If you’ve come to this page I’m going to take a wild guess and say you already have heard of huperzine A. As a nootropic created from the Chinese club moss Huperzia serrata, it has been used for medicinal purposes for several generations.
The main purpose of huperzine A is to help clear the mind and improve memory through various mechanisms. Its wide range of benefits serves to improve cognitive function and enhance memory making it a popular nootropic option.
Now that you’ve become a bit more familiar with huperzine A, you’re probably wondering about its effectiveness. If you question the reliability of the nootropic you aren’t alone. The good news is huperzine A comes backed by hundreds of pieces of research and clinical trials.
Although it’s a form of therapy rooted in Chinese culture, today the benefits can be seen around the world.
But just what is huperzine A and how can it fit into your life? Let’s dive deeper into the subject and take a look at one of the most popular natural based nootropics on the market.
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What is Huperzine?
Huperzine A is a substance created from a Chinese club moss plant. Although the chemical is naturally occurring in the environment, the result is a synthetic substance used for different cognitive and memory purposes.
Huperzine A falls within the nootropics class. Nootropics are a class of drugs or supplements created to improve cognitive abilities, enhance memory, spurn creativity, and increase motivation. The first ever nootropic was created by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1964.
Dr. Giurgea is credited as the creator of nootropics. As he researched new performance-enhancing supplements, he had the singular goal of creating substances to improve memory and increase learning ability. Though huperzine A has existed in Chinese medicinal culture for several centuries, it has become a more popular supplement of choice in recent generations.
What is Huperzine A Used For?
Huperzine A has a plethora of benefits ranging from treatment of serious diseases to enhancing memory function. People of all ages can benefit from the use of huperzine A.
Sold as a dietary supplement, huperzine A is used for various forms of treatment including:
- Treatment of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Improved memory
- Boosting of energy
- Improved neurotransmitter function
1. Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
One of the most common uses of huperzine A is the neuroprotective properties associated with aging. A 2012 study performed on people with mild to moderate dementia showed increased cognitive function when treated with huperzine A.
Another 2013 study on huperzine A found in participants with Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive function, daily activities, and overall functionality improved while taking the herb extract. Taken on a regular basis, huperzine A may help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
2. Improved Memory
The neuroprotective properties of huperzine A are not limited to aging individuals alone. Younger people also may benefit from the memory improving properties of huperzine as well.
In a 1999 study performed on teenage studies, huperzine was found to support improved memory and enhanced learning performance. If you are struggling with memory related issues on a daily basis, you may find that supplementing with huperzine can help you in your daily life.
3. Extra Boosts of Energy
Huperzine may improve physical and mental endurance by reducing overall fatigue. Much in the same manner as caffeine, huperzine can help to improve energy in daily routine tasks. People that take huperzine generally report increased rates of focus and energy.
If you struggle with lethargy or a lack of focus, try a daily dose of huperzine A.
4. Improved Neurotransmitter Function
Several nootropics such as huperzine help to increase neurotransmission within the brain through enhanced cognitive activity.
One of the most vital neurotransmitters is acetylcholine. A 2008 study showed huperzine to be an effective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. So what does this mean exactly? It simply means it stops enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine, therefore acetylcholine is increased.
Increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain can help a wide range of people including everyone from scholars to athletes.
Who doesn’t want to benefit from enhanced brain function? Whether you are in the office, at the gym, or just being with friends huperzine can help improve cognitive activity.
Is Huperzine A Safe?
Huperzine A is generally considered a safe herbal supplement with limited side effects. Over 20 randomized control trials showed no adverse side effects associated with Huperzine A. However, each person will respond differently to various substances.
Some of the minor side effects associated with huperzine A may include:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Uncontrolled urination
- Elevated blood pressure
Some of the more potentially serious side effects may include:
- Epilepsy: huperzine can affect the dynamics of the brain, so there is some concern it may worsen the symptoms associated with epilepsy.
- Congestion: there are some concerns huperzine may cause congestion and gastrointestinal dysfunction.
