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Bacopa and Fatigue


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Poll: How sedating do you find Bacopa? (111 member(s) have cast votes)

How sedating do you find Bacopa?

  1. Very sedating I had to stop taking it (21 votes [18.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.92%

  2. Somewhat sedating and had to cut my dose back (26 votes [23.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.42%

  3. Helps me sleep but does not affect every day performance (27 votes [24.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.32%

  4. Not at all (37 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

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#1 tlm884

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:18 PM


Has anyone had problems with sedation and bacopa?

#2 tlm884

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:33 PM

I am taking 450mg with 20% bacosides and it makes me extremely tired and groggy well into the next day. I can't see how I am going to use this as a nootropic when it ruins my next day and gives me brain fog.

Does Ashwagandha have the same sedative properties?

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#3 Mixter

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

Bacopa is serotonergic in a complicated way; it modulates 5-HT(2c) receptors which increases selective serotonin sensitivity: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/19439326

I voted not at all, but I looked at this topic of becoming fatigued on nootropics since I noticed it often in the forums.

IMO this is a sign of serotonin deficiency. This would mean the fatigue is not actually bad and similar to initial effects of an antidepressant. But it would also mean you might directly need much more tryptophan/serotonergics. Some research on the topic could be interesting, I don't have any more definite references on it.

#4 spaceistheplace

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:04 PM

I voted for "Very sedating I had to stop taking it".

Yup, that pretty much says it all.

#5 tlm884

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:18 PM

Bacopa is serotonergic in a complicated way; it modulates 5-HT(2c) receptors which increases selective serotonin sensitivity: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/19439326

I voted not at all, but I looked at this topic of becoming fatigued on nootropics since I noticed it often in the forums.

IMO this is a sign of serotonin deficiency. This would mean the fatigue is not actually bad and similar to initial effects of an antidepressant. But it would also mean you might directly need much more tryptophan/serotonergics. Some research on the topic could be interesting, I don't have any more definite references on it.


mixter, can you still be seretonin deficient on an SSRI?

#6 Mixter

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:39 PM

mixter, can you still be seretonin deficient on an SSRI?


I'd say yes, because an SSRI just concentrates serotonin in the synaptic cleft (at least this is somewhat how they are assumed to work). It doesn't make more. It would be a good idea to offer people with depressive symptoms a SNP check, e.g. http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/TPH (ignore the schizophrenia stuff, but if you have an inefficient TPH you'll be very likely physically serotonin deficient, for example). I'd try St.Johns Wort and if it isn't strong enough, a tricyclic (TCA) instead. SSRI are the alternative with the most side effects.

Because of that, it would theoretically make sense to add tryptophan to SSRI/TCA/StJohns, to not just inhibit reuptake, but allow for more free serotonin. But especially on high doses you would risk serotonin syndrome, so it's dangerous/contraindicated. Plan c) would be trying Tianeptine, which enhances the reuptake instead of inhibiting it, so that serotonergic effects function more efficiently despite serotonin deficiency (<- gross oversimplificiation, see tianeptine.com).

#7 doctordog

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 03:44 AM

i got day-time fatigue from bacopa (have been using half the recommended dose of the version w/ 20% bacosides). i was trying it out to combat insomnia post-nardil, so the seretonin-deficiency syndrome is probably accurate in my case

#8 tlm884

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 06:00 AM

mixter, can you still be seretonin deficient on an SSRI?


I'd say yes, because an SSRI just concentrates serotonin in the synaptic cleft (at least this is somewhat how they are assumed to work). It doesn't make more. It would be a good idea to offer people with depressive symptoms a SNP check, e.g. http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/TPH (ignore the schizophrenia stuff, but if you have an inefficient TPH you'll be very likely physically serotonin deficient, for example). I'd try St.Johns Wort and if it isn't strong enough, a tricyclic (TCA) instead. SSRI are the alternative with the most side effects.

