Does ashwagandha affect brain health?

    Last Updated: November 3, 2023

    Ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on brain health by promoting the formation of neurons and enhanced neuroprotection. . In animal models, ashwagandha increased antioxidant activity in the brain and prevented excessive levels of corticosterone, which may confer neuroprotection from a variety of cognitive diseases associated with oxidative stress.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] When looking at the mechanisms behind neurogenesis in preclinical models, several of ashwagandha’s chemical components have been shown to stimulate the production of BDNF (a neurotrophic growth agent).[9][10][11][12] In vitro cell studies suggest that ashwagandha’s constituents may induce neurogenesis at dosages that are reasonably seen in oral supplements, but this effect has not yet been confirmed in humans.[13][14][15][16][9][17][10]

    In humans, the effects of ashwagandha on brain health are somewhat mixed. In studies where ashwagandha (200–400 mg daily over 1–3 months) enhanced CNS activity and cognition, other factors such as cortisol, quality of life, sleep quality, and subjective measures of stress signs and symptoms also improved. It should also be noted that outcomes such as appetite, anxiety symptoms, short-term memory, serum BDNF, impulsivity, and alertness also saw some benefits in these studies, but to a much lesser extent that can’t be generalized to the broader population at this time.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

    References

    1. ^Kalpana Velmurugan, Jawed Alam, Joe M McCord, Subbiah PugazhenthiSynergistic induction of heme oxygenase-1 by the components of the antioxidant supplement ProtandimFree Radic Biol Med.(2009 Feb 1)
    2. ^Pattipati S Naidu, Amanpreet Singh, Shrinivas K KulkarniEffect of Withania somnifera root extract on reserpine-induced orofacial dyskinesia and cognitive dysfunctionPhytother Res.(2006 Feb)
    3. ^Pattipati S Naidu, Amanpreet Singh, Shrinivas K KulkarniEffect of Withania somnifera root extract on haloperidol-induced orofacial dyskinesia: possible mechanisms of actionJ Med Food.(2003 Summer)
    4. ^Kasture S, Vinci S, Ibba F, Puddu A, Marongiu M, Murali B, Pisanu A, Lecca D, Zernig G, Acquas EWithania somnifera prevents morphine withdrawal-induced decrease in spine density in nucleus accumbens shell of rats: a confocal laser scanning microscopy study.Neurotox Res.(2009-Nov)
    5. ^Spiga S, Puddu MC, Pisano M, Diana MMorphine withdrawal-induced morphological changes in the nucleus accumbens.Eur J Neurosci.(2005-Nov)
    6. ^Priyandoko D, Ishii T, Kaul SC, Wadhwa RAshwagandha leaf derived withanone protects normal human cells against the toxicity of methoxyacetic acid, a major industrial metabolitePLoS One.(2011 May 4)
    7. ^Bhatnagar M, Sharma D, Salvi MNeuroprotective effects of Withania somnifera dunal.: A possible mechanismNeurochem Res.(2009 Nov)
    8. ^Baitharu I, Jain V, Deep SN, Hota KB, Hota SK, Prasad D, Ilavazhagan GWithania somnifera root extract ameliorates hypobaric hypoxia induced memory impairment in rats.J Ethnopharmacol.(2013-Jan-30)
    9. ^Tohda C, Joyashiki ESominone enhances neurite outgrowth and spatial memory mediated by the neurotrophic factor receptor, RET.Br J Pharmacol.(2009-Aug)
    10. ^Konar A, Shah N, Singh R, Saxena N, Kaul SC, Wadhwa R, Thakur MKProtective role of Ashwagandha leaf extract and its component withanone on scopolamine-induced changes in the brain and brain-derived cells.PLoS One.(2011)
    11. ^Durbec P, Marcos-Gutierrez CV, Kilkenny C, Grigoriou M, Wartiowaara K, Suvanto P, Smith D, Ponder B, Costantini F, Saarma MGDNF signalling through the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase.Nature.(1996-Jun-27)
    12. ^Trupp M, Arenas E, Fainzilber M, Nilsson AS, Sieber BA, Grigoriou M, Kilkenny C, Salazar-Grueso E, Pachnis V, Arumäe UFunctional receptor for GDNF encoded by the c-ret proto-oncogene.Nature.(1996-Jun-27)
    13. ^Tohda C, Kuboyama T, Komatsu KSearch for natural products related to regeneration of the neuronal network.Neurosignals.(2005)
    14. ^Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Zhao J, Nakamura N, Hattori M, Komatsu KAxon- or dendrite-predominant outgrowth induced by constituents from Ashwagandha.Neuroreport.(2002-Oct-07)
    15. ^Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Komatsu KNeuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction induced by withanolide A.Br J Pharmacol.(2005-Apr)
    16. ^Jana CK, Hoecker J, Woods TM, Jessen HJ, Neuburger M, Gademann KSynthesis of withanolide A, biological evaluation of its neuritogenic properties, and studies on secretase inhibition.Angew Chem Int Ed Engl.(2011-Aug-29)
    17. ^Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Komatsu KWithanoside IV and its active metabolite, sominone, attenuate Abeta(25-35)-induced neurodegeneration.Eur J Neurosci.(2006-Mar)
    18. ^A Remenapp, K Coyle, T Orange, T Lynch, D Hooper, S Hooper, K Conway, H A HausenblasEfficacy of Withania somnifera supplementation on adult's cognition and moodJ Ayurveda Integr Med.(2021 Nov 25)
    19. ^Dante Xing, Choongsung Yoo, Drew Gonzalez, Victoria Jenkins, Kay Nottingham, Broderick Dickerson, Megan Leonard, Joungbo Ko, Mark Faries, Wesley Kephart, Martin Purpura, Ralf Jäger, Ryan Sowinski, Christopher J Rasmussen, Richard B KreiderEffects of Acute Ashwagandha Ingestion on Cognitive FunctionInt J Environ Res Public Health.(2022 Sep 20)
    20. ^Kumarpillai Gopukumar, Shefali Thanawala, Venkateswarlu Somepalli, T S Sathyanaryana Rao, Vijaya Bhaskar Thamatam, Sanjaya ChauhanEfficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Stressed Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled StudyEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2021 Nov 30)
    21. ^Wilfried Dimpfel, Leonie Schombert, Ingrid K Keplinger-Dimpfel, Alexander PanossianEffects of an Adaptogenic Extract on Electrical Activity of the Brain in Elderly Subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Two-Armed Cross-Over StudyPharmaceuticals (Basel).(2020 Mar 14)
    22. ^Kulkarni SK, Dhir AWithania somnifera: an Indian ginseng.Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry.(2008-Jul-01)
    23. ^Migita D'Cruz, Chittaranjan AndradePotential clinical applications of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) in medicine and neuropsychiatryExpert Rev Clin Pharmacol.(2022 Sep)