bacopa is an herb originally from India and a component of many ancient Ayurvedic formulations. Its use, dating back to 2,500 BC, includes a tonic formula to stimulate cognitive function and prolong longevity.

Numerous clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate bacopa’s benefits on brain health and cognitive function (1-8). Bacopa extracts have been clinically demonstrated to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention, in healthy individuals. Bacosides, key compounds present in bacopa, are being investigated for their neuroprotective effects and ability to modulate the brain neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin (1, 7).

Nutritional Support for a Sharp Mind

Finding optimal nutritional support is a step in the right direction when it comes to preserving the brain health and memory of an aging population. Although several biomedical research groups are working on understanding brain function, designing a medicine for cognitive support has not yet been possible. Ancient practices have a different perspective and solution. For example, Indian Ayurvedic medicine has described alternative ways to combat mental fogginess and to slow down the brain’s aging process through a combination of herbs and energy balance.

An Ancient Nootropic Herb

Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst, is an ancient herb also known as thyme-leaved gratiola or brahmi (10, 11, 12). The plant is found in warm, marshy wetland areas, including India, East Asia, Australia, and the United States (11, 12, 13). Bacopa is a member of the plantain family, Plantaginaceae (4), a key ingredient in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (10, 12).

The ancient Ayurvedic books Caraka Samhita (2,500 B.C.), the Sushruta Samhita (2,300 B.C.) and the Indian Materia Medica, give account of bacopa’s many benefits as a tonic to support intellectual activity (10, 11). In modern scientific literature, bacopa is defined as a nootropic substance (11, 14, 15, 16, 17), from the Greek “nous” meaning “mind” and “trepein” meaning “to bend.” Nootropics improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation. This help protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults, and increases the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms in cortical and sub-cortical regions of the brain.

Key Components Found in Bacopa

Researchers have found a unique chemical class of triterpenoid saponins, the bacosides, (16). Bacosides are unique to this plant’s genera and their content is used in the quality control of the herb (8). The physiological role that bacosides play in bacopa benefits is beginning to be understood (11, 16, 18). Bacoside A and bacoside B, steroidal compounds in nature, seem to be essential for the neuroprotective and neuromodulating effects of bacopa extracts (7).

Bacopa extract benefits are demonstrated in preclinical tests and clinical trials

Bacopa extracts have been reported to have many actions on in vitro and animal studies, protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and modulating the formation of essential brain chemicals (6, 16). Animals given bacopa extracts show benefits in motor learning, acquisition, retention, and delay extinction of newly acquired behaviors (16). Numerous clinical trials with bacopa have now been published (1-9).

Australia is the leading country on the clinical trials effort, conducting most recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies under the supervision of Dr. Con Stough, director of the Swinburne Centre for Neuropsychology University in Melbourne and Director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) Collaborative Centre for the Study of Herbal and Natural Medicines for Neurocognition (2-6).

Australian clinical trials have shown bacopa benefits on human cognition and as a neuroprotective and memory enhancer (1-8). The combined results of these trials suggest bacopa works in complementary pathways in the brain providing an integral protection and neuromodulation, improving cognition (7). The mechanism of action of bacopa includes inhibition of free radicals responsible of causing harm to brain cells. It also works as both an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and as an activator of choline acetyltransferase, two key enzymes modulating brain’s activity (16, 18). The result is that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is increased supporting a sharp memory and retention (16, 18).

Isagenix nutritional support with bacopa

Isagenix offers bacopa in both Ionix® Supreme and in IsaGenesis®, two key products providing optimal nutritional support to keep a healthy and active population with a sharp brain. These products provide different levels of bacopa extract aimed to help support your mental health.

