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]


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