More Research Points to Botanicals as Important to Brain Health

There is growing evidence that associates a better cognitive function with the Mediterranean diet. In fact, different studies have identified plant extracts that can help maintain good brain health among older adults and these include resveratrol, Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, Theobroma cacao, ashwagandha, Crocus sativus, ginseng, curcumin, and rosemary. These plant extracts do delay not only the cognitive decline but also have protective effects against neurodegenerative disorders.

No Available Studies to Pin the Claim

While the botanical extracts have vast potential, research regarding their efficacy is still in its early stage, and even organizations that support complementary therapies have not yet endorsed the potential role of botanicals in improving cognitive health. The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) noted that no available and convincing evidence suggests that a particular supplement can prevent cognitive impairment particularly those that are associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Small Hints Found in Literature

Finding the exact mechanism and correlation still presents a challenge but the International Food Information Council noted that there are slight hints found in the literature regarding the links between food and brain health. The organization noted that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain. As such, promising plant extracts such as resveratrol, curcumin, and theobromine are not only good for the heart but also for the brain.

But this does not mean that this is the end of the line for plant extracts. It might take some time for companies who work with such ingredients to find the missing link to validate their claims for a reliable clinical result. Thus, the primary challenge for those working in the field of pharmaceuticals is to pin down on a particular measurable improvement among the human subjects so that the cause and effect can be proven.


Continuous Research Needed on Botanicals

Pharmaceutical companies have been working to pin down the mechanism of action of certain plant extracts. For instance, the company Evolva is looking at the potential of resveratrol to improve cognitive function. Working with the Brain, Performance, and Nutrition Research Center of Northumbria University in the UK, both organizations are working on how resveratrol influences the gut health concerning brain health.

On the other hand, other companies are working with other plant extracts. For instance, Ixoreal that sells both ashwagandha and curcumin supplements focus on the history and effects while, at the same time, undertake clinical trials to support their claims.

The research regarding the efficacy of plant extracts is paying off as it continues to attract the development of new products. While there is a rise in plant extracts used to promote better brain health, market researchers indicate that the growth of this niche is only 0.4%. Thus there are still many issues that should be addressed before this niche can reach its full market potential. Having said this, there is still more work to do by the researchers, food manufacturers, or pharmaceutical companies before products that can boost cognitive function will be favored in the market.

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