1. What Is It?
Huperzine-A is a substance that is commonly found in the Chinese herb called Toothed Club Moss or scientifically known as Huperzia Serrata. Toothed Club Moss has been used in Chinese Medicine for many years with its main purpose of use being to help clear the mind. Huperzine-A is often used for the treatment of neuro-related diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory impairment and for learning enhancement.
2. What Does It Do?
Huperzine-A is an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor. As an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Huperzine-A stops a specific enzyme, cholinesterase, from breaking down Acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is used in many processes in the body. Neurotransmitters are chemical messages that are released by nerve cells to communicate signals to other cells in the body such as neurons, gland cells and muscle cells.
The effect of Huperzine-A working as an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor results in increased levels of Acetylcholine in the body and thus improved neurotransmission and both cognitive and muscular performance.
Huperzine-A has the ability to quickly and effectively cross the blood-brain barrier preventing acetylcholinesterase (AChE) from decreasing acetylcholine levels. Specifically, Huperzine-A not only stops the breakdown of Acetylcholine but also allows for a surplus of Acetylcholine above base levels which works to improves nerve and brain function and the direct signalling of muscular contractions.
As we know with supplementation and the interactions within the body, it’s never as simple as just adding more of an ingredient in and hoping for the best. The body has many mechanisms to maintain balance such as the cholinesterase enzyme that will break down levels of Acetylcholine above the base level.
Huperzine-A may help with improving memory. In a study using teenage students, a dose of 50 mcg of Huperzine-A taken twice daily for 4 weeks showed to improve several aspects of memory and learning performance in teenage students. Huperzine-A has also been researched into its ability for supporting memory and cognitive performance during aging. We know that as we age, we experience age-related neurodegenerative changes in our brain, generally with a negative decline in cognition, memory and clarity. Due to the effect of Huperzine-A in the bodies Acetylcholine pathways, it has been shown to help prevent these age-related cognitive declines.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Huperzine-A is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to its ability to help increase levels of Acetylcholine in the body through a different pathway to simply supplementing with Choline supplements. Neurodegenerative diseases, while not entirely understood, are often thought to have an interaction with Acetylcholine levels in the body as it is such a major neurotransmitter. This is why Choline supplements and other supplements that have a direct and indirect influence on the choline pathways and Acetylcholine levels are often used in the treatment of such neurodegenerative diseases.
3. How Much Do I Need To Take?
The dosing of Huperzine-A is very much application dependent. Whether it is being used to help increase focus, alertness and cognition or whether it is being used in the treatment of a neurodegenerative condition.
For general improvement in cognition, focus and mental alertness in healthy individuals a dose of anywhere from 50 – 200 mcg per serve has been shown to elicit the desired effects. With doses of 100 – 200 mcg per serve being thought to be the ideal amount to provide impressive short term benefits in concentration, focus and cognition.
In treatments of neurodegenerative conditions doses of the higher range of 100 – 200 mcg per day, and sometimes even twice a day, have been shown to have benefits against declines in cognition, memory, concentration.
Working out how much Huperzine-A you are getting in a supplement can be difficult depending on how the supplement brand has disclosed the ingredient on the nutritional panel. As Huperzine-A is often being yielded from an extract, it can be unclear how much you’re actually getting.
Here are some examples:
Huperzia Serrata Extract – Huperzine-A (not less than) – 200 mcg
This product yields 200 mcg of Huperzine-A
Huperzia Serrata Extract (stdz min 1% Huperzine-A) – 10 mg
This product yields 100 mcg of Huperzine-A
Toothed Clubmoss (std. To 1% Huperzine-A) – 5 mg
This product yields 50 mcg of Huperzine-A
Toothed Clubmoss (standardized to 1% Huperzine-A) – 100 mcg
This product yields 100 mcg of Huperzine-A
4. When Do I Take It?
Typically Huperzine-A will be used in formulas such as Pre-Workouts, Fat-Burners and Nootropics. Supplementing with Huperzine-A before any kind of task that requires cognition or any form of exercise will benefit from supplementation of Huperzine-A.
Times to supplement with Huperzine-A:
First Thing In The Morning
Midday / Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
Before Any Cognitive Task
5. How Long Does It Take To Work?
Huperzine-A crosses the blood-brain barrier very quickly and starts working as soon as it enters the bloodstream, which is typically 15 – 20 minutes after consumption. Increased mental clarity, mental alertness, cognitive function, focusing ability and improved mood can all be experienced from a single serve of Huperzine-A when dosed appropriately.
Consistent supplementation will yield the best results especially in regards to the neuroprotective benefits of Huperzine-A. Single, once-off doses are still very effective for cognitive enhancement and can be utilised when needed.
Used in combination with a Choline supplement will yield the best results for both long term and instant improvements in all the desired effects.
6. What Are The Top Products?
The top products containing Huperzine-A are:
De Novo Nutrition Utopia
Primeval Labs Mega Pre Black