7,8-DHF is an investigational plant compound and a new nootropic. It has attracted a lot of attention in recent years because it targets a brain receptor that helps grow new neurons. Learn about its potential here.
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 could potentially help with brain repair, long-term memory, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, studies in humans have not yet begun .
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) .
Cells do not need to have the TrkB receptor to be protected .
In this case, 7,8-DHF:
- Removed reactive oxygen species (ROS) .
- Increased Nrf2. This increases the production of several antioxidant enzymes [6, 7, 10].
- Increased glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels .
Because of the relatively low apparent bioavailability of 7,8-DHF (about 5% in mice), researchers are currently developing prodrugs that can be converted to 7,8-DHF once inside the body. The most promising of these is currently known as R13, which has eliminated plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of living mice [12, 13].
R13 has not yet been tested in humans, and we do not recommend using it until such studies are conducted.
No clinical evidence supports the use of 7,8,-DHP for any health condition, as all research thus far has been preclinical. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
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 .
7,8-DHF promoted the repair of damaged neurons .
7,8-DHF also prevented neuronal damage in mice after traumatic brain injury .
- 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 .
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 [41, 42].
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 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 .
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 .
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 .
Due to a lack of human studies, the potential side effects of 7,8-DHF are unknown. However, users have anecdotally reported:
- Trouble sleeping
The possible drug interactions of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone are unknown.
To avoid adverse effects and unexpected interactions, talk to your doctor before using 7,8-DHF.
7,8-DHF can be purchased as capsules/pills, or powder.
There is no safe and effective dose of 7,8-DHF because no sufficiently powered study has been conducted to find one. The most common dosage in commercially available supplements is 10 – 30 mg per day.