Are you curious about the unique effects of kava on your brain? There is a growing body of evidence that suggests regular use of this natural beverage can help calm the mind and promote relaxation. In this guide, we’ll explore what kava is, how it works in the body, and how it potentially affects our brains. Whether you’re relatively new to kava or just looking for a refresher course to gain more knowledge about its effects, read on as we give you all the beginner basics!
What is Kava?
Kava (Piper methysticum) is a tiny shrub endemic to the islands of the South Pacific, including Vanuatu, Fiji, and Hawaii. And has been used securely by islanders for three thousand years. Piper methysticum (Piper is the Latin word for "pepper" And methysticum derives from the Greek word for intoxication. In Polynesia and Micronesia, Kava has long been employed as a ceremonial beverage. Kava is well recognized for enhancing feelings of happiness, well-being, and relaxation. Kava is endemic to the islands in the South Pacific.
Several clinical investigations have demonstrated that kava is useful for alleviating anxiety symptoms. Other research has demonstrated that kava can improve sleep quality.
As a nootropic, kava is used to reduce anxiety with a potency comparable to that of prescription anti-anxiety medications.
Related Link: Does Kava Get You High? What to Know
How Kava Helps The Brain
Kava affects the number of GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is the neurotransmitter that has a calming effect. And an increase in GABA receptor sites accounts for the anti-anxiety effects of kava. Scientists from Australia's Brain Sciences Institute at Melbourne University discovered that Kava did not have a deleterious effect on cognition after reviewing ten clinical investigations. Several studies have demonstrated that kava "substantially improved visual attention and working memory functions." The research team noted that the capacity of Kava to prevent the reuptake of noradrenaline in the prefrontal brain may account for the cognitive benefits of Kava.
- Cognition: Kava enhances both reaction time and cognitive performance. Kava's kavalactones interact with the brain's ion channels. Having an effect on neurotransmitter function.
- Neuroprotection: Kava has preventive properties against strokes. Two of Kava's constituents, dihydromethysticin and methysticin, have similar potency to the Alzheimer's disease treatment Memantine.
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Kava & Anxiety
The Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation of California examined twenty-four trials of Kava and other herbal remedies for anxiety. There was considerable evidence that kava alleviated not only anxiety, but also agitation and insomnia. Even animal tests demonstrated that Kava has anxiolytic effects, but not sedative or cognitively damaging effects, which are common side effects of benzodiazepines.
Related Link: How Long Does It Take for Kava to Kick In?
Kava & The Brain
Kava has a long and established history of medicinal efficacy. Numerous clinical studies support the use of Kava for the treatment of anxiety.
Kava, unlike benzodiazepines, lacks similar sedative and cognitive damaging properties. And it appears that Kava achieves this calming effect via increasing the number of GABA-a receptors. Additionally, kava extracts have been observed to bind to GABA, dopamine, serotonin, and opiate receptors. This suggests that more of each neurotransmitter is available to the brain, while Kava blocks or inhibits the corresponding receptors.
Antidepressant effects have also been observed in kava preparations. Several of the studies establishing this antidepressant effect also revealed that Kava posed no safety issues at the levels and period evaluated. Unlike a number of well-known antidepressants. Kava has also been demonstrated to improve cognition and focus. In one study, researchers indicated that Kava's capacity to prevent the reuptake of noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex may be responsible for its cognitive enhancing effects.
Moreover, Kava protects and may possibly treat a variety of cancers. One of the components of Kava, Flavokawain B, decreases prostate tumor growth and prevents malignancy, according to research.
What Causes Brain Damage
Let’s take a look at the factors that can lead to brain damage or memory loss, as well as some tips for preventing these issues.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The most common cause of brain damage is a traumatic brain injury, which is caused by an outside force like a fall or a car accident. A TBI can range in severity from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the injury. Symptoms of TBIs include confusion, headaches, dizziness, vision changes, speech difficulties, and other cognitive impairments. When left untreated or undiagnosed, a TBI can lead to long term brain damage or even death.
Alzheimer’s disease is another major cause of brain damage and memory loss. Alzheimer’s is an incurable degenerative disorder that slowly destroys memory over time. It affects one in 10 people over the age of 65 and around half of those over 85 years old. The onset of Alzheimer’s is marked by progressive memory loss that eventually leads to difficulty performing everyday tasks such as speaking or dressing oneself. Other common symptoms include confusion, mood swings, difficulty recognizing family members or friends, and impaired judgment.
Although kava has many potential benefits, it also has some safety concerns associated with its use. Side effects may include dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, upset stomach and headaches. More serious side effects may include liver damage or kidney failure if taken in excessive amounts over long periods of time. For this reason, people should talk to their doctor before taking any kind of supplement or herbal remedy like kava. It's also important to note that there is no scientific evidence that suggests that kava is safe or effective when combined with alcohol or other drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines. People should therefore avoid mixing these substances while taking kava supplements.
Preventing Brain Damage & Memory Loss
Fortunately there are steps you can take to prevent brain damage and memory loss before they occur. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia later in life. Exercise also helps keep your mind sharp; it increases blood flow to the brain which helps improve cognitive function. Finally, getting enough sleep each night is essential for keeping your memory sharp; not getting enough sleep can impair your ability to form new memories or recall old ones.
Do you have any questions about kava? Reach out to us today!
Kava has a sedative effect that can help with anxiety, insomnia, and stress. It works by inhibiting the neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for these conditions. Kava is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat these conditions. If you're interested in trying kava, we recommend checking out our pre-made kava drinks. They're perfect for beginners who want to experience the benefits of kava without having to prepare it themselves.
Related Link: How to Make Kava: Preparation Guide