A short overview of Huperzine
Brain power is a prized asset in our lives. It is what makes humans so special, giving us a very unfair advantage over other creatures. This is not an advantage anyone would want to give up any time!
However, over time, your brain power, Memory, and learning abilities do fade –and sometimes even stop altogether.
So it is not a surprise that Huperzine A is causing excitement as the compound that can make you smarter and stay smart longer and longer. From students looking to ace their exams to athletes who want to sharpen their focus in the gym to aging people facing cognitive decline, Huperzine A has received a lot of attention as a brain superfood.
But how good is this natural supplement and should you try it to enter the league of smarter people? In this article, I delve into this wonderful natural supplement and tell you if it is the best product yet for you to transform your brain power.
Commonly known as huperzine A or Selagine, Huperzine A comes from a group of related plants which include Huperzia Aqualupian, Huperzia Carinat, Huperzia Elmer and the best known of these called the Chinese firmoss Huperzia Serrata.
It belongs to a category of compounds called alkaloids.
Even though only in recent times it has created excitement among scientists as a possible cure for a range of mental diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Huperzine A has been used for centuries among the Chinese as a medicine to improve memory and fighting inflammation.
What are the benefits of Huperzine A? the benefits of Huperzine A are the following:
- Can help bodybuilders as a nootropic. This means it can elevate your focus. For this reason, it is included in many supplements to aid your Workout
- Can dramatically increase your physical power and help you to have much faster recoveries from your muscle injuries
- May help to treat Alzheimer’s disease
- Can enhance your Memory and increase your alertness
- Boost energy
- Can fight off depression
- Prevents mental decline that comes with aging. This may include Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
- Can be used to treat myasthenia gravis –this is an autoimmune disease that can cause wasting to your muscle
Huperzine A has little to no side effects as long one stick to the right dosage. It is considered a safe product and better alternative to other drugs used for the same purpose in conventional medicine
It is associated with many mild side effects as those listed below
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Loss of appetite
- The difficulty of controlling your urine
- Contraction and twitching of muscles
- Muscle cramp
- An increase in urine and saliva
- High blood pressure
- Poor sleep
Generally, these side effects occur very rarely and in just a few people. For this reason, this supplement is considered safe and is even available over the counter, sold in stacks such as Onnit Labs or Alpha |Brain.
The action of Huperzine A
To understand the action of this supplement, you need to know a bit about acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter (a messenger molecule used to signal neurons, which are your brain cells, to do something). Acetylcholine is produced by your neurons (also called nerve cells), and it is what neurons use to signal to each other.
Acetylcholine is the stuff that gives you great learning abilities, including Memory and other cognitive functions. So naturally, the more acetylcholine that is produced by your neurons, the smarter you are in terms of Memory, learning, focus, and reasoning.
Huperzine A has this amazing ability to actually raise your acetylcholine levels. How does it do this?
So far, I have only told you about acetylcholine, but you also need to know a bit about acetylcholinesterase (not the friendliest of names, I know, but stick with me!)
That’s an enzyme the body produces to act on acetylcholine specifically. Its job is to dismantle or break down acetylcholine, so you end up with less acetylcholine.
That has the undesired effect of making you a bit less smart!
Here is where Huperzine A comes in. It can act to block acetylcholinesterase, stopping it from breaking down acetylcholine.
This makes acetylcholine continually available for the neurons to tap into and enhance the brain functions.
This is how the supplement literally makes you smarter. But it does more than this because it has been linked to triggering the release of greater amounts of Nerve Growth Factor. This is a protein which your body needs to generate new nerve cells.
This benefit, called neuroplasticity, is crucial because it can be used to replace damaged nerve cells with new ones. For this reason, this supplement is being studied for its potential to treat people with declining cognitive functions. This decline often occurs because of the death and loss of neurons over time, leading to brain shrinking.
Another benefit of this supplement, very important to bodybuilders, is that it helps to improve muscle contraction.
Yet another benefit is that it can act as a brain protector.
Unlike other nootropics such as Piracetam and Aniracetam of which you need to take several grams and more potent ones like Noopept and Phenylpiracetam of which you need to take between ten to hundred milligrams, you only need to take a few micrograms of Huperzine A at any single time.
That’s because its one of the most potent nootropics you will ever find out there since it is so highly concentrated.
Note that a microgram (mcg) is 1/1000 of a milligram which gives you an idea of how incredibly powerful the supplement is.
The recommended dosage for Huperzine A varies with the goal you want. The following dosages have been studied for specific situations.
- For Dementia – take 100 mcg per day
- For Alzheimer’s disease – take between 300 and 500 mcg per day
- For boosting Memory – take 100 mcg per day
Most supplements tend to provide between 50 to 200 mcg daily and can either be taken at a single go or can be split into smaller amounts to be ingested over the day.
It is advised for you to take the supplement in smaller doses when you use it first. Therefore, you can gradually increase the dose if you don’t experience the desired effect. Continue like this until you settle to the optimum dosage for your situation.
Since it is water-soluble, you can take it on an empty stomach. It can also be cycled. The best cycle length has not been determined, but a 2 to 4-week cycle is sometimes suggested. Here, a break of one and a half weeks can be taken.
Huperzine A can be used on its own with impressive results. However, it can also be stacked with other nootropics to get even better results. These nootropics can include those of the Racetam family, or you can use other acetylcholine supplements.
Price and availability
Huperzine A comes in both tablet and powder form. The powder option allows you to buy it in bulk quantities. The tablets are usually available in 100 mcg or 200 mcg doses.
The powder form of the supplement has the advantage of being cheaper.
However, the capsule form is more convenient due to the very small doses of the supplement that is required. This makes it easy for you to use the correct dosages more precisely.
You can still go for the powder form of the supplement. But to be assured that you are using the correct dosage, use an electronic measuring scale. It should be to measure out for you at least 1/10 milligram of the supplement powder at a time.
If you want to stack several natural nootropics together, you can buy Huperzine A included already in a pre-made stack of nootropics. Such a stack can actually get you great savings.
Alpha Brain is a very popular nootropic stack that contains Huperzine A.
Who should not take huperzine
Huperzine is not recommended for the following people who already have other medical conditions like
- Heart disease
- GI blockage
- Urinary tract blockage
You should not use the supplement if you are
- Under other medications
- Are pregnant or nursing a baby
- Has some scientifically proven benefits
- Is all natural with few side effects
- More research needed into some of its abilities
- Needs no prescription
- Has some side effects
Huperzine A is a very powerful compound, but it is important to note that not enough research has been done on it. There’s much that is unknown about it, making it a product that cannot be recommended for use in the treatment of health problems.
If you consider using Huperzine A, make sure to check out with your doctor before you start using it.