Huperzine A

What is Huperzine A

Huperzine A is an alkaloid extracted from a Chinese club moss (Huperzia serrata), also known as the Chinese folk medicine Qian Ceng Ta. It has traditionally been used for the treatment of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease. A number of studies show that huperzine A improves both cognitive functions and the quality of life.[1]
Huperzine-A is also known as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor meaning that it stops an enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine resulting in increases in acetylcholine. This acetylcholine is recognized as the learning neurotransmitter as well as is involved in muscle contraction. The weight-lifters and scholars frequently use such increasing levels of acetylcholine.[2]

Huperzine A Health Benefits

Huperzine A is neuroprotective. It works as a cholinesterase inhibitor – a type of medication which works by improving the levels of neurotransmitters, especially the learning neurotransmitter, acetylcholine in the brain. Actually, acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas.  Huperzine A is thought to be beneficial and effective for improving memory and protecting nerve cells, which may slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s and loss of mental abilities or dementia.[3] Huperzine A is a natural supplement which has a range of nootropic benefits and is known to improve many facets of memory function. This supplement has been used in neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. The common health benefits of Huperzine A include:Improves cognitive function [4] Enhances learning and memory [5] Helps people with Alzheimer’s disease [6][8][9][10] Increases levels of norepinephrine and dopamine[7] Improves cognition in dementia patients [11] Helps with schizophrenia spectrum disorders [12] Has neuroprotective effects [13] Has anti-inflammatory effets [14] Improves liver health [17] Alleviates oxidative stress [18]Huperzine A is also called as a study supplement. A study shows it as a memory enhancer for students. Huperzine A has been found to significantly enhance memory. It improves the students’ ability to retain and recall facts.[15] Huperzine A is mostly considered to be beneficial for problems with memory, loss of mental abilities (dementia), and the muscular disorder myasthenia gravis as it causes an increase in the levels of acetylcholine which is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas. [16]

How huperzine works?

Huperzine A enhances the levels of acetylcholine in the brain by blocking the action of cholinesterase. There is also found in it some activity as an NMDA receptor antagonist. Studies show that it promotes hippocampal neurogenesis.[19] Huperzine A is neuroprotective and a potent, highly specific and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, with comparable potency to physostigmine, galantamine, donepezil, and tacrine. It produces dose-dependent increases of norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex when administered i.p. or locally through a microdialysis probe, and has many other actions, including the ability to protect cells against hydrogen peroxide, beta-amyloid protein (or peptide), and staurosporine-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis. These protective effects are related to its ability to attenuate oxidative stress, regulate the expression of apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bax, P53, and caspase-3, protect mitochondria, upregulate nerve growth factor and its receptors, and interfere with amyloid precursor protein metabolism.

consideration and recomendation

Huperzine A is possibly safe and does not carry a large risk of side effects. However, there may be some mild side effects that include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, blurred vision, slurred speech, restlessness, loss of appetite, contraction and twitching of muscle fibers, cramping, increased saliva and urine, inability to control urination, high blood pressure, and slowed heart rate.
Avoid taking Huperzine A if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also if you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, use huperzine A with caution.[21]

Huperzine A can be taken in two different ways: either by oral ingestion or as an injection.
For injection, the healthcare providers can give you Huperzine A daily as a shot for patients who have muscle weakness caused by a disease called myasthenia gravis.
By oral ingestion, for Alzheimer’s disease and declining thinking skills due to changes in the blood vessels in the brain such as multi-infarct dementia, the recommended doses to take are 50-200 mcg of Huperzine A twice a day. The recommended dose for age-related decline in thinking skills (senile or presenile dementia) is 30 mcg twice daily. For improving memory in adolescents, the recommended dose is 100 mcg twice daily.[21]