References

  1. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, et al. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera [sic] on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008;22:1629-1634.
  2. Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, et al, 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, Phytother Res. 2013; DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5029.
  3. Downey JK, Nemeh F, Lau A, et al, 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, Phytother Res., 2013; 27: 1407–1413.
  4. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (sic) (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharm, 2001; 156: 481–484.
  5. Stough CK, Pase MP, Cropley V, et al. A randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of Pycnogenol and Bacopa CDRI08 herbal medicines on cognitive, cardiovascular, and biochemical functioning in cognitively healthy elderly people: The Australian Research Council Longevity Intervention (ARCLI) study protocol (ANZCTR12611000487910). Nutr J, 2012; 11: 1–9.
  6. Morgan AM, Stevens J, Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, J Alternat Complement Med, 2010; 16: 753–759.
  7. Stough C, Scholey A, Cropley V, et al. Examining the cognitive effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera (sic) (CDRI 08: KeenMind): A Review of Ten Years of Research at Swinburne University J Pharm Pharm Sci 2013;16(2): 254 – 258.
  8. Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Scholfield CN. Metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535.
  9. Kean JD, Downey, LA, Stough C. A systematic review of the Ayurvedic medicinal herb Bacopa monnieri in child and adolescent populations, Complem Ther Med, 2016;29:56-62.
  10. Nadkarni KM, Nadkarni AK. Dr. K. M. Nadkarni’s Indian materia medica: with ayurvedic, unani-tibbi, siddha, allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic & home remedies, app. & indexes. 3 ed. Bombay, India: Popular Book Depot; Popular Prakashan; 1982.
  11. Nemetcheck MD, Stierle AA, Stierle DB, Lurie DI. The Ayurvedic plant Bacopa monnieri inhibits inflammatory pathways in the brain, 2017, Ethnopharmacol. 2017;197:92–100.
  12. Williamson E. Bacopa monnieri In: Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Churchill Livingstone; 2002, 321-325.
  13. Tropicos, The Missouri Botanical Garden databse, Accessed Mar 22, 2017 at: http://www.tropicos.org/Name/29202063
  14. Russo A, Borrelli F. Bacopa monniera [sic], a reputed nootropic plant: an overview. 2005;12:305-317.
  15. McPhee GM, Downey LA, Noble A, Stough C. Cognitive training and Bacopa monnieri: Evidence for a combined intervention to alleviate age associated cognitive decline. Med Hypotheses. 2016;95:71-76
  16. Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Res 2013;16(4):313-326.
  17. Abascal K, Yarnell E. Bacopa for the brain: a smart addition to Western medicine. Altern Complement Ther. 2011;17(1):21-25.

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Ingredient Spotlight: Wolfberry – Isagenix Health

Although first described 2,000 years ago, the use of wolfberry in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulas was revived at the end of the Empire of the Great Ming (1368–1644). The benefits of wolfberry to modulate stress and support faster post-exercise recovery have been confirmed by modern science, with water-soluble polysaccharides (LBPs) and other antioxidants in the fruit also managing free radicals to support healthy aging (1, 2, 3).

But what is wolfberry and goji berry, and why are there several species reported in the literature? “Wolfberry” and “goji berry” are synonyms (2). The plant genus Lycium, to which wolfberry belongs, has about 80 species distributed in Asia, South America, and southern Africa. Of seven species growing in China, the two species that are most commonly used interchangeably in TCM are L. barbarum and L. chinense, also known as gou qi or kei tze (2). L. barbarum has been the best studied.

The wolfberry fruit has been used in China for more than 2,000 years, and recorded in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica, compiled in the first century CE (2, 3, 4). Wolfberry is one of the top 120 herbs in that book, believed to have remarkable health benefits and safety for strengthening the body, keeping it fit, prolonging life, and easing life through all the seasons (1, 2, 3, 4). Its reputation has extended to other traditional medicines in Asia, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, where wolfberry is used for general debility (1, 2). Additional indications listed in authoritative books include supporting blood sugar control and visual health (1, 2).

Dried wolfberry fruit used in products has alkaloids, chlorogenic acid, carotenoids, amino acids, terpenes, vitamins, and polysaccharides. Some studies suggest the polysaccharides, extracted with hot water, are the main bioactive constituents (2, 3, 4). LBPs support general antioxidative effects and maintenance of blood sugar and lipid levels. For vision health, the carotenoid zeaxanthin is also required (1, 2). Human clinical trials focused on the effects of wolfberry and its polysaccharides on blood sugar and lipid levels, immune health, antioxidant effects, vision, weight management, general well-being, and as a tonic for fatigue and stress (2, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Positive Health Benefits of Wolfberry Polysaccharides

A prospective, randomized, double-blind controlled study of 67 individuals examined the effects of wolfberry polysaccharides on postprandial glucose and lipid levels. People were given either 300 mg of polysaccharides or placebo (2, 5). The group taking the polysaccharides experienced improved blood sugar and lipid support after intervention, compared to baseline (2, 5).

