Huperzine A is a powerful Nootropic substance, extracted from club moss, a Chinese plant. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medical practitioners have used Huperzine A for a long time. In ancient China, healers used Huperzine A for improving memory and to treat fever and inflammation. The FDA has not approved Huperzine A for the treatment of any ailment. It is a dietary supplement.
There is a lot of information about the effects and potential benefits of Huperzine A. Here we take a look at the Huperzine A science available today.
Studies and study formats
Scientists have conducted a large number of studies conducted on Huperzine A. We’ll present five recent human studies and meta-reviews to show you some of the research. There have actually been much more Huperzine A studies than these, most of which were animal and cell culture studies.
The best type of data for assessing the efficacy of a substance is through reviews of human clinical studies. We have included three reviews below. These compile the data from previous studies to see if there is any correlation between them.
We haven’t included any animal or cell culture studies. Cell culture studies are important in determining the biochemical mechanisms of a substance. However, they don’t tell us very much about how humans will respond to that substance. Researchers are slowly replacing animal experiments in product development due to the many pitfalls of animal models.
Human Studies and Reviews
Review of Huperzine A for cognitive performance
This 2016 review looked at the data from three clinical studies so far on using Huperzine A for major depressive disorder (MDD). Researchers are interested in the effects of Huperzine A because it works as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This means it allows more acetylcholine in your brain.
The three clinical studies were of fairly poor quality. The review found no significant improvement overall in symptoms of depression. However, patients who were treated with Huperzine A did have a significant improvement in cognitive functioning.
- Review and analysis of Huperzine A
Another Chinese review from 2016 looked into the potential of Huperzine A for improvement of cognitive impairment in people with schizophrenia. The review examined data from 12 clinical studies, with over 1100 patients.
The review found that Huperzine A outperformed its comparators on a number of outcomes. Memory tests, intelligence tests, IQ, and overall intelligence quotients all increased significantly for those using Huperzine A. The review concluded:
“HupA is an effective choice for improving cognitive function for patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. More well-designed RCTs are needed to further confirm HupA's efficacy.”
- Cognitive performance study
In one of the best-conducted studies on Huperzine A science to date, researchers tested the efficacy and safety of Huperzine A in patients with mild to moderate dementia. The study was done in China and was conducted on 78 patients.
Scientists performed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study – one of the best study designs for generating reliable data. After 12 weeks of treatment with 100 mcg Huperzine A daily, patients scored high on a number of tests. These included mini-mental state examinations, clinical dementia rating, and activities of daily living scores. The scores were significantly higher than placebo or comparators. The authors concluded:
“Huperzine A can significantly improve the cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate vascular dementia. Further, the medicament is safe.”
- Huperzine A science: effects on memory
An earlier Chinese study, from 1999, tested the effects of Huperzine A capsules on the memory and learning performance of 34 pairs of adolescent teenagers. This was a double-blind, match-pair study (fairly high quality).
Students in the experimental group were given 2 Huperzine capsules daily, each containing 50mcg of Huperzine A. The study last for 4 weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers conducted tests on memory and class scores. The experimental group had significantly higher results for both memory quotient tests and Chinese language marks.
- Review on progress in Huperzine A
A 2006 Chinese review on the progress of Huperzine A studies found that Huperzine A had lots of benefits. Scientists compared Huperzine A to three other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and found that it had better blood-brain penetration, was better absorbed, and had a longer duration than the three pharmaceutical comparators.
The review indicated that both animal and human studies have shown that Huperzine A is effective. According to this review, Huperzine A has potent neuroprotective effects and protects from oxidative stress. Phase IV clinical trials showed that Huperzine A significantly improved memory in elderly people with forgetfulness. Finally, according to the review of studies to date, Huperzine A had no unexpected toxicity.
In conclusion, there have been a large number of studies on Huperzine A. A search on Pubmed brings up 490 studies relating to Huperzine A! Scientists are now conducting more and more human studies. This allows for a much better understanding of the effects of Huperzine A.
A great way to learn about Huperzine A science is to read through meta-analyses and clinical reviews. These examine all the studies on a subject up to date and draw conclusions based on a large amount of data. While individual studies may have flaws, reviews are much more accurate because they can account for these errors in their results.
The FDA has not validated any statements supporting the efficiency of Huperzine A for improving memory or cognition. In China, scientists focus a lot on Huperzine A science for a number of benefits.
Liftmode.com does not advocate using Huperzine A for the treatment or cure of any disease, illness, or ailment. This article is here to provide information about huperzine a science findings. If you are using prescription medication or have any underlying medical conditions, please consult with your physician before using Huperzine A. We sell Huperzine A exclusively as a dietary supplement.
 Huperzine A for treatment of cognitive impairment in major depressive disorder: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, W Zheng et al., Shanghai Arch Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 25;28(2):64-71. doi: 10.11919/j.issn.1002-0829.216003
 Adjunctive huperzine A for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis, W Zheng et al., Hum Psychopharmacol. 2016 Jul;31(4):286-95. doi: 10.1002/hup.2537. Epub 2016 Jun 15
 Treatment with Huperzine A improves cognition in vascular dementia patients, ZQ Xu et al., Cell Biochem Biophys. 2012 Jan;62(1):55-8. doi: 10.1007/s12013-011-9258-5
 Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students, QQ Sun et al., Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3
 Progress in studies of huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine, R Wang et al., Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jan;27(1):1-26