Ashwagandha, memory, and cognition

Ayurvedic medicine uses ashwagandha to improve memory and cognitive function. In this study, 50 adults over age 35 with memory loss, a diagnosis of early dementia, or an impaired score on a standard mental- state exam took a placebo or 300 mg of ashwagandha twice per day for eight weeks. Participants were not taking any other cognitive-enhancing drugs or treatments.

After eight weeks, both groups improved in immediate memory, but the ashwagandha group had much higher scores in logical memory, pairing words, recognizing faces, and executive function—the ability to make decisions. The ashwagandha group also had better attention and was able to process information faster than placebo. Doctors said ashwagandha may help treat mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.


Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce stress

Recent studies have found the antioxidant carotenoids in the eye play a role in cognition as well. In this study, 59 healthy people, age 18 to 25, took a placebo or a combination of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, at a combined dose of 13 mg or 27 mg total carotenoids per day.

Doctors measured changes in levels of carotenoids in the macula of the eye, gave participants psychological stress and anxiety tests, and measured levels of cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone released by the adrenal glands.

After six and 12 months, while the placebo group had not improved, both low and high-dose carotenoid groups had less psychological stress, better emotional and physical health, and lower cortisol levels. As levels of carotenoid  in the eye increased, psychological stress scores improved.

Reference: Journal of Dietary Supplements; February, 2017, Published Online
Natural Insights for Well Being October 2017

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