How Artichoke Extract Can Improve Cognitive Function and More

Artichoke extract is a popular supplement that may help support the way your brain functions. It also boasts some other impressive potential benefits, from supporting healthy liver function to reducing inflammation and even possibly inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

This powerhouse is derived from the odd-looking yet strangely tasty thistle known as the globe artichoke. And unless you’re eating artichokes by the dozen, it’s very difficult to ingest enough of its brain-boosting compounds to reap its benefits. Hence supplementation with artichoke extract.

Artichoke extract has powerful cognitive benefits and inflammation-reducing properties. It is often used to improve learning, memory, and liver function.

What Is Artichoke Extract?

Artichoke extract is derived from the leaves and stems of the artichoke plant. Artichoke extract supplements are popular for their ability to support cognitive function, reduce cholesterol, and encourage liver health. Artichoke extract is water-soluble and therefore considered quite bioavailable. Artichokes contain several powerful compounds, including luteolin, cynarin, apigenin-7-rutinoside, and narirutin, which reportedly have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12537429/[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115887/ Artichokes and artichoke leaf extract have been used medicinally for centuries. Artichokes were even depicted in ancient Egyptian drawings.[3]https://academic.oup.com/ajhp/article-abstract/64/18/1904/5134966?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Artichoke Extract Nootropic Benefits

While artichokes are delicious and have a wide array of health benefits, the nootropic benefits of artichoke extract are notable.

Artichoke Extract Inhibits PDE4

Artichoke extract works to enhance memory by inhibiting levels of Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) in the brain.[4]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21649644/[5]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21209202/ PDE4 is an enzyme that breaks down cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP or cAMP).[6]https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/phosphodiesterase-iv#:~:text=Phosphodiesterase%2D4%20(PDE4)%20is,of%20proinflammatory%20and%20antiinflammatory%20mediators. And cAMP is important for several brain processes, including learning, memory, and synaptic plasticity.[7]https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2015.00161/full cAMP also encourages the production of cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB). CREB serves an important role in memory function and learning.

Take this quiz to find out if artichoke extract could work with your unique biology.

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Artichoke Extract Lowers Inflammation

But artichoke extract’s powerful brain-boosting benefits don’t only stem from its role in supporting cAMP and CREB production in the brain. It’s also considered an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.[8]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18490655/[9]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30345589/ And since brain fog is largely considered an inflammatory condition, researchers have looked at luteolin as a possible way to bring down neuroinflammation.[10]https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2015.00225/full

One notable animal study suggested that luteolin both lowered inflammation markers in the brain and improved working memory.[11]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20685893/

Artichoke Extract And Forskolin

A popular nootropic to stack with artichoke extract is forskolin. Forskolin, like artichoke extract, could help increase cAMP (a messenger compound) in the brain. It also increases blood flow to the brain and can help improve memory.[12]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0006899387903088

This combination of PDE4 inhibition from the artichoke extract and increased cAMP production from the forskolin is a combination that encourages learning and improves memory.

Other Artichoke Extract Benefits

Beyond the brain, there also appear to be several benefits of consuming artichoke extract.

Researchers have found many ways that artichoke extract can be of potential benefit. Some of these possible benefits include:

Helping to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Artichoke extract is gaining attention for its ability to help manage IBS. One survey showed that an overwhelming majority (96%) of study participants ranked artichoke extract as effective or more effective than their traditional IBS treatments.[13]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11180525/

Encouraging healthy liver function. In addition to helping the brain and the bowels, artichoke extract can be good for your liver, too. Traditional medicine prized artichoke for its ability to support the liver, and it turns out ancient practitioners were onto something. Studies indicate artichoke extract can help improve disease markers in patients with liver disease.[14]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29520889/ In animal studies, it also appears to protect the liver.[15]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1902564/

Lowering cholesterol levels. Artichoke extract has also been touted as a means to improve levels of HDL cholesterol and reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the type commonly referred to as “good” cholesterol and LDL is often called “bad.” So it appears that artichoke extract can improve the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, even in those with already elevated cholesterol levels.[16]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22746542/[17]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10758778/[18]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23195590/[19]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22746542/

Lowering blood sugar. It’s possible that artichoke and artichoke extract could help with blood sugar regulation as well. A couple of small studies indicate that ingesting artichokes and artichoke extract supplementation had an effect on blood sugar levels.[20]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531707002217[21]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21308825/ And a animal study showed that artichoke extract alleviated metabolic syndrome over the course of 16 weeks.[22]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115887/

Exhibiting anti-cancer properties. Artichoke extract’s anti-cancer properties are interesting as well. Scientists are very encouraged by the findings they’ve observed in animal, invitro and invivo studies indicating that artichoke extract could encourage cancer cells to die.[23]https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/8/4166/htm[24]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615542/[25]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477242/

What Type Of Artichoke Extract To Buy?

There are a couple of different types of artichokes. There are Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) and Globe artichokes (Cynara cardunculus). When considering purchasing artichoke extract, you want to make sure that it is the globe artichoke extract that you’re buying.

There are also many different ways to ingest artichoke extract. There are artichoke extract tinctures (liquid form) and there are even artichoke extract powders that you can add to your smoothies.

How Much Artichoke Extract Should I Take?

If you’re after a nootropic benefit, artichoke extract dosage is typically between 500 mg and 900 mg per day. Since this supplement can feel energizing, it’s best to take it in the morning.

There have been clinical trials that studied dosages of 600 mg to 2,700 mg per day over two months in patients that had liver disease.[26]https://www.drugs.com/npp/artichoke.html

Artichoke Extract Side Effects

Artichoke extract does not generally produce many reported side effects. Some mild gastrointestinal upset is infrequently experienced by those taking artichoke extract.

It’s important to note that the artichoke is in the daisy family. So if you have any allergies to daisies, chrysanthemums, ragweed, echinacea, or the like — don’t take artichoke extract. There is no clinical data on the safety of artichoke extract in pregnant or nursing women.

Should you add artichoke extract to your stack?

Take this quiz to find out if artichoke extract is right for you, and what other nootropic supplements you should stack with it.

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Finding a recipe that’s tailored to your brain and your specific needs and preferences is the best way to experience the life-changing benefits of nootropics. And it’s way easier than digging through forums and supplement reviews to find out what you can safely combine and how much to take.

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