Oat Straw Extract
Avena Sativa is an extract of green oat grass at the immature ‘milky’ stage of the plant’s growth. Only at a specific point in wild oat straws life can you obtain this potent cognitive extract. With its ability to increase Alpha Brain Wave oscillations it has proven time again to be an excellent natural extract to improve cognitive performance. With Avena Sativa coming in to the limelight in recent years as a leading nootropic for those wanting a completely on-point and un-deterred mindset in the moments that matter most, it certainly delivers time again.
Also hosting a presence in benefits to guard against the inevitable onset age related cognitive diseases, Avena Sativa is used vary varyingly from world class fighters & sports competitors through to the active over 60s.
Grown in temperate climates around the world, the Oat Plant (Avena sativa) has been a popular grain in nutrition for the last 3000 years. Oat Straw as we know it today is a descendant of Avena sterilis, a wild oat originally prevalent in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ – a region spanning from Western Iran to Israel. It was traditionally brewed as a tea and used as a sedative for insomnia and a treatment for those suffering from nervous disorders. Its benefits were revealed in Europe during the Middle Ages, when it began to gain a reputation for restoring the nervous system and improving mental health, sometimes referred to as a ‘happiness herb’. [source:1][source:2] Oat Straw was first classed as a “nervine herb” in 1987, when the German Commission determined it to be a positive herbal treatment for stress and anxiety. [source:3]. Now, thanks to it’s vast history, under the circumstances of modern technology, its cognitive benefits for performance have been revealed as one of the heavyweights in nootropics.
Oat Straw has been found to have many cognitive benefits, with some being very important to the working performance of ones brain. The main areas of improvement we will discuss are:
- Increases Alpha Brain Waves
- Improves Cognition
- Boosts Cerebral Circulation
- Provides Age-Related Brain Protection
Increases Alpha Brain Waves
In your brain, Alpha Brainwaves operate at 7.5-12.5hz, arising from synchronous & coherent electrical activity. Comprehensive studies show that they can enhance a composed focus with intuitive creativity by reducing distraction & irrelevant impulse.
Extending the importance of Alpha Brainwaves place for focus and intuitive accurate responses was then furthered by the April 2015 study “Functional Role of Frontal Alpha Oscillations in Creativity,” which was published in the journal Cortex. In a press release, Flavio Frohlich PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, cell biology and physiology, biomedical engineering, and neurology at UNC said,
"This study is a proof-of-concept. We've provided the first evidence that specifically enhancing alpha oscillations is a causal trigger of a specific and complex behavior—in this case, creativity.” [source:4]
Alpha brain waves are created when you are in a state of focused calm, and are associated with enhanced flow states & learning. Colloquially referred to as being ‘in the zone’.
A double-blind study carried out in Germany measured the effects of Avena Sativa from Oat Straw on brain wave frequencies. Participants were given either 1250mg of Oat Straw, 2500mg, or a placebo and it was found that the groups taking Oat Straw performed better in mathematic tests than the control group. An EEG measured the brain wave frequencies and researchers noted significant affects in the cognition-specific area of the brain. [source:5]
Improves Overall Cognition, Concentration & Attention
A test into the effects of Oat Straw on cognition was conducted on adults with self-declared declining cognitive performance. The participants were given a single dose of either a low or higher Oat Straw extract and cognitive function was tested by measuring executive function, attention, spatial, working and episodic memory before dosing and again 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 hours post-dose. The study found that the lower dose group improved across all tests compared to the other groups, suggesting that the lower dosage is particularly effective in boosting cognition. [source:6]. As is the case with other natural nootropics, lower doses can yield greater results. Then by enabling specific synergy between ingredients.
One study went on to put the excess of Avena Sativa results on cognition through it’s paces. By involving it in a clinical trial called the ‘Stroop Color-Word Test’, which measures improved responses in attention & concentration.
The participants chosen had been on the basis that their cognition was below average. They were given either a placebo, a low, or a high dose of Avena Sativa in a randomised, double-blind crossover comparison for unbiased results.
Results showed that significantly fewer errors were made during the first part of the Stroop Test in the lower dose of Avena Sativa compared with the placebo or higher dose. Again, in the second part of the test the Stroop interference score improved by the lower dose compared with the higher and placebo dose. [source:7]
This shows that Oat Straw Extract Avena Sativa improves attention, concentration, and the ability to maintain task focus in adults with differing levels of cognitive status. Significantly it also falls in line with other research studies that a lower dose is more effective.
Boosts Cerebral Circulation
Oat Straw extract improves the flow of oxygen and nutrients to brain cells by improving blood circulation, resulting in a fully optimized brain. This occurs in a three-fold manner – the first is that it contains arginine, an amino acid which assists in the creation of nitric oxide (NO), a blood vessel dilator. The second is that it contains avenanthramides (bioactive compounds found uniquely in oats) which enhance the production of NO. And third, the suppression of cytokines, an inflammatory responsible for decreased blood flow. [source:8]
A 24-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 37 adults found that cerebral vascular responsiveness improved by 42% in the group taking 1500mg per day of Oat Straw extract, compared to the placebo group. The tests showed that the middle cerebral artery was better able to dilate and allowed more blood to flow to the brain. [source:9]
Age Related Brain Protection
The decline in cognitive function in later life has been associated with decreasing levels of dopamine (around 13% per decade after the age of 45). [source:10] [source:11]
Studies have found that the decrease in dopamine is caused by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) which functions as a dopamine regulator. As we age, MAO-B levels in the body increase too much, leading to a converse fall in dopamine. [source:12] Oat Straw extract works as a MAO-B inhibitor, protecting dopamine and extending cognition function, mood and wakefulness and helping in brain disorders such as ADHD and Parkinson’s Disease [source:13] [source:14] [source:15]
Alongside these key benefits, Avena Sativa from Oat Straw Extract has also shown to;
- Anti-inflammatory effects both internally and externally[source:16][source:17]
- Works as an antidepressant [source:18]
- Reduces anxiety [source:19]
- Increases libido and sexual performance.
Oat Straw has no known side effects and is considered a non-toxic, natural and very safe supplement.
This information should be used for guidance only, please consult with a medical professional before taking any dietary supplement. Should you suffer from any ongoing medical conditions or have any concerns at all, consult your doctor in the first instance.
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