Life Extension Magazine®
Sage where the extract is linked with increased memory performance

Issue: December 2019

Protect Brain Function with Sage Extract

A sage extract has been clinically shown to increase memory performance in older adults by 60%. Measures of attention improved 2.5-fold within hours of ingestion.

By Michael Downey, Health & Wellness Author.

As we age, our cognitive abilities decline.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Scientists have identified specific nutrients that protect the aging brain.1-10

One of these is a sage extract that has demonstrated remarkable cognitive-enhancing activities.11

In clinical studies, this sage extract increased memory performance in older adults by nearly 60%.

A measure of attention improved by about 2.5-foldwithin hours of ingestion.12

In addition to these human benefits, this sage extract has been shown to increase lifespan by 12% in an animal model of aging.11

Together with other nutrients, this sage extract can help our brains function in a more youthful manner.

Preserving Brain Power


Minor deterioration in brain function is known as mild cognitive impairment. It affects memory, attention, and other mental processes.

More severe loss is considered dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are characterized in part by lower levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Losing memory and brainpower is not “a part of life” that everyone must endure.

Research has documented that certain nutrients help maximize brain function. The herb sage stands out for its ability to protect neurons and enhance cognitive function.13-18

A team of scientists has identified a new sage extract that provides powerful brain-protective effects not found in other sage preparations.11,12,19


What You Need to Know

Sage Boosts Brain Power

  • Scientists have identified a unique sage extract that increases memory performance in older adults by nearly 60% and improves a measure of attention by 2.5-fold—within hours of ingestion.

  • This new extract has neuroprotective capabilities not seen in other sage preparations, and it shows the ability to extend lifespan in animal models of aging by 12%.

  • This sage extract can help support brain health, especially if taken with other supplements with proven brain benefits.

Cognitive Benefits of Sage


Sage is rich in polyphenols that have demonstrated clinical benefits and fascinating preclinical findings.

But the most compelling benefit of sage may be its capacity for cognitive protection.

In a series of clinical trials, scientists found that younger individuals who took sage extract benefited within hours from improved mood, reduced anxiety, enhanced long-term memory, and reduced mental fatigue.13-16

Researchers also documented cognitive benefits in older people with dementia.17,18

In a randomized clinical trial on patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s, the cognitive scores of a placebo group deteriorated by about 22% over four months. But the scores of the group that supplemented with sage extract improved by about 26%.18

That’s a remarkable result. But even stronger brain protection is available from a new sage extract.

An Improved Form of Sage

A group of European scientists has identified a specific form of sage with benefits that go beyond traditional sage extracts.

This extract has a unique chemical fingerprint,19 one distinctively suited to support brain function.

In fact, this newer sage extract has shown, in preclinical studies, superior effects to other sage sources and to cognitive drugs.11,20

Scientists enlisted adults over age 64 for a clinical study of its effects on cognition.12 Brain function tests were conducted both before and after participants were given either the sage extract or a placebo.

Here are the remarkable findings:12

  • Memory performance in those receiving this new sage extract was boosted, compared to placebo, by roughly 60%.

  • A measure of attention in sage-supplemented participants was enhanced, compared to placebo, by about 2.5-fold.

These improvements occurred within hours of taking this new sage extract.12

How It Works

Life Extension® has collaborated with researchers at a group called Sibelius to determine how this particular extract enhances memory and attention.

Traditional sage helps protect the aging brain and supports cognition by:

  • Reversing decreases of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine,12,15-17,21,22 which is critical for attention, memory, and reasoning,23-25

  • Boosting levels of neurotrophins,22 proteins that encourage creation of new brain cells and repair of damaged brain cells,26-27 and

  • Reducing inflammation22 which is associated with cognitive deficits.28

The new sage extract does all this. But scientists have identified several additional ways that this extract, with its different chemical makeup, may deliver cognitive enhancements.

Improved Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Signaling

In a compelling preclinical analytic study, this unique sage extract was found to increase expression of genes related to lipid metabolism and insulin signaling—which are both tied to enhanced longevity.21 Blood tests in aging adults often reveal dangerous increases in glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

In a model of aging using roundworms, this extract resulted in a 12% lifespan increase. Other sage sources did not extend life.11

Stronger Neurotransmitter Signaling

In addition to the increased acetylcholine levels induced by other sage sources, this extract boosts the activity of other neurotransmitters such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glutamate.21

This helps explain the profound cognitive benefits observed in human studies.

Increased Blood Flow to the Brain

As we age, our brain suffers blood flow reductions due to vascular stiffening and damage to delicate capillary beds.

This new sage extract has vasodilation properties, which means it can open vessels that supply vital blood and oxygen to the brain.21

The age-related reduction of blood flow is a precursor to memory loss and dementia.29-33

Other Nutrients for Brain Health

Sage is just one of several nutrients known to protect and enhance brain health. By taking it with others that complement its activity, it can maximize cognitive benefits.


Phosphatidylserine is an essential phospholipid component of nerve cell membranes and the myelin sheath that covers and protects nerve cells, including brain cells. The myelin sheath supports the conduction of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.1,34,35

Taking phosphatidylserine preserves cognitive function and may reduce the structural deterioration in the nervous system that occurs with age. In studies, people who took it scored higher on short-term memory and concentration tests.1


Blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, powerful compounds present in a variety of plants including fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins exert a broad range of health-promoting effects, including defense against oxidative stress, as well as modulation of gene expression and cell-signaling pathways.36

Recent human trials have demonstrated that blueberries improve memory and other cognitive performance in older subjects, and boost mood and cognition in children and young adults.3-5,37,38


Vinpocetine, a compound derived from the periwinkle plant, has been reported to have benefits for cognition and degenerative disorders of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Vinpocetine helps to dilate (widen) blood vessels to the brain, improving blood flow and stimulating brain metabolism.6


Studies in animals and humans have shown that pregnenolone, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, appears to be a neuroprotectant, defending the brain from various forms of injury.39,40

It has also been found to have positive effects on mood, memory, and other aspects of cognition.7


Ashwagandha is an Indian herb, also referred to as “Indian ginseng.” It has been used in traditional Indian medicine as a nerve tonic for thousands of years.

In modern research, ashwagandha has demonstrated neuroprotective effects and improvements in mood and cognition.8,9 One study in patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment found that ashwagandha supplementation led to improvements in memory, attention, and decision making.8



Scientists have identified a unique sage extract that has a biological makeup and neuroprotective effects never seen before.

Clinical evidence demonstrates that, within just hours of ingestion, this extract increases memory performance in older adults and improves measures of attention.

This new extract was also shown to increase lifespan by 12% in an animal model of aging.

Sage offers critical protection against cognitive decline.

Taken with other neuroprotective nutrients, such as phosphatidylserine, blueberry, vinpocetine, pregnenolone, and ashwagandha, it can be part of a multivitamin for the brain.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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