Because of that, it would theoretically make sense to add tryptophan to SSRI/TCA/StJohns, to not just inhibit reuptake, but allow for more free serotonin. But especially on high doses you would risk serotonin syndrome, so it's dangerous/contraindicated. Plan c) would be trying Tianeptine, which enhances the reuptake instead of inhibiting it, so that serotonergic effects function more efficiently despite serotonin deficiency (<- gross oversimplificiation, see tianeptine.com).


I read that 5-HTP can damage heart valves. What are some food high in tryptophan?

#9 Mixter

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:41 AM

I read that 5-HTP can damage heart valves. What are some food high in tryptophan?


According to http://www.askdrsear...l/4/t042400.asp
# Dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, milk
# Soy products: soy milk, tofu, soybean nuts
# Seafood
# Meats
# Poultry
# Whole grains
# Beans
# Rice
# Hummus
# Lentils
# Hazelnuts, Peanuts
# Eggs
# Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Especially if you have an inefficiemt TPH, you'd need more B3 and B6 as well: http://ezinearticles...t...&id=2129804

#10 ajnast4r

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 05:40 PM

you shouldnt be using bacopa while on an ssri... thats the problem.

#11 tlm884

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 07:11 PM

you shouldnt be using bacopa while on an ssri... thats the problem.


Why is this? I can't find any documentation to support that claim

#12 bgwithadd

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 01:27 AM

Someone says why right in the thread and links to a study. Anyway, 450 is a very high dose for bacopa. Or did you mean through the day? The simple solution when you get a side effect is just take less, and if it doesn't actually help, stop taking it.

#13 ajnast4r

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 04:43 AM

Why is this? I can't find any documentation to support that claim


the herb isn't that well studied.. the exact mechanisms are unknown. although it surely is effecting serotonin in some way. tap "bacopa serotonin" into google... generally its a good idea not to combine pharmaceutical antidepressants with herbs that effect neurotransmitter levels.

serious fatigue generally is a bad sign... and definitely not a normal response to bacopa. i wouldn't continue with it, or any supplement i had an adverse reaction to.

#14 Mr.Bananas

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:35 AM

mixter, can you still be seretonin deficient on an SSRI?


I'd say yes, because an SSRI just concentrates serotonin in the synaptic cleft (at least this is somewhat how they are assumed to work). It doesn't make more. It would be a good idea to offer people with depressive symptoms a SNP check, e.g. http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/TPH (ignore the schizophrenia stuff, but if you have an inefficient TPH you'll be very likely physically serotonin deficient, for example). I'd try St.Johns Wort and if it isn't strong enough, a tricyclic (TCA) instead. SSRI are the alternative with the most side effects.

Because of that, it would theoretically make sense to add tryptophan to SSRI/TCA/StJohns, to not just inhibit reuptake, but allow for more free serotonin. But especially on high doses you would risk serotonin syndrome, so it's dangerous/contraindicated. Plan c) would be trying Tianeptine, which enhances the reuptake instead of inhibiting it, so that serotonergic effects function more efficiently despite serotonin deficiency (<- gross oversimplificiation, see tianeptine.com).

But i would caution anyone wanting to use St Johns wort if they are taking any medication, especially birth controll pills since St Johns wort will interfere with the other meds, and potentially cause a woman to get pregnant if shes on birth controll pills.

Im taking 1ml (1/4tsp) bacopa from Beyond a century, 20%, i dont get sedated.

#15 Happy Gringo

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 03:49 PM

Doesn't St. John's Wort reduce estrogen or estradiol in some way? If that is the case, it might boost testosterone a bit and be a nice stack with Bacopa, especially for older men, who may have many symptoms from too much estrogen.

#16 doctordog

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:40 AM

anyone know how potent Bacopa's action on serotonin is?

am i risking Serotonin Syndrome by adding approx. 225mg Bacopa to my daily dose of 2000mg of L-Methionine?

#17 doctordog

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:48 AM

bump :/

#18 FunkOdyssey

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:32 PM

I use paradise herbs bacopa (50% bacosides), one 250mg cap at bedtime, and it is a bit sedating but it does not seem to linger into the next morning at all.

