RSS Feed Print
Magnolia Bark Extract, Ashwagandha, Arginine and Ornithine
Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2019 12:29 PM
Joined: 12/17/2018
Posts: 286

I regularly post on the Caregivers forum but thought I should post this here as well for anyone looking for information.

I was having an issue with my mother's facility giving her supplements (it got sorted out) and that discussion led to talk on what I give her.

She is now in Stage 6 and I find she is more sensitive to everything so her supplements have been reduced to accommodate that.  She used to take A LOT!  But what she is on now is helping tremendously and I'm so happy to have found what works to support her emotional climate.

The anti-depressants we tried for my mother's anxiety caused agitation and even hallucinations.  It was a very difficult time.  Even Aricept caused agitation.

I started adapting her supplements to give the outcome she needed - low dopamine, low serotonin and low adrenaline.

She takes essentially 5 supplements that target her Alzheimer's.

1)  Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer

2)  Arginine

3)  Ornithine

4)  Ashwagandha

5)  Magnolia Bark Extract


1)  The Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer she takes is from Life Extension.  It helps with clarity.

She started out taking 4 per day and that was reduced to 2 per day last year.  She can now only take 1 per day.  More than that now causes increased agitation.  But that one pill increases her cognition while maintaining calmness.

2) 3)  The Arginine and Ornithine decrease excess brain ammonia.  Hyperammonemia and release of ammonia from the brains of Alzheimer's patients is well supported by published observations.  

The 2 supplements that have had the most profound effect have been a God send.  

4)  The first is Ashwagandha.  She takes 1 pill at noon.  She used to take 2 per day.  It is calming yet it supports a positive mood.  She has been taking this one for years.  It was the first supplement that made a noticeable difference. 

This is the one I buy.  It's one of the best:



  • increases cholineacetyltransferase which increases acetylcholine synthesis
  • lowers cortisol
  • activatea GABA-A receptors.
  • improves energy levels and mitochondrial health
  • is a powerful adaptogenic herb which enhances the body’s resilience to stress (makes you more calm, less likely to get angry or frustrated
  • has a calming (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressing effect 
  • has cognition promoting effects 
  • promotes better sleep (A)

A top Harvard AD researcher Dr. Rudy Tanzi takes Ashwagandha:

"The only supplement I take is called ashwagandha, which has anti-amyloid effects."

5)  Magnolia Extract:

Mom gets 2 Magnolia Extract  (200mg. per dose) per day.  One after lunch and one after supper.  

She used to get just one after supper.  Here's what's interesting... we just moved Mom into MC a few weeks ago.  I didn't want her to be anxious so I started giving her another Magnolia extract pill after lunch.  What I noticed was that she became more cognizant.  She remembered more which made her less anxious.  So we've continued with 2 Magnolia per day.  Definitely more smiles and less anxiety with the 2 pills per day.  

Here's some cut and paste info:


  • An adrenaline inhibitor. 
  • increases GABA activity which promotes relaxation and sleep. 
  • Alleviates stress and anxiety. One study indicates that one of the active compounds in magnolia bark—honokiol—works as effectively as the drug diazepam without the risks of dependency or side effects such as brain fog and muscle weakness.
  • Brain health. Research in mice suggests bioactive compounds in magnolia bark may help reduce a form of brain cell death that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Other research in mice shows magnolia bark’s bioactive compounds can help maintain levels of acetylcholine. In a study of mice with Alzheimer’s, the mice that were treated with magnolia bark extract experienced rebounds to memory and reductions in the type of brain plaque linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  


For general health, sleep, stress: Typical magnolia bark supplement doses are 200-400mg. 


"I am a big fan of magnolia for sleep," says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a board-certified sleep specialist. "It works as an anxiety reducer, and several of my patients have commented to me that it helps them 'turn off their brain.'" 


Magnolia bark extract has powerful stress busting effects, largely due to “honokiol”. It works similarly to prescription medications like alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan). Both magnolia and prescription sedatives work by increasing levels of GABA, a relaxing hormone that helps calm and soothe an overactive brain. The difference is that honokiol is picky and works in specific areas of the brain (raising GABA). The net effect is relaxation. Prescription drugs affect GABA receptors throughout your entire body, causing systemic side effects such morning hangover effect, muscle weakness, daytime fatigue and more. Magnolia, being more selective, should not produce these problems, and should not make you feel doped up.

The biggest deal to me, as a pharmacist is that studies published in the Journal of Pharmacology have shown that honokiol induces a specific stress-relieving effect and is less likely to cause “motor dysfunction” as well as sedation as compared to medicine.  The best part is that withdrawal symptoms are absent in people who discontinue magnolia bark. I recommend “Magnolia Extract” by either Nutricology or Allergy Research Group.

Numerous other studies and literature reviews have outlined honokiol’s neurological benefits. For neurological protection, honokiol may be superior to other antioxidants, as research suggests that honokiol enhances the function of GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase), thus possibly aiding in the shift from glutamic acid to GABA.  While essential for brain function in normal amounts, excess glutamic acid is considered a neurodegenerative agent implicated in Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.  

Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, May 6, 2019 1:46 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5027

Thank you for posting this quite valuable information on the clinical trial forum.  

The idea that there is nothing you can do for Alzheimer's disease (and for other forms of dementia) has become engrained in our minds.  Certain compounds especially certain plant compounds can help with various aspects of dementia, though.  From the outside better sleep and less anxiety may seem like a relatively small thing but from the inside it is huge.

Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 6:56 PM
Joined: 11/19/2015
Posts: 1004

Appreciate your information and I will look into it for my husband!