- Increased focus
- Support for cognitive function
- Improved memory
Huperzine A is an extremely potent phytochemical extracted from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata. Huperzine A prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, which allows more signal transduction throughout the central nervous system and increases cholinergic tone, supports cognitive function and sharpens memory. The recommended dosage of a Huperzine A 1% extract is around 10-20mg daily. Possible side effects from excess Huperzine A may include nausea, stiff neck, sweating, slurred speech, restlessness, blurred vision, twitching and contraction of muscle fibers.
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Huperzine A reviews
“After several months of recurrent use, I find that I am able to recall information quicker. My short term memory has also improved. I can remember conversations much more clearly and communicate more concisely. I have not had any adverse side effects. One side effect worthy of mentioning is vivid dreams. Sometimes I dream vividly about something I experience during the day or it can be totally unrelated. Taking Huperzine A prior to bed does not keep me awake. What it does do is help me get restful sleep – for some reason I’m not sure of. I sleep less time yet feel energized upon waking. I don't use this everyday - mainly on days when I have extra mental tasks to complete. So far I have not noticed any tolerance. This does have a tart bitter taste to it so is best to take with juice. Dosage is small so 10 grams should last quite a while. My conclusions are this: I enjoyed this product from LiftMode, once again they delivered a quality product, it does what it says, I would recommend it to others who are looking for memory and cognition enhancement...” – Steven, LiftMode review
- Huperzine A is an extremely potent chemical extracted from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata
- Huperzine A prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, which allows more signal transduction through the central nervous system and increases energy, cognitive functions and memory
- The recommended dosage of a 1% extract is around 10-20mg daily
Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor extracted from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata and extracts of this herb have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. In Chinese medicine, Huperzia serrata extracts are generally used for treatment of headaches and fever but the specific chemical Huperzine A works to increase memory and cognitive function. This remarkable molecule prevents the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine by preventing the action of acetylcholinesterase.
Huperzine A effects / benefits
In order to understand the benefits of Huperzine A, it is useful to first understand the role of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine, a crucial naturally produced choline derivative, is one of the primary neurotransmitters in the brain. When an electrochemical signal is passed between two neurons that participate in cholinergic signalling, the synapse (the tiny space between the neurons) is filled with acetylcholine, which literally carries the signal across and allows it to propagate to the next neuron. Because of this role, acetylcholine is vital to the proper functioning of the brain and body. There are trillions of neurons in the brain and in the central nervous system (CNS), and signals must pass between these neurons continuously and in numbers that we cannot comprehend. The transmission of many of these signals is based on the presence of acetylcholine. Memory, personality, our reflexes and smooth muscle contractions are all dependent on efficient levels of acetylcholine.
Huperzine A has been shown to be a highly effective inhibitor of the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme. AChE is the enzyme that functions to break acetylcholine into choline and acetic acid, and thus reduces and regulates cholinergic neurotransmission. As a result, Huperzine A is effective in the treatment of many acetylcholine deficiency disorders as well as to promote improved cognitive function and to support memory in healthy users.
Acetylcholinesterase serves an important function in the recycling of used acetylcholine molecules. Various toxins may increase acetylcholine levels too far, resulting in dangerous effects.
However, when taken in smaller doses, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like Huperzine A are effective in improving human cognition.
The method by which Huperzine A acts is to work as a substrate for AChE, blocking it from breaking down acetylcholine as rapidly, and thereby increasing the amount of acetylcholine available for neurotransmission.
Research into potential use with Alzheimer’s Disease
There has been found to be a major link between Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and a lack of cholinergic neurotransmitters in autopsies on AD patients. It appears that levels of acetylcholine production decrease with age relative to the activity of AChE, so that less acetylcholine is available. This may be one of the factors behind the symptoms of AD.
In an 8 week double-blind placebo study on 108 people with AD, 60% of those who were given Huperzine A were shown to have improved in memory, thinking and behavioural functions, compared to 38% in the placebo group.
Another factor with memory-loss and age is that as we grow older, our ‘clean-up’ enzymes become less specific in their targets, and may break-down healthy neurotransmitters instead of old ones that needed to be recycled.
There are prescription pharmaceuticals on the market that target AChE activity, but Huperzine A has been shown to be particularly free of side effects when supplemented in correct amounts. Huperzine A does not result in the formation of toxic metabolites, unlike most chemicals used in the treatment of acetylcholine deficiency situations.
It should be noted that some studies have found no beneficial effects attributable to Huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, other studies found beneficial effects.
Improvement of memory and cognitive function
Huperzine A can be used not only for research into the treatment of medical conditions like Alzheimers, eye defects or epilepsy, but also by everyday users looking to support and boost their cognitive function. Huperzine A has been shown to increase memory in children, in a study in Japan. Over a 4 week double-blind trial, 34 pairs of children were administered Huperzine A or placebo and their MQ (a similar test to IQ – memory quotient) as well as marks in school subjects were monitored. The Huperzine group had significant increases in their MQ as well as English and Chinese marks by the end of the trial.
Huperzine A also has a much longer half-life than many of the other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors available (up to 24 hours), making it very effective for long periods of time.
Huperzine A recommended dosage
Huperzine is an extremely potent plant compound, and the recommended dosage is around 100-200mcg (micrograms) once daily. In a 1% extract, where 100mg extract contains 1mg Huperzine A, this equates to a dose of 10-20 mg 1% Huperzine A extract daily.
Huperzine A side effects
Possible side effects from excess Huperzine A use may include nausea, sweating, slurred speech, restlessness, blurred vision, twitching and contraction of muscle fibers. Levels required for toxic effects are substantially higher than the recommended serving size. However, due to the high potency of this plant extract, careful measurement using appropriate measuring equipment such as a scale with 1mg accuracy is strongly recommended when working with the 1% extract.
 “Huperzine A” NYU Langone Medical Centre Online pages, retrieved 22-12-2014
 “Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: Acetylcholine” Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors.
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 “Progress in studies of Huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine” Wang R, Yan H, Tang XC, Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jan;27(1):1-26
 “Can Huperzine A prevent memory loss and improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease?” Brent A. Bauer, M.D., mayoclinic.org, retrieved 22-12-2014
 “Huperzine A” NYU Langone Medical Centre Online pages, retrieved 22-12-2014
 “Huperzine A Influences and Improves Personality” Will Block, Life-Enhancement June 2000 magazine, retrieved 22-12-2014
 “Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students” Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ, Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3
 “Pharmacokinetics of Huperzine A following oral administration to human volunteers” Li YX, Zhang RQ, Li CR, Jiang XH, Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2007 Oct-Dec;32(4):183-7
 “Huperzine A” WebMD, accessed 22-12-2014