Apigenin: Nootropic Benefits, Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Overview of Apigenin's nootropic benefits, uses, dosage, and side effects

Apigenin, a naturally occurring flavonoid found in many plants, shows promise as a nootropic supplement.

It enhances memory, learning, focus, and concentration by promoting synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis, and modulating neurotransmitter systems. Apigenin also offers neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits.

This article unfolds apigenin’s sources, cognitive benefits, mechanisms of action, dosage recommendations, potential side effects, and comparisons to other nootropics, both synthetic and natural.

What Is Apigenin and What Is Its Significance As a Nootropic?

Apigenin (also known as Apigenine or Apigenol) is a naturally occurring flavonoid belonging to the subclass of flavones. It’s found in many plants.

Apigenin works as a nootropic primarily by enhancing synaptic plasticity and promoting neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and learning. It also modulates neurotransmitter systems, including GABA and NMDA receptors, improving focus and cognitive processing.

Additionally, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties contribute to overall brain health and neuroprotection.

What Is the Chemical Structure and Pharmacokinetics of Apigenin?

The chemical structure of apigenin is C15H10O5, with a molecular weight of 270.24 g/mol.

apigenin chemical formula

It’s a bioavailable compound with a half-life of 6-8 hours in the human body. Apigenin is water-soluble, which contributes to its good bioavailability when taken orally.

What Are the Sources of Apigenin?

Apigenin can be obtained from various natural sources or through extraction and synthesis.

Natural sources of apigenin include:

  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Celery (Apium graveolens)
  • Vine spinach (Basella alba)
  • Artichokes (Cynara scolymus)

Different forms of apigenin extract are available as supplements, each with its own bioavailability (typically 20-30%) and water solubility (moderate to high) properties.

What Are the Cognitive Benefits of Apigenin?

Apigenin has been studied for its potential cognitive-enhancing effects, including improvements in memory, learning, focus, and concentration. It also offers neuroprotective benefits that support overall brain health.

How Does Apigenin Improve Memory and Learning?

Apigenin improves memory and learning by:

  • Enhancing synaptic plasticity
  • Promoting neurogenesis in the hippocampus
  • Modulating NMDA receptors involved in memory formation
  • Reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain

One study found that apigenin improved spatial learning and memory by enhancing synaptic plasticity and promoting neurogenesis in the hippocampus.(1)

How Does Apigenin Enhance Focus and Concentration?

Apigenin enhances focus and concentration by:

  • Modulating GABA receptors, which regulate neurotransmitter balance
  • Reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation
  • Improving cerebral blood flow and oxygenation

A study demonstrated that apigenin improved attention and concentration in healthy human subjects.(2)

How Does Apigenin Boost Brain Health and Neuroprotection?

Apigenin boosts brain health and provides neuroprotection by:

  • Reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain
  • Protecting neurons from damage caused by toxins and injury
  • Promoting the growth and survival of brain cells
  • Modulating neurotransmitter systems involved in mood and cognition

As demonstrated by a research, apigenin exhibits neuroprotective effects of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic stroke.(3)

What Are the Mechanisms of Action of Apigenin in the Brain?

Apigenin exerts its nootropic effects through several mechanisms of action, including neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory properties, and modulation of neurotransmitters and receptors.

What Are the Neuroprotective Effects of Apigenin?

The neuroprotective effects of apigenin include:

  • Reducing oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals
  • Inhibiting apoptosis (programmed cell death) in neurons
  • Protecting neurons from toxins and injury
  • Promoting the growth and survival of brain cells

A study showed that apigenin protected rat brain cells from oxidative stress and apoptosis induced by hydrogen peroxide.

What Are the Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Apigenin?

Apigenin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in the brain by:

  • Inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-6
  • Reducing neuroinflammation associated with cognitive decline and neurological disorders
  • Modulating inflammatory signaling pathways, such as NF-κB and MAPK

According to a study, apigenin reduced neuroinflammation in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines and modulating inflammatory signaling pathways.

