Huperzine A Benefits That Can Help To Treat Multiple Conditions
The wide range of Huperzine A benefits makes the dietary supplement popular among adults who want to enjoy enhanced mental health through nutritional supplementation.
The alkaloid compound itself is extracted from the Chinese club moss (Huperzia Serrata), which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries although it was only identified in the 1980s.
The benefits from its regular and proper use range from increased memory and cognitive function to decreased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and inflammation.
But like all dietary supplements based on plant extracts, interested individuals are well-advised to gather as much reliable information as possible about Huperzine A – its source, benefits, and side effects, as well as dosage and stacking.
Keep in mind that while Huperzine A supplements have their benefits, these can also become unsafe and ineffective if misused or abused.
What Is Huperzine A?
Huperzine A, also known as selagine, is purified from the Chinese club moss, as previously mentioned. But the manufacturers of Huperzine A dietary supplements actually synthesize it in the laboratory (i.e., lab manipulation) so much so that it is considered a highly purified drug. This means that it contains a few chemical ingredients, in stark contrast with herbs that contain hundreds.
Emphasis must be made that Huperzine A isn’t related to other drugs with similar-sounding names. These include Selegiline (Eldepryl), Huperizine A (Cerebra), Citalopram (Celexa), Celecoxib (Celebrex), and Fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), all of which have different benefits and side effects than Huperzine A.
How Does It Work?
Huperzine A dietary supplements are used to fight the effects of memory issues, myasthenia gravis, and loss of mental abilities including dementia, to name a few. Such benefits come from the active and abundant presence of certain chemicals in the purified drug, as discussed below.
It Is A Cholinesterase Inhibitor:
This means that Huperzine A increases the acetylcholine level in the brain. Acetylcholine is a chemical used as a transmitter between neurons (i.e., neurotransmitter) that, in turn, plays crucial roles in the transmission of signals related the encryption, storage, and retrieval of memory.
Scientists have also discovered the importance of acetylcholine in the creation of new memories, partly by increasing the scope of neurotransmission to the brain’s cortex.
Acetylcholine also suppresses glutamate release thus decreasing feedback excitation in the cortex and increasing the response of the cortical circuits. Basically, the brain responds faster to the relevant sensory stimuli from the environment so there’s faster retrieval of stored memory.
The effect of Huperzine A on the neurotransmitter is similar to the effect of other drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, four of the five FDA-approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease treatment are cholinesterase inhibitors, just as Huperzine A is!
But Huperzine A has an advantage over these drugs. The cholinesterase inhibitors in these prescription medications can cause severe side effects, especially in the muscles, lungs and digestive tract, because these interact with other parts of the body. In contrast, Huperzine A only interacts with brain cholinesterase only so the side effects are minimal, as well as being easier to purchase and easier on the pocket.
Aside from being a cholinesterase inhibitor, Huperzine A also has neuroprotective property, which means it provides protection for neurons against the damage caused by peroxides, glutamate, and beta-amyloid.
It Is An Acetylcholinesterase (ACHE) Inhibitor:
Huperzine A is a powerful but reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (ACHE), an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. When it prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, it enhances memory capacity. The alkaloid compound binds to ACHE thus its inhibiting property although its structure isn’t similar to acetylcholine.
The alkaloid compound also works in similar ways to tacrine, rivastigmine, and donepezil, among other Alzheimer’s drugs, but with better pharmacokinetics and fewer side effects. It also aids in the reduction of inflammation through the decrease of activities of NF-kB transmission.
It Changes The Level of Neurotransmitters:
Aside from acetylcholine, Huperzine A also increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain although it doesn’t change the level of serotonin.
In laboratory studies, Huperzine A can cross the blood-brain brain as well as readily available for distribution throughout the brain, particularly in the hippocampus, cortex, and nucleus accumbens.
When ingested orally as a dietary supplement, it is absorbed quickly by the body and distributed widely at a moderate rate. But Huperzine A is also excreted by the body, mainly via the urine, so there’s little risk of overdoses for as long the recommended dosage is followed.
Huperzine A Benefits:
The Huperzine A benefits have been extensively studied by researchers thus allowing consumers to enjoy its safe and effective use as a dietary supplement. Based on the abovementioned discussion on how it works, the most common applications include the following.
1. As A Memory Enhancer :
Huperzine A is usually used by adults and teenagers as a memory enhancer, particularly in the improvement of the storage and retrieval of memory. Most use it while learning new material, studying for exams, and even competing for memory challenges, as well as a daily supplement to decrease the effects of age-related memory issues (i.e., forgetfulness).
The supplement is best used daily for effective results, especially as the brain and body will require a few weeks for its efficient absorption and distribution.
In a study conducted among students, they underwent an initial memory test followed by the intake of either Huperzine A or a placebo for four weeks. After the four-week period, they underwent the memory test as well as exams in math and language that covered their school lessons.
The students who received regular doses of Huperzine A were found to have significant increase their memory capacity, particularly in their ability to store and retrieve information.
They also reported a considerable increase in their language tests in comparison with the students who were given the placebo. But Huperzine A didn’t improve their understanding of the mathematical concepts.
2. For Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia:
Some studies also suggest that Huperzine A may improve mental function, memory capacity, and overall behavior in people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In one study, patients who received up to eight weeks of the memory enhancer were reported to experience these benefits although the effects of long-term use aren't known yet.
