Q Dear Dr. V,
Can I take Bacopa with food? I have an iron stomach. I don't think the Bacopa will upset it.
A Dear VH,
Bacopa is an herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its brain-enhancing characteristics. It has multiple health benefits besides faster learning and improved memory. It reduces anxiety and blood pressure, acts as an antioxidant, and has been shown to be helpful for attention-deficit disorder (ADD) in children.
Usually, when an item tends to be difficult on the stomach it is recommended to be taken with food to prevent or lessen discomfort. The recommendation to take Bacopaon an empty stomach rather than with food is probably a matter of absorption rather than one of a sturdy stomach.
Studies using Bacopa have been done with subjects when their stomachs were essentially empty (before breakfast), with successful results.1,2 There are no studies that I can find in which Bacopa was given with food or meals. There would be no harm in taking it with food, but would it be as effective that way as on an empty stomach? We simply don't know.
Your best bet is to take Bacopa on an empty stomach, because that is known to work well. However, some supplements, such as vinpocetine, are better absorbed with food than without. The variability of absorption of Bacopa with or without food may not be that great, but only well-conducted studies will tell.