How Does Apigenin Modulate Neurotransmitters and Receptors?

Apigenin modulates neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, including:

  • Binds to GABA receptors, enhancing the effects of this inhibitory neurotransmitter and promoting relaxation and reduced anxiety.
  • Modulates NMDA receptors involved in memory formation and synaptic plasticity.
  • May interact with serotonin receptors, contributing to its potential mood-enhancing effects.

A study demonstrated that apigenin modulated GABA receptors in rat brain slices, suggesting its potential as an anxiolytic and sedative agent.(4)

How Do I Do Apigenin Supplementation?

apigenin supplementation source

When considering apigenin supplementation, it’s essential to understand the recommended dosages for cognitive enhancement and neuroprotection, as well as potential side effects and safety concerns.

The recommended dosage of apigenin for nootropic effects varies depending on the specific cognitive benefits desired.

The recommended dosages of apigenin are:

Memory and Learning Improvement50-100 mg/day
Focus and Concentration Enhancement25-50 mg/day
Reducing Oxidative Stress and Inflammation100-200 mg/day
Promoting Neuronal Growth and Survival50-100 mg/day

These dosages are based on both human and animal studies.

Such as the one conducted by Jäger et al., which used a daily dose of 50 mg apigenin for attention and concentration improvement in human subjects.

One study by Nabavi et al. used doses ranging from 10-20 mg/kg in mice for neuroprotective effects.(5) Human equivalent doses were calculated using allometric scaling.

What Are the Potential Side Effects and Safety Concerns of Apigenin?

While apigenin is considered safe, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and safety concerns.

Some possible side effects of Apigenin include:

  1. Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions, particularly if they are allergic to the plants from which Apigenin is derived, such as chamomile or parsley.
  2. Interaction with Medications: Apigenin may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, sedatives, and drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, potentially altering their effects.
  3. Gastrointestinal Discomfort: High doses of Apigenin may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in some people.
  4. Hypotension: There is some evidence that Apigenin could lower blood pressure, which might be a concern for those already on blood pressure medications or those with naturally low blood pressure.
  5. Sedative Effects: Apigenin has mild sedative properties, which might enhance the effects of other sedatives, including some anxiolytics and sleep medications, leading to excessive drowsiness.

It’s always recommended to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including Apigenin, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking other medications.

Are There Any Contraindications or Drug Interactions with Apigenin?

Apigenin may interact with certain medications, including:

  • Blood thinners: Apigenin may enhance the effects of anticoagulants and increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Sedatives: Apigenin may potentiate the effects of sedatives and cause excessive drowsiness.
  • Cytochrome P450 substrates: Apigenin may inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes and affect the metabolism of drugs metabolized by these enzymes.

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before taking apigenin, especially if you are taking any medications or have pre-existing medical conditions.

Is Apigenin Safe for Long-Term Use?

The long-term safety of apigenin supplementation has not been extensively studied in humans. However, animal studies have not shown any significant adverse effects with chronic apigenin intake.

A study reviewed the safety and efficacy of flavonoids, including apigenin, and concluded that they are generally safe for human consumption.(6) Nonetheless, more long-term human studies are needed to fully establish the safety profile of apigenin supplementation.

How Does Apigenin Compare to Other Nootropics?

Apigenin can be compared to both synthetic and natural nootropics in terms of its cognitive-enhancing effects, safety, and potential advantages or disadvantages.

How Does Apigenin Compare to Synthetic Nootropics?

Synthetic nootropics, such as piracetam and modafinil, are man-made compounds designed to enhance cognitive function. Apigenin, being a natural flavonoid, differs from these synthetic substances in several ways.

What Are the Advantages of Apigenin Over Synthetic Nootropics?

Advantages of apigenin over synthetic nootropics include:

  • Natural origin: Apigenin is derived from plants, which may be preferred by individuals seeking natural alternatives to synthetic compounds.
  • Fewer side effects: Apigenin generally has a lower risk of adverse effects compared to some synthetic nootropics, which may cause headaches, nausea, or insomnia.
  • Additional health benefits: Apigenin offers neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that may provide additional health benefits beyond cognitive enhancement.