In a systematic review of 20 controlled clinical trials, researchers concluded that Huperzine A may have beneficial effects on daily living activity and cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
In another systematic review of Alzheimer’s disease interventions, Huperzine A was found to have a statistically significant effect in the mitigation of cognitive decline in comparison with other interventions.
These effects may be due to two properties of Huperzine A. First, it decreases the inflammatory response initiated by amyloid beta that, in turn, can prevent apoptosis.
Second, it decreases the NF-kb pathway in the brain’s immune cells suggesting a further reduction in inflammation. In both mechanisms of action, the decreased inflammation in the brain improves the symptoms associated with the disease.
3. As A Neuroprotective Supplement:
Huperzine A has several effects on the brain’s mechanism that makes it among the effective neuroprotective supplements. First, it protects against the damage caused by toxic organophosphates, which are irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. It can then be used in the prevention of soman-induced nervous system dysfunction and seizures.
Second, it protects neurons from the damaging effects of glutamate toxicity. As an NMDA receptor antagonist, it prevents neurons from premature cell death due to high levels of glutamate. By the way, glutamate is an amino acid neurotransmitter with the capacity to kill mature neurons via the over-stimulation of NMDA receptors.
Third, it can decrease oxidative damage to the brain due to iron overload and glutamate toxicity. While oxidative damage is an inevitable part of the aging process, it can be decreased in scope with the use of Huperzine A supplements.
4. Aids in Faster Recovery from Injuries to The Brain and Spinal Cord:
Huperzine A appears to aid in the increase of blood flow in the brain thus in the improvement of cognitive function, according to a study of retired National Football Association (NFL) players with concussions.
But it was also combined with other brain-friendly substances, such as alpha lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, and N-Acetylcysteine, from sources like fish oil and multivitamins.
Laboratory studies also suggest that Huperzine A aids in recovery from bleeding in the brain, spinal cord trauma, and damage caused by severe bacterial infections in the brain. These effects seem to stem from the alkaloid compound’s ability to decrease inflammation and increase the cholinergic neurons’ functions.
5. Aids in Reduced Symptoms of Depression:
Huperzine A may also be used as an adjunct treatment for depression, particularly in the improvement of the cognitive function among patients. But it doesn’t treat depression by itself so there’s a need for medications, such as antidepressants, and psychotherapy along with Huperzine A supplementation.
6. As an Adjunct Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis:
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease characterized by the body’s immune system attacking acetylcholine receptors so there’s reduced muscle strength, among other issues.
The treatment usually includes acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and immunosuppressants while Huperzine A can be used as adjunct treatment, with the approval of a qualified doctor. In a clinical study with 128 participants, the alkaloid compound helped patients with muscle weakness.
7. Promotes Liver Health:
Huperzine A also promotes liver health in general and protects liver damage caused by a prolonged period of deoxygenation, such as after an organ transplant.
Suffice it to say that Huperzine A isn’t just a memory enhancer although it’s the primary reason for its popularity. When taken according to the manufacturer’s recommended dosage, it provides a wide range of physical and mental benefits.
What Are Its Side Effects?
But there are also Huperzine A side effects that every consumer should know so that it will not be misused and abused in any way. These include:
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about who can take Huperzine A and who cannot. In general, relatively healthy adults can take Huperzine A supplements for a short period of time, usually less than three months.
But children should take it in an even shorter period, typically in less than a month, because of the possible side effects. Pregnant women and lactating mothers are well-advised to avoid taking Huperzine A since there aren’t sufficient studies about its safety among them. In both populations, it’s always best to stay on the safe side.
If you have recurring health issues and/or underlying medical conditions, you should seek your doctor’s advice first before taking any dietary supplement including Huperzine A. While it’s generally safe, it can also have adverse drug interactions, such as lessening the efficacy of certain drugs used in the treatment of underlying medical conditions.
What Is Safe and Effective Huperzine A Dosage?
The Huperzine A dosage depends on two factors, namely, the manner of administration and the type of condition being treated.
The dosage will depend on the type of condition for which Huperzine A is being taken, either on its own or as an adjunct treatment. For people with declining cognitive skills due to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, the recommended dosage is 50-200 mcg twice a day.
For age-related decline in cognitive skills, such as in presenile and senile dementia, a lower dose of 30 mcg will suffice. For memory enhancement purposes, especially in adolescents, 100 mcg twice every day is recommended.
This method of administration is recommended for people with myasthenia gravis. The recommended dose differs on the person’s unique condition although the injection is given as a daily shot.
Huperzine A can also be combined with other dietary supplements, known as stacking, such as a choline supplement. You may also use it along with other nootropic brain-boosters for better results.
Where to Buy It?
If you want to buy Huperzine A, be sure to check the labels first. You must ensure that the ingredients contain active Huperzine A. Beware of supplements that list the total quantity of plant extract in every serving since it may not be as effective as expected.
You should also read several Huperzine A reviews so that you have a better idea of the most effective brands available. You will also gain information about the reliable online shops and brick-and-mortar stores that sell authentic Huperzine A supplements. You can also try Onnit Alpha Brain, it has right amount of Huperzine A in it.
Now that you know the truly wonderful Huperzine A benefits, you should seriously consider buying the best now! While you may have to wait for a couple of weeks for noticeable effects, your wait will not be in vain because these benefits will have a positive impact on your life.