Tropoflavin probably isn’t a nootropic compound a lot of people have even heard of. That said, we’ve seen a lot more discussion about tropoflavin in nootropics groups and forums in recent months, so it is worth taking a closer look at the compound. Some people have claimed that it is one of the best nootropics for BDNF, while others have suggested it is a good alternative to Noopept, Piracetam and similar study drugs.
In this article, we’re going to investigate the uses, benefits, negative side effects, and ways to use Tropoflavin for cognitive enhancement. We will also look at some reviews of Tropoflavin from uses as well as the clinical evidence. If you have used Tropoflavin in the past, please share your experiences in the comments.
What is Tropoflavin?
Tropoflavin, or 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, is a plant-derived molecule that may mimic the effects of BDNF, an important molecule found in your brain and central nervous system.
As of this publication, most of the promising evidence for tropoflavin is from animal studies. There have been no human studies on tropoflavin.
Given the current scientific interest in the compound, it is likely that human trials will be conducted in the near future. Future studies could produce results similar to those obtained using animals. However, they may also reveal unexpected and new results.
Early evidence suggests that the potential benefits could include:
- Memory support
- Brain cells protection
- Preservation of brain function
- Balanced mood and many more
What Is 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone?
7,8-dihydroxyflavone (also called tropoflavin) is a naturally occurring flavonoid that is being investigated in scientific studies. It may be able mimic the effects of BDNF.
Flavonoids are a group of polyphenol anti-oxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables. A 2016 study published in Journal of Nutritional Science found that flavonoids have a number of health benefits.
Scientists can isolate specific flavonoids from plants like 7,8 DHF to study their effects on the body.  Taking a closer look at individual compounds allows you to consume higher levels of each flavonoids in dietary supplements than is normal, even if your diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and vegetables.
Researchers believe that 7,8-dihydroxyflavone may mimic the effects of BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). 
It’s important to remember why 7,8-DHF is such a fascinating compound in research.
Scientists believe that BDNF expression plays an important role in brain health, disease and aging. Increasing BDNF levels might help support cognitive function, as well as the brain’s ability to heal, create new neurons and make synaptic connections.
Researchers also studied the effects of administering BDNF to people who were not in the body. The results were disappointing. BDNF has a short half-life and doesn’t circulate through the body. 
Scientists began to search for molecules that had similar effects to BDNF, but with better administration properties and a longer half-life.
Tropoflavin is an example of such a molecule. One such molecule is Tropoflavin.
How does Tropoflavin work?
The majority of studies on tropoflavin assume that its effects are mediated by the TrkB pathway.  But some evidence suggests that effects can occur without the TrkB pathway.  How to pronounce TrkB:
According to a 2013 paper published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, TrkB signalling “is indispensable for the survival and development of several subtypes of neuron in the nervous systems”. Because tropoflavin’s effects resemble those of BDNF, it is possible that TrkB signalling may be involved.
Tropoflavin can also have other effects that are not related to TrkB pathways. For instance, a 2011 study showed that tropoflavin protects a cell line from glutamate toxicity. However, because it did not contain any TrkB receptors the researchers concluded that the antioxidant properties of tropoflavin were the most likely cause.
A few scientists have recently raised doubts about whether tropoflavin binds to TrkB.  This reasoning assumes that all benefits from 7,8-DHF are achieved through different pathways, which don’t exactly resemble the BDNF’s mechanisms of action.
It is possible that tropoflavin triggers TrkB signaling via a non-receptor pathway or that all its effects can be attributed to its antioxidant properties. 
What Is 4′-Dimethylamino-7,8-dihydroxyflavone (Eutropoflavin)?
4′-Dimethylamino-7,8-dihydroxyflavone (4’DMA-7,8-DHF), also called eutropoflavin or R13, is a synthetic analog of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone that is structurally modified for a longer circulating half-life and greater potency.
Although the chemical formulas of both compounds are similar, there are not many studies on 4’DMA-7.8-DHF. The research team who developed it believes that 4’DMA-7.8-DHF is a precursor to 7,8-DHF and converts into 7,8 DHF in circulation. 
Evidence suggests that 4’DMA-7.8-DHF,7-DHF and 7,8 DHF operate through similar pathways and produce similar effects. There are currently no human studies on 4’DMA-7.8-DHF.
Tropoflavin’s Potential Benefits and Effects
What are the benefits of using Tropoflavin? How does it benefit cognitive performance?
Here are the main benefits of Tropoflavin:
- Memory and Cognitive Support
- A balanced mood
- Energy Production
- Neuroprotection & Neuroplasticity
- Antioxidant Effects
- Production Nrf2
- Support for Gut Bacteria
We’ll now go through the main reported benefits of taking Selank in a little more detail.
Tropoflavin may support memory and cognitive function
A 2018 rodent study found that 7,8-DHF administration “activated the BDNF–TrkB system” and “can improve basic behavioral tasks including object recognition memory.”  This is a measure of spatial learning’s connections.
