Oat straw extract comes from green oat grass (Avena sativa) in the ‘milky’ stage, prior to oat grains forming a head. It has been used for years in the form of tea, with holistic medicinal uses dating back hundreds of year.
Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, oat straw extract exhibits a wide range of benefits for mental health and cognitive function. These benefits are impressive enough that many reputable brands of all-natural nootropic stacks include oat straw extracts in their blend.
What makes oat straw unique amongst all-natural nootropics is its ability to immediately enhance cognition. While many natural nootropics require days or even weeks of daily supplementation before you’ll experience any cognitive benefits, studies suggest that the nootropic effects of oat straw may be the most powerful right away. This means that you can buy oat straw in the morning, and reap the benefits that same day.
Oat Straw History
Oat straw extract comes from the same plant as the common oats that you find in the cereal aisle of your grocery store. While historians once thought oats had been eaten for only a few thousand years, archeological evidence suggests that humans have been consuming oats for over 32,000 years.1
Yet oat straw extract possesses some qualities that traditional oats do not due to its extraction methods. Oat straw has been used to support mental health in certain parts of Europe since the Middle Ages. It’s still commonly used in Europe to calm the nerves and relieve tension.2
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Today you can find oat straw extract in the aisles of your health food store, with numerous studies having been conducted on its uses and benefits. Little of this research has been replicated, so more studies are needed to fully elucidate its benefits.
Changes Brain Waves
There are four types of brainwaves: beta, alpha, theta, and delta.3 Theta brainwaves are linked to a positive mental state where you can experience a seemingly effortless flow of ideas. Researchers have found an increase in theta brain waves in humans following oat straw extract supplementation.
The Stroop colour-word test is composed of a list of colors that have various text colors. The objective is to name the color of the word as opposed to reading the word itself. was This test was conducted on participants after taking 1600 mg of oat straw or a placebo. The group that took oat straw had a significant reduction in errors from the Stroop-colour word test which suggests that oat straw has the ability to improve attention.4
Regulates Dopamine Levels
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate how we feel, think, and our overall brain health.
Oat straw inhibits the enzyme MOA-B. This enzyme is responsible for the regulation of dopamine levels in the brain. As we get older, MAO-B tends to decrease dopamine too much, leading to trouble with sexual and cognitive function. By reducing MAO-B activity and thusly increasing dopamine activity, oat straw may help to preserve cognitive function, sexual abilities, and even promote a positive mood as we age.
Nootropic Uses and Benefits
Enhances Blood Flow to the Brain
Oat straw extract is thought to act as a vasodilator (widens blood vessels) thanks to its ability to inhibit a certain enzyme. This enzyme is important for cognition, mental health, and reducing inflammation.5
Blood delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to the brain, allowing it to function at a higher level. This may be particularly helpful for some who suffer from mild cognitive impairment, for whom insufficient blood flow to the brain is characteristic.
Possesses Anti-Inflammatory Potential
Chronic inflammation can cause damage throughout our bodies, including harm to the health and function of our brain cells. There are certain compounds found in oat straw that possess anti-inflammatory benefits.6 This reduction in inflammation may help to boost our clarity of thought and concentration abilities while helping those with chronic inflammatory conditions.
In a human trial of a patented form of green oat extract, Neuravena, researcher examined how it impacted the mental functioning of healthy humans. Volunteers were given a single oral dose of either 1250 mg wild green oat extract, 2500 mg wild green oat extract, or placebo shortly before a concentration test where brain activity was monitored.7
Researchers found that 2500 mg wild green oat extract significantly increased theta brain wave activity after 2 hours of taking the supplement, which is indicative of enhanced cognitive alertness. Similar results were not seen in the placebo or 1250 mg extract groups.
In a 2017 study on healthy adults from 40-65 years of age who reported a decline in memory abilities with age, 800 mg Nueravena, 1600 mg Nueravena, or placebo were administered and cognitive function was assessed. Researchers found that 800 mg produced the greatest improvements in cognitive performance, including speed of performance, delayed word recall, and executive function.8
This most recent study led the researchers to conclude that the optimal dose for healthy subjects is likely at or below 800 mg of Neuravena.
In another study on Neuravena, elderly volunteers who had below-average cognitive performance were given either 0, 1600, or 2,400 mg Nueravena and took a test that measured their ability to maintain focus and avoid distraction.
Improvements were seen in the 1600 mg group, but not in either of the other groups, suggesting that green oat extract may help to improve attention abilities in certain adults.9
Safety and Precautions
Oat straw extract is considered safe and non-toxic. Although, you want to be careful not to take too much as the benefits appear to decrease if an excess amount is taken. The optimal dosage is likely at 800 mg or less.
In studies on healthy adults, evidence suggests there is a greater efficacy for acute cognitive benefits rather than sustained use. What this means is that you may find more luck taking this supplement shortly before you are looking for enhanced cognition, rather than daily for lasting benefits.
Oat straw extract is a powerful all-natural nootropic that has a unique ability to boost cognition and focus shortly after supplementation. This nootropic is a great option for those who would like to boost their memory, learning, and attention abilities in a safe and natural manner.
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