Several clinical studies demonstrated the positive effects of a daily serving of a L. barbarum supplement standardized to supply a polysaccharide equivalent of at least 150 g of fresh fruit on general health (6), as an immune modulator (7), on modulating antioxidant defenses (8), caloric expenditure, reducing fatigue after exercise (10), and, on weight control decreasing waist circumference in healthy overweight men and women (9). A tendency toward improved short-term memory and focus was found on older adults (55-72 years old). The study also confirmed that those who consumed wolfberry had supporting mental health and immunity benefits (6).

The study also demonstrated antioxidant effects through increases of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) along with a reduction of  markers of oxidative stress. These results suggest wolfberry protects against free radicals contributing to cardiovascular and brain health (2).

Wolfberry extracts, packed with polysaccharides, have also demonstrated they can increase thermogenesis, postprandial energy expenditure, and have positive effects on waist circumference and other weight assessment such as BMI, and total body fat (2, 9). Wolfberry showed benefits reducing fatigue and improving exercise performance, by increasing significantly VO2 max, a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use (10). A study also suggests the consumption of wolfberry may provide adaptability to physical stressors (such as exercise) (2, 10).

The Safety of Wolfberry

No side effects have been reported in monographs and clinical trials at the amounts of wolfberry usually recommended (1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). The amount of wolfberry used in Isagenix products is within those reported in the literature, and therefore can be safely consumed.

Isagenix Ionix Supreme has the Power of Wolfberry

Isagenix offers Ionix® Supreme with the health benefits of water-soluble polysaccharides from wolfberry fruit. The number of polysaccharides in a serving of Ionix Supreme is within those reported in the literature, and therefore can be safely consumed. Ionix Supreme is individually adjusted, starting with half to one teaspoon a day based on what works best for you.

The Isagenix no-compromise quality standards include the use of carefully sourced raw materials that undergo stringent analytical testing procedures to detect the presence of contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and microbes. Isagenix wolfberry fruit extract is made using a hot water extraction process, which replicates the traditional hot water brew preparation of traditional Asian medicines used for centuries around the world.

References

  1. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, and Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Medical Economics Company, Inc. 2000. Montvale, NY.
  2. Engels G, Brinckmann J, Lycium (Goji Berry) Lycium barbarum and L. chinense Family: Solanaceae HerbalGram. 2017, 113: 8-18.
  3. Bucheli P, Gao Q, Redgwell R. Vidal K. Wang J. and Zhang W. Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects of Chinese Wolfberry In: Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, 2011.
  4. Khan IA, Abourashed EA, Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. Third edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2010.
  5. Cai H LF, Zuo P, Huang G, et al. Practical application of antidiabetic efficacy of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide in patients with type 2 diabetes. Med. Chem. 2015;11:383-390.
  6. Amagase H, Nance DM. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (goji) juice, GoChi. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(4):403-412.
  7. Amagase H SB, Nance DM. Immunomodulatory effects of Lycium barbarum fruit juice in Chinese older healthy human subjects. J Med Food. 2009;12(5):1159-1165.
  8. Amagase H, Sun B, Borek C. Lycium barbarum (goji) juice improves in vivo antioxidant biomarkers in serum of healthy adults. Nutr Res. 2009;29(1):19-25.
  9. Amagase H, Nance DM. Lycium barbarum increases caloric expenditure and decreases waist circumference in healthy overweight men and women: pilot study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011;30(5):304-309.
  10. Amagase H, Nance DM. Lycium barbarum fruit (goji) attenuates the adrenal steroid response to an exercise challenge and the feeling of tiredness: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical study. J. Food Res. 2012;1(2).
  11. Cheng CY, Chung WY, Szeto YT, Benzie IFF. Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; kei tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial. Brit. J. Nutrit.. 2007;93(01):123.

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