What Is 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone?
BDNF promotes the growth of neurons and synapses (synaptogenesis) and is very important for normal brain function. Lower amounts of BDNF are observed in diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Schizophrenia [1, 3, 4].
Studies in animals show that 7,8-DHF can indeed help with brain repair, long-term memory, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, studies in humans are still lacking .
How Does 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone Work?
The therapeutic potential of BDNF is restricted due to its short half-life (less than 10 minutes) and its inability to cross the blood-brain barrier because of its large size. Unlike BDNF 7,8-DHF is able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system (CNS) .
Health Benefits of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone
1) May Improve Memory and Learning
7,8-DHF improved object recognition (a test used to determine learning and memory) in healthy rats when given immediately following and three hours after learning. It also improved memory in mice with dementia .
2) May Promote Brain Repair
7,8-DHF promoted the repair of damaged neurons .
3) May Be Neuroprotective
7,8-DHF also prevented neuronal damage in mice after traumatic brain injury .
4) Has Antioxidant Effects
Cells do not need to have the TrkB receptor to be protected .
In this case, 7,8-DHF:
- Removes reactive oxygen species (ROS) .
- Increases Nrf2. This increases the production of several antioxidant enzymes [6, 7, 22].
- Increases glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels .
5) Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
6) May Be Beneficial in Neurodegenerative and Neurodevelopmental Diseases
- Reduced amyloid plaque formation
- Reduced oxidative stress
- Prevented loss of synapses
- Prevented memory deficits and preserved cognitive function
However, another study found no benefits in treating mice with Alzheimer’s-like brain damage with 7,8-DHF .
It also prevents the death of dopamine-sensitive neurons in monkey models of Parkinson’s disease .
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
7,8-DHF improved motor deficits and neuron survival in a mouse model of ALS .
7,8-DHF decreased cognitive deficits and improved learning and memory in rat models of schizophrenia.
Infections in pregnancy and subsequent abnormal brain development can increase the risk of schizophrenia in offspring. Early use of 7,8-DHF decreased behavioral abnormalities and psychosis in mice offspring at risk of developing a schizophrenia-like disorder [39, 40].
In a mouse model of down syndrome, early intervention with 7,8-DHF increased the production of new neurons (hippocampus) and improved learning and memory .
Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile X syndrome is a genetic condition. It causes a range of developmental problems including cognitive impairment and learning disabilities.
In a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, 7,8-DHF improved cognitive function and reduced spine abnormalities .
Rett Syndrome is a non-inherited genetic brain disorder, mainly affecting girls. Symptoms include unusually slower growth, difficult coordination control, and language issues.
7,8-DHF improved symptoms in a mouse model of Rett syndrome .
7) May Treat Depression
7,8-DHF improved depression in mice that experienced social defeat .
8) May Treat Addiction
9) May Combat Obesity
Obesity in pregnancy can negatively impact the child via the placenta. 7,8-DHF improved placental characteristics and may, therefore, help decrease the negative effects of obesity in pregnancy .
10) May Improve Blood Pressure
When injected into rats with elevated blood pressure, 7,8-DHF caused an acute blood pressure reduction. When administered orally, there was still a decrease, but it was less pronounced .
11) May Prevent Skin Cancer
12) May Prevent Skin Aging
7,8-DHF decreased inflammation, increased collagen production, and increased antioxidant enzyme levels in aged human skin cells .
Side Effects & Precautions
There is an apparent lack of human studies. Side effects are unknown. However, users report:
- Trouble sleeping
Possible drug interactions of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone are unknown.
Supplement Forms and Dosage
7,8-DHF can be purchased as capsules/pills, or powder.
The appropriate dosage is unknown, but the most common dosage is 10 – 30 mg per day.
7,8-DHF seems to have potent nootropic effects with few side effects.
Doses of 30 mg peak the mood and energy boosting effects, but people report the effects last only a couple of hours. Taking over 30 mg causes mild dizziness and slight irritability in some.
7,8-DHF decreased feelings of depression and anxiety while improving cognitive function, learning, and mood. However, these benefits diminished after 18 days of daily use.