#19 viltro

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:45 PM

I didn't find it made me particularly drowsy, but did have problems with it making me oversleep, up to 11 hours rather than 7. So I now take it in the morning and experience no side effects.

Edited by viltro, 09 February 2010 - 09:45 PM.


#20 chrono

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 08:33 PM

I've been trying to get going with bacopa for about 3 weeks now with a bottle of Himalaya 66.5mg bacosides A&B. I've tried taking 1-2 pills shortly before bed, and every morning I wake up feeling bleary and groggy, so I tend to sleep in an extra hour or three. Been trying different combos of piracetam/GPC and ALCAR, and seem to be more energetic on waking than I've been in a long time (on days I forego the bacopa). Which is a very positive way to start my day.

I've had some fairly severe insomnia and sleeplessness issues in recent years, so I've become accustomed to snoozing for a while if I feel like I didn't get enough sleep, so I'm not a zombie all day. Maybe I just need to suck it up and realize that I'm going to feel like going back to sleep for a while in the morning, but will feel normal eventually.

Once I've dragged myself out of bed, that almost-benzo calming feeling is pretty nice, but I'm not sure it's what I need in the morning. Looking forward to a boost in memory effects, more than anxiety reduction. Maybe I'll try taking it earlier in the morning or afternoon to see how tired it makes me throughout the day.

My vote is for "groggy the next day, trying to figure it out still" ;)

Edited by chrono, 12 February 2010 - 08:50 PM.


#21 dilenja

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 03:40 AM

Had initially tried AOR Bacopa with 50% A and B Bacopasides for three months, and found this incredibly sedating with uncomfortable brain fog and grogginess.

Am now taking Planetary Herbals Bacopa, 2 tablets nightly, and love it. No sedation, and excellent for clarity.

#22 chrono

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

Had initially tried AOR Bacopa with 50% A and B Bacopasides for three months, and found this incredibly sedating with uncomfortable brain fog and grogginess.

Am now taking Planetary Herbals Bacopa, 2 tablets nightly, and love it. No sedation, and excellent for clarity.


I've seen this wide variance in effect from brand to brand mentioned several times here, and it gives me pause. Who's to say what fraction of the bacopa extract contains the substances which have the anxiolytic/memory-enhancing effects we want? Unless there's a study I missed which indicates this. It seems quite possible that getting rid of one effect could easily throw away several.

I've failed to find a way to take bacopa (Himalaya brand) which does not result in severe fatigue or brain fog at some point in the day. I'm tempted to switch to another brand to try for memory improvement after long-term use, but as the effects are already subtle, this question probably means I'll just drop it.

#23 RockandSoul

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:40 AM

I took it for the first time last night, the Vitamin World version containing about 20%.

Took one pill around 10 PM and within 15 minutes i started getting very groggy kind of like how you feel after 5 or 6 beers and you've been up all night and ready to pass out.

Felt like i slept really well when i got up but by noon i was really sleepy and had to drink coffee even though I've quite for several weeks now.

Not sure I could take this all the time. Skipping it tonight but if i ever just need to chill out i'll take it again.

#24 adamh

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:02 PM

I don't know what's wrong here but on the list of threads it shows r+s making a post today. When I click on the thread it only shows his post from march 24. I clicked refresh and nothing happened. I've seen that before. Was the post deleted or something?

#25 elecdonia

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:14 PM

I don't know what's wrong here but on the list of threads it shows r+s making a post today. When I click on the thread it only shows his post from march 24. I clicked refresh and nothing happened. I've seen that before. Was the post deleted or something?

On threads which contain a "vote" section, the thread gets bumped each time a new vote is recorded. Users can vote without posting. As a result of someone voting, this thread got bumped even though the post just before yours was from 23 March, 2010.

#26 outsider

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:53 AM

Had initially tried AOR Bacopa with 50% A and B Bacopasides for three months, and found this incredibly sedating with uncomfortable brain fog and grogginess.