Another 2012 study showed that 7,8-dihydroxyflavone can rescue spatial memory and synaptic flexibility in rats suffering from cognitive impairments due to aging.
Tropoflavin may support a balanced mood
A 2016 study found that tropoflavin supported a balanced mood among rats subject to chronic mild stress.
Research suggests that tropoflavin may be able to support adaptive emotional learning.  (34)
Tropoflavin May Support Energy Production
In 2018, a mouse study showed that tropoflavin treatment increased cell respiration (the creation of and use of energy within cells).  This resulted in a reduction in body weight and a reversed marker of poor metabolic health.
Tropoflavin may support neuroprotection as well as neuroplasticity
Tropoflavin could act as a BDNF-mimetic. This means that it may have similar effects to BDNF. 
Researchers are looking into tropoflavin’s potential uses in traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.  
Since animal research has been conducted to date, it is not yet possible to predict whether the potential benefits of these benefits will be applicable to humans.
Tropoflavin may act as an antioxidant
Tropoflavin, like all flavonoids  Antoxidants prevent oxidation and oxygenative stress. These are the processes that cause the loss of electrons and create harmful free radicals within the body.
In vitro cell research in 2011 found that tropoflavin was an antioxidant that protected brain cells from damage. It also increased the levels of cellular glutathione and decreased the production reactive oxygen substances (ROS).
7,8-Dihydroxyflavone May Support Nrf2 Production
A 2015 in vitro study concluded that tropoflavin “augments cellular antioxidant defense capability through activation of Nrf-2/HO-1 pathways”. 
Curcumin and other flavonoids such as curcumin also seem to provide neuroprotective benefits through the Nrf2 pathway.
Supporting a balanced microbiome with 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone
In a study published in 2021 in the journal Nutrients, beneficial metabolic effects of tropoflavin on female mice were linked to an increase in diversity of gut bacteria and reduced populations of pro-inflammatory species thought to cause obesity, particularly Desulfovibrionaceae.
According to a 2020 paper about flavonoids, they and their metabolites can “can shape gut microbiota”  Flavonoids (and other polyphenols, in other words) can be prebiotics.
Tropoflavin Side Effects and Safety
At this point, there are no human studies on tropoflavin. Like most side effects and safety information for tropoflavin it is based on animal models.
Based on current scientific evidence, there is a low chance of adverse reactions to tropoflavin.
In a 2018 paper, the authors of the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences refer to the safety profile of tropoflavin “favorable”. 
Scientific Reports published a 2016 study that concluded that 7-DHF oral administration is safe for monkeys.  After seven months, the study showed no evidence of toxic effects at 30 mg per kilogram. This would be equivalent to 9.72 mg/kg for humans, taking into account species differences in body area.
An in vitro experiment showed that 7,8-DHF enhanced epilepsy-like electrical activity by stimulating brain slices.  However, it did not cause seizures-like activity but increased discharge activity related to seizures. People with epilepsy and seizure disorders should be cautious when approaching 7,8-DHF.
Prescription drugs may interact with tropoflavin. It reacts with many other compounds and molecules, just like other flavonoids. Evidence suggests that 7,8 DHF could alter the actions of CYP450 liver enzymes. It is possible that 7,8-DHF may alter the action of CYP450 liver enzymes.
Before you start taking any dietary supplements, consult your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone (Tropoflavin)
Is Tropoflavin a Nootropic?
Nootropics, also called smart drugs, are compounds or supplements that support cognitive performance or brain function.Preliminary evidence in animal studies suggests, but does not prove, that 7,8-dihydroxyflavone has nootropic activity+. It is impossible to know for sure without human trials.
What is the difference between Tropoflavin & BDNF?
Tropoflavin is not produced by the body, although it produces BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Tropoflavin can only be found in certain plant species. Tropoflavin is only found in a few plant species.
According to a 2017 paper in Neural Research, Tropoflavin has a shorter half-life than BDNF and has a smaller molecular size. It can penetrate the blood-brain barrier which makes it feasible for non-invasive clinical applications+.
Does Tropoflavin Support Weight Loss?
A 2015 study showed that tropoflavin, or 7,8dihydroxyflavone, may support weight reduction.  Scientists discovered that 7,8-DHF only boosted metabolism and reduced fat in female rats. These findings, like other effects of 7,8 DHF, may not be applicable to humans.
Other preliminary evidence suggests that tropoflavin may support weight loss by supporting gut bacteria or by supporting the function of mitochondria+.
Is Tropoflavin a Hormone that Causes Hair Loss or Supports Hair Growth?
Tropoflavin does not appear to have any effect on hair loss or hair growth. But, a 1999 paper in an experimental biology journal speculated that BDNF and other compounds that stimulate brain cell growth might play a role in controlling hair growth based on data from rodents+.According to a 2017 paper, Japanese researchers discovered that bioactive compounds in Panax ginseng (Asian or Korean ginseng) may inhibit the ability of BDNF from binding to the TrkB receptors of hair follicles, which could be helpful for people with hair loss+.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.