3 Ways That Bacopa Can Improve Fibromyalgia

No matter where you are in your fibromyalgia journey, you’ve likely encountered a lot of frustration. The combination of debilitating symptoms, unsympathetic medical professionals, and limited treatment options is enough to make you want to give up on finding relief… at least through conventional means.

Bacopa for Fibromyalgia

Western medicine has been slow to understand the workings of fibromyalgia, and as a result, patients are suffering needlessly at the hands of doctors who believe the problem is psychological. Thankfully, there’s a growing body of research supporting the use of alternative medicine for various ailments, including many symptoms of fibromyalgia.

A popular choice for natural healing is bacopa monnieri, a potent herb with a long and versatile history in ancient Chinese and ayurvedic medicine. If you’re fed up with ineffective treatment suggestions and unproductive doctor visits, then you’ll want to hear more about this promising herbal medicine.

This article is part of our Fibromyalgia Series where we break down how different vitamins and foods affect fibromyalgia symptoms. Be sure to check them all out soon! Click here!

What Is Bacopa?

Bacopa is a perennial herb native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. It’s been a staple in ayurvedic medicine dating back to the 6th century CE. Best known for its cognitive-enhancing effects, it’s used to treat a variety of medical issues, including epilepsy, inflammation, ADHD, and ulcers[1].Bacopa Flower

Though fibromyalgia comes with a long list of troubling symptoms, there is compelling evidence to suggest that bacopa can be useful for treatment in several areas. Specifically, research indicates that bacopa can address three of the most common fibromyalgia-related complaints: brain fog, mood issues, and sleep disturbances.

Brain Fog

One of the most disruptive symptoms of fibromyalgia – and possibly the hardest to treat – is brain fog, also known as “fibro fog”. Brain fog refers to the cognitive fatigue that frequently accompanies fibromyalgia. Often described as “like thinking through a thick fog”[2] (hence the name), brain fog can seriously compromise your ability to function in day-to-day life.

Multiple studies have shown that bacopa can significantly improve various cognitive processes, including memory, learning, visual information processing, and concentration[3] [4] [5] [6]. These are all impaired by brain fog, so this is great news for the many fibromyalgia sufferers who struggle with this challenging and often embarrassing symptom.

These benefits can be attributed to one of bacopa’s primary active ingredients, bacoside-A, which improves synaptic communication and increases activity in the hippocampus[7]. Its cognitive effects are so powerful that bacopa is used to reduce ADHD symptoms in children[8], and it’s even being studied as a possible treatment for dementia[9].

Mood Problems

Fibromyalgia is highly correlated with psychological issues such as depression and anxiety[10]. It’s possible that this is the result of the difficulties associated with having a chronic illness, but there are many theories about the relationship between pain and psychological symptoms. Regardless, it’s bad enough living with constant physical pain without emotional challenges accompanying it.

If you struggle with these types of problems and wish to avoid pharmaceuticals, fear not: relief is possible. Research has shown that taking bacopa regularly can stabilize mood, reduce anxiety, and make one less susceptible to stress[11] [12]. This is attributed to bacopa’s effects on several neurotransmitters that are involved in mood, including serotonin, dopamine, and GABA[13]. Bacopa also regulates cortisol levels[14], which you may know as “the stress hormone.”

Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders

It’s hard to get anything done without a good night’s sleep. Sadly, many fibromyalgia sufferers experience various sleep disturbances, including insomnia. Lack of refreshing sleep is a double whammy since it can worsen other symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and depression[15]. The good news is that bacopa may be able to help remedy these types of sleep difficulties.

Though more research is needed, there is some preliminary support indicating that bacopa can be an effective sleep aid[16]. It makes sense that bacopa could be a potential treatment for insomnia, given its calming effects. At the very least, it works as a mild sedative that can help induce sleep, improve quality of rest, and keep one from waking up during the night.

This is likely due to a combination of factors. As previously mentioned, bacopa manages cortisol, and it affects the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as well[17], both of which play a major role in sleep. It also contains an alkaloid called hersaponin, which has a relaxing effect and reduces anxiety levels[18]. If anxiety is the root of your insomnia, it’s very likely that bacopa will lead to more restorative sleep.

The Bottom Line

It’s possible that bacopa has even more to offer people with fibromyalgia, but more research is needed to study its overall role in treatment. However, what we know so far is promising. It’s clear that bacopa has a myriad of benefits, especially when it comes to fibromyalgia. If you’re interested in improving your quality of life with natural medicine, bacopa is an excellent place to start.

There is scientific evidence suggesting that bacopa can be even more effective when combined with certain other supplements, such as the amino acid acetyl-l-carnitine[19].  A convenient way to take both of these daily is with Everyday Optimal’s new supplement, Fibromyalgia Relief CBD. It contains both bacopa and acetyl-l-carnitine, along with 15 other ingredients that are proven to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms.

References

[1] http://meschinohealth.com/article/bacopa-bacopa-monnieri-in-dementia-prevention-and-treatment/

[2] https://themighty.com/2016/02/what-brain-fog-feels-like/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3095476/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12093601

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20590480

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153866/

[7] https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/bacopa-monnieri/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24682000

[9] http://meschinohealth.com/article/bacopa-bacopa-monnieri-in-dementia-prevention-and-treatment

[10] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/fibromyalgia

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23788517

[12] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711398800019

[13] https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/bacopa-monnieri/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23788517

[15] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/fibromyalgia-and-sleep

[16] https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/bacopa-monnieri/

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746283/

[18] https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/bacopa-monnieri/

[19] http://accurateclinic.com/accurate-education-bacopa-monnieri/

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