Am now taking Planetary Herbals Bacopa, 2 tablets nightly, and love it. No sedation, and excellent for clarity.


I've seen this wide variance in effect from brand to brand mentioned several times here, and it gives me pause. Who's to say what fraction of the bacopa extract contains the substances which have the anxiolytic/memory-enhancing effects we want? Unless there's a study I missed which indicates this. It seems quite possible that getting rid of one effect could easily throw away several.

I've failed to find a way to take bacopa (Himalaya brand) which does not result in severe fatigue or brain fog at some point in the day. I'm tempted to switch to another brand to try for memory improvement after long-term use, but as the effects are already subtle, this question probably means I'll just drop it.



I tried AOR and had good results but now I don't give a damn about extract I'm taking the real deal, 2 grams of the powder herb and I have even better memory performance.

Let's not forget this herb has been found because of what was known previously about the powder herb. Everybody here takes bacopa because india has had great results with powder herb for 2 thousands years, not extract.

Some herbalists say extract can imbalance someone because it was not meant to be taken that way.

Edited by outsider, 23 June 2010 - 08:53 AM.


#27 chrono

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 01:31 PM

Let's not forget this herb has been found because of what was known previously about the powder herb. Everybody here takes bacopa because india has had great results with powder herb for 2 thousands years, not extract.

Some herbalists say extract can imbalance someone because it was not meant to be taken that way.

Taking the whole plant is acceptable too; a lot of people prefer things to be as natural as possible. Personally, I prefer well-designed extracts that remove non-active plant constituents, which can potentially have effects detrimental to the reason for taking the plant. It's possible to remove desirable compounds as well, but that's where effective extraction algorithm comes into play.

A lot of people put stock in traditional medicines systems as well, which is cool, though not my particular cup of tea. But I think it's fair to say that bacopa is popular here not because of thousands of years of use, but because of efficacy in adult memory trials [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. It's worth noting that every one of these studies used an extract. Apparently all 12 of the bacopa saponins are easily soluble in methanol [ref] and probably other readily available solvents, so it's a hard extraction to mess up.

Edited by chrono, 23 June 2010 - 01:48 PM.


#28 aLurker

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 11:29 AM

Reviewing the studies it becomes clear to me that I might have taken too much bacopa during my previous trials.

I've been looking at the studies chrono posted and here are the doses used:
study 1: Keenmind 300mg extract, 55% bacosides,
study 2: Mediherb 300mg extract, >50% bacosides (probably ~50%),
study 3: Blackmore's Ginkgo Brahmi total of 135mg bacosides and some gingko,
study 4: Keenmind, 300mg extract, 55% bacosides,
study 5: Keenmind 300mg extract, 55% bacosides.

I'd appreciate some help here: what's the lowest dose of total bacosides that has given statistically significant results for adults in studies?

I might give this another go.
I would still emphasize two things here (mostly to remind myself):
1) Exceeding a total of ~150mg bacosides seems unnecessary and would in all likelihood increase the risk of side effects.
2) Take breaks consisting of a few days to make sure bacopa isn't overly sedating or contributing to lethargy. I've quit bacopa two times before and both times it soon became pretty obvious that it had been contributing to my daytime sleepiness and overall lethargy. The side effects had become gradually worse since the acute effects were pretty non-existant. I've tried two brands so far and both had the same side effects but I'm not excluding the possibility that these side effects could differ somewhat from brand to brand.

Another thing to consider here is that bacopa is exceedingly good at accumulating heavy metals and I haven't seen that many COA's on bacopa products... kind of worries me. It has also been discussed somewhat in this thread.

Since I've got enough bacopa to last me until doomsday I might look further into this and eventually give it another go at a more reasonable dose.

Edited by aLurker, 13 November 2010 - 12:20 PM.


#29 aLurker

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 12:49 PM

Another bacopa-derived product with some studies backing it is BacoMind.

Excerpt from "Safety evaluation of BacoMind in healthy volunteers: a phase I study.":

An enriched phytochemical composition, BacoMind™ was developed from B. monniera for use as a memory-enhancing agent and it differs from the previously reported standardized extracts, in that it has been identified and/or standardized to different bioactive constituents.


Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of Bacopa monnieri Linn. for improvement of memory performance in healthy older persons.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: The trial took place in Lismore, NSW, Australia between February and July 2005. Ninety-eight (98) healthy participants over 55 years of age were recruited from the general population.

INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomized to receive an extract of Bacopa monnieri called BacoMind™ (Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd.), 300 mg/day, or an identical placebo. Following screening, neuropsychologic and subjective memory assessments were performed at baseline and at 12 weeks.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Audioverbal and visual memory performance were measured by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (CFT), and the Reitan Trail Making Test (TMT). Subjective memory performance was measured by the Memory Complaint Questionnaire (MAC-Q).

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-six (136) subjects volunteered; 103 met entry criteria, 98 commenced, and 81 completed the trial. Bacopa significantly improved verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall as measured by the AVLT: trial a4 (p = 0.000), trial a5 (p = 0.016); trial a6 (p = 0.000); trial a7 (delayed recall) (p = 0.001); total learning (p = 0.011); and retroactive interference (p = 0.048). CFT, MAC-Q, and TMT scores improved but group differences were not significant. Bacopa versus placebo caused gastrointestinal tract (GIT) side-effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older Australians. This concurs with previous findings and traditional use. Bacopa caused GIT side-effects of increased stool frequency, abdominal cramps, and nausea.


Click on headline for full text:

Efficacy and Tolerability of BacoMind®on Memory Improvement in Elderly Participants - A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study
A randomized double blind placebo controlled study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of BacoMind®, an enriched phytochemical composition from Bacopa monnieri on memory improvement upon chronic administration in elderly subjects as memory loss in elderly people is one of the leading health problems worldwide and its uncertain recovery with conventional therapies has paved way to elucidate the use of complementary and alternative system of medicine. Elderly individuals with mini mental state examination score of twenty four and above were enrolled. BacoMind® or placebo was given as a single oral dose of 450 mg daily for the duration of 12 weeks. The combination of well established battery of neuropsychological tests revealed that BacoMind® improved performance in tests associated with attention and verbal memory in elderly participants. Significant interaction effects between group and time were observed in digit span backward test (p = 0.008), list learning delayed recall test (p = 0.014), paired associates dissimilar delayed recall test (p = 0.047) and in visual retention-I test (p = 0.035). In conclusion, the study findings suggested that BacoMind® improved the cognitive functions such as attention and verbal memory in elderly individuals and was also found to be well tolerated.


From the study above:

Test Substance
BacoMind®, an enriched phytochemical composition of B. monnieri developed by Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd., (patent pending) was standardized to the content of the following bioactive constituents viz., bacoside A3 (>5.0% w/w), bacopaside I (>7.0% w/w), bacopaside II (>5.5% w/w), jujubogenin isomer of bacopasaponin C (>7.0% w/w), bacopasaponin C (>4.5% w/w), bacosine (>1.5% w/w), luteolin (>0.2% w/w), β-sitosterol-D-glucoside (>0.3% w/w) and apigenin (>0.1% w/w). It was further standardized using the following in vitro bioassays viz., lipoxygenase inhibition assay (IC50< 600 μg mL-1), ABTS radical scavenging assay (IC50<100 μg mL-1), DPPH assay (IC50<200 μg mL-1) and butyrylcholinesterase inhibition assay (IC50<3000 μg mL-1).


First of all, their composition of bacosides might be different than the regular standardized extract, but is it better? Nevertheless since it seems to have at least some efficacy and is somewhat different it might be worth a shot for those of us who suffered from lethargy on regular standardized extract although the gastrointestinal side effects seem to remain. Thoughts about this?

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#30 aLurker

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 01:03 PM

Also I'd like to mention that a preliminary hypothesis of mine about the side effects is that they could stem from bacopa altering thyriod levels so it could be a good idea to monitor these.

Edited by aLurker, 13 November 2010 - 01:05 PM.





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