Why Green Oat Extract
Wild green oats are younger plants (different) than those used for cereal grains. They have a long history of traditional therapeutic use in supporting mental health and cognitive function. Extracts of this “oat herb” are now widely used for indications that include anxiety, tension, stress, excitation, and other neurologic problems.
Given the brain protective and longevity benefits of deprenyl, European scientists turned to wild green oats in search of a natural MAO-B inhibitor. A patented extract of wild green oat was developed after researchers screened 36 different varieties of wild oats for their ability to inhibit MAO-B.
Once scientists identified the specific strain of wild green oat with the most potent biological activity, laboratory assays were conducted using various concentrations of the extract (based on standardized concentrations of isovitexin, a bioactive flavone molecule).
What they found was a 50% inhibition of the MAO-B enzyme by wild green oat extract at small concentrations. These findings show that this specific strain of wild green oat extract, by inhibiting the MAO-B enzyme, could have the potential of raising dopamine levels in the brain.
Demonstration of significant MAO-B inhibition by wild green oat extract would not only be a safe and inexpensive means to improve cognitive function in aging adults, it would also be likely to have favorable impacts on life span itself.
Wild Green Oat Extract in Lab Studies
Once the potency of wild green oat extract had been standardized, a study of laboratory rats was conducted to examine actual changes in behavior as a result of MAO-B inhibition from ingestion of the extract.
Animals were fed for seven weeks with either a normal diet or one supplemented with two different dosages (low and high) of the wild green oat extract. All three groups then underwent a series of behavioral tests.
In this study, the animals showed impressive gains in learning and memory formation. Animals supplemented with the lower dose made significantly fewer mistakes in learning, learned tasks faster, and demonstrated accelerated memory formation, compared with either control or high-dose rats. As an important added benefit, low-dose supplemented rats showed increased social interest in other animals and improvement of their reactions to social signals from others.
This response highlights the essential value of raising the “feel-good” aspects of dopamine levels by properly inhibiting MAO-B. These results are consistent with findings in the literature on the use of pharmaceutical MAO-B inhibitors in Parkinson’s disease patients.
In another study in rats, scientists used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to evaluate the impact of wild green oat extract supplementation on specific areas of brain activity. The researchers were looking to measure changes in neurotransmitters as a result of ingesting wild green oat extract. These changes can be “mapped” and compared to those produced by known drugs that would produce similar behavioral outcomes.
Within the first hour of oral administration, the supplemented animals demonstrated positive changes in their electrical brain activity. The most impressive changes were seen in electrical frequencies that are known to be controlled by dopamine.
This confirmed previous studies showing that the wild green oat extract activates the dopamine-signaling system. In fact, the EEG signatures induced by the extract closely resembled those of known antidementia drugs.
Human Study Reveals Similar Finding
Scaling up from the animal studies, a similar investigation into EEG changes resulting from ingestion of wild green oat extract has now been conducted on humans. This enabled researchers to further validate the dopamine-promoting effects of wild green oat extract.
In a human study testing concentration skills, a group of healthy males and females, aged 30 to 60 years, took a single dose of wild green oat extract at 1,250 or 2,500 mg or placebo. Using a specialized EEG brain mapping, positive changes were shown in the green oat groups during concentration tests in an area of the brain essential for cognitive function (the left frontotemporal lobe).
This EEG brain mapping also showed significant increases in the power of theta brainwaves that are involved in focusing attention and detection ofsignals.
Signal detection, as measured by theta wave power, is an essential component of the process by which we recognize familiar faces and objects, skills that are all too often lost to neurodegenerative diseases. Theta brain activity is an important marker of cognitive health. It is well known that Alzheimer’s patients have heartbreaking difficulties recognizing the faces of loved ones.