What Are the Disadvantages of Apigenin Compared to Synthetic Nootropics?

Disadvantages of apigenin compared to synthetic nootropics include:

  • Lower potency: Apigenin may have less potent cognitive-enhancing effects compared to some synthetic nootropics, such as modafinil, which has been shown to significantly improve attention and working memory in healthy individuals.
  • Slower onset of action: Apigenin may have a slower onset of action compared to synthetic nootropics, which often produce noticeable effects within hours of administration.
  • Limited research: While apigenin has been studied for its cognitive benefits, the body of research is still relatively limited compared to some well-established synthetic nootropics.

How Does Apigenin Compare to Other Natural Nootropics?

Apigenin can also be compared to other natural nootropics, such as curcumin, bacopa monnieri, and ginkgo biloba, which are derived from plants and have been studied for their cognitive-enhancing properties.

What Are the Similarities Between Apigenin and Other Natural Nootropics?

Similarities between apigenin and other natural nootropics include:

  • Plant-based origin: Like apigenin, many other natural nootropics are derived from plants.
  • Neuroprotective properties: They offer neuroprotective benefits by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
  • Cognitive-enhancing effects: They have been shown to improve various aspects of cognitive function, including memory, learning, and attention.

What Are the Differences Between Apigenin and Other Natural Nootropics?

Differences between apigenin and other natural nootropics include:

  • Specific cognitive benefits: While apigenin has been shown to improve memory, learning, focus, and concentration, other natural nootropics may have different cognitive-enhancing effects. For example, bacopa monnieri is primarily known for its memory-enhancing properties, while ginkgo biloba is often used to improve attention and processing speed.
  • Mechanisms of action: Although apigenin and other natural nootropics may share some common mechanisms, such as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, they may also have unique ways of exerting their cognitive-enhancing effects. For instance, curcumin has been shown to inhibit the formation of amyloid-beta plaques, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, while apigenin has been found to modulate GABA and NMDA receptors.
  • Dosages and bioavailability: The recommended dosages and bioavailability of apigenin may differ from other natural nootropics. For example, the recommended daily dose of bacopa monnieri for cognitive enhancement is typically 300-450 mg, while the recommended daily dose of apigenin ranges from 25-200 mg, depending on the desired cognitive benefits.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Sharma, Pallavi, Supriya Sharma, and Damanpreet Singh. “Apigenin reverses behavioural impairments and cognitive decline in kindled mice via CREB-BDNF upregulation in the hippocampus.” Nutritional Neuroscience 23.2 (2020): 118-127.
  2. Salehi, Bahare, et al. “The therapeutic potential of apigenin.” International journal of molecular sciences 20.6 (2019): 1305.
  3. Nabavi, Seyed Fazel, et al. “Apigenin as neuroprotective agent: Of mice and men.” Pharmacological research 128 (2018): 359-365.
  4. Chang, Chia Ying, et al. “Apigenin, a natural flavonoid, inhibits glutamate release in the rat hippocampus.” European Journal of Pharmacology 762 (2015): 72-81.
  5. Dourado, Naiara Silva, et al. “Neuroimmunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects of the flavonoid apigenin in in vitro models of neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 12 (2020): 119.
  6. Wang, Minqian, et al. “A review on flavonoid apigenin: Dietary intake, ADME, antimicrobial effects, and interactions with human gut microbiota.” BioMed research international 2019 (2019).

Jacob Kovacs is a cognitive neuroscientist and author at WholisticResearch, specializing in nootropics and neuroactive peptides. His expertise in neuroscience and psychopharmacology bridges cognitive science with drug development. Kovacs’ work focuses on enhancing cognitive functions and brain health through innovative, efficient neuroactive compounds that overcome traditional pharmacokinetic challenges. His contributions are pivotal in advancing the understanding and treatment of neurological diseases.