Pyroglutamate is an amino acid naturally found in vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat. It is also normally present in large amounts in the human brain, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood. After oral administration, pyroglutamate passes into the brain through the blood-brain barriers and helps stimulate cognitive functions. Pyroglutamate improves memory and learning in rats, and has anti-anxiety effects in rats.
Pyroglutamate has also been shown to be effective in alcohol-induced memory deficits in humans2, and more recently, in people affected with multi-infarct dementia3. In these patients, the administration of pyroglutamate brought about a significant increase of attention and an improvement on psychological tests investigating short-term retrieval, long-term retrieval, and long-term storage of memory. A statistically significant improvement was observed also in the consolidation of memory.
In human subjects, pyroglutamate was compared with a placebo in a randomized double-blind trial for assessing its efficacy in treating memory deficits in 40 aged subjects. Twenty subjects were treated with pyroglutamate and 20 with a placebo over a period of 60 days. Memory functions were evaluated at baseline and after 60 days of treatment by means of a battery made up of six memory tasks. The results show that pyroglutamate is effective in improving verbal memory functions in subjects affected by age-related memory decline.
In Italy, arginine pyroglutamate is used to treat senility, mental retardation, and alcoholism. Arginine pyroglutamate is simply an arginine molecule combined with a pyroglutamate molecule. Arginine alone does not produce cognitive enhancing effects. It is likely that pyroglutamate is the active ingredient of arginine pyroglutamate.
No serious adverse effects from the use of pyroglutamate, or from the use of arginine pyroglutamate, have been reported. Arginine and pyroglutamate are amino acids found commonly in natural foods and consumed by most people on a daily basis.