- May worsen certain conditions: conditions such as asthma or emphysema may be worsened due to increased mucus or fluid secretions.
Any potential side effects are considered to be extremely rare and typically only occur if exceeding recommended dosages. There is not enough research to determine if Huperzine A is safe for women that are pregnant, breastfeeding, or may become pregnant.
Is Huperzine A Nootropic?
Nootropics are a class of drugs or supplements designed to enhance the functionality of the brain. Due to the broad definition of the category, several different substances could be classified as nootropics.
Nootropics creator Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea gave five criteria that must be met in order for a substance to be considered a “nootropic.”
- Enhance memory and learning ability
- Help the brain function under certain conditions
- Provide neuroprotective properties of the brain
- Increase the communication channels within the brain
- Possess few or no toxic side effects
Huperzine A clearly meets all the requirements for being a nootropic and easily can be included within the category.
The brain-boosting abilities of huperzine A and its cognitive effects on memory and learning make it a perfect fit within the nootropics world. Although nootropics are a broad category of substances, huperzine appears to mark all the checkboxes for being a true nootropic.
What are the Benefits of Huperzine A?
Like other nootropics, huperzine A has a wide range of potential benefits. Huperzine A provides a range of cognitive benefits along with other secondary effects.
The most common benefits cited by huperzine A users include:
- Better memory
- Neuroprotective properties
- Sleep recovery
Although the benefits are not strictly limited to the items above, most users of huperzine A report these as the most commonly cited attributes of the substance.
1. Increase your Memory
One of the main effects of huperzine A supplementation is the activation of the neurotransmitter commonly known as acetylcholine. It inhibits cholinesterase, an enzyme that limits acetylcholine production.
Studies have shown students using huperzine A to study are able to learn material at a much faster rate compared to a control group. A 1999 study divided students into two separate groups giving one huperzine A and the other a placebo. Test scores and language scores both increased in students supplementing with huperzine A.
Increased memory function from huperzine A is not limited to students, but it can be beneficial to the aging populations as well. Across more than 20 studies, huperzine A was shown to provide improved cognitive benefits to aging populations as well.
If you or someone you know has begun to forget where they left their keys or when to pay a bill, try recommending huperzine A.
The studies on huperzine A provided similar results to other forms of psychotherapy and drugs, however, consuming a compound made from natural ingredients may be a better alternative for overall health and function.
2. Protect your Brain from Harm
One of the main differentiating features of nootropics compared to other substances is the neuroprotective benefits. Studies have reported huperzine A may reduce neuronal cell death from glutamate. As the most common neurotransmitter in the nervous system, it is responsible for 90% of the synaptic connections within the brain.
In layman’s terms, too much glutamate can damage brain cells at a neurological level leading to potential problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, autism, and ALS. By protecting the brain, huperzine A may help prevent this from happening.
3. Sleep Benefits
Certain nootropic compounds such as huperzine A may provide neuroprotective mechanisms that clean up cellular debris over time. Beta amyloid is an amino acid that can cause cellular damage in the brain over time. Huperzine A helps get rid of beta amyloid and improves mitochondrial function within the brain.
Think of huperzine A as the security guard of your brain cells. Studies show it will help provide mitochondrial protection and improved energy metabolism. As a byproduct sleep quality will be improved leading to better neuro recovery.
You protect your home, your investments, and your family. Why not protect your brain too?
How Long does Huperzine A Last?
Huperzine A may provide cognitive benefits lasting up to a full twenty-four hours. When taken, it quickly enters the blood-brain barrier causing acetylcholine synthesis within minutes of consumption. Its effects peak within an hour of ingestion.
The cognitive benefits of huperzine A last for extended periods of time, making it one of the top-ranked nootropics for elongated cognitive performance. We recommend cycling huperzine for periods of time ranging from two to four weeks.
Stacking Huperzine A to Maximize Results?
Nootropics work effectively on their own, but sometimes results are enhanced by pairing them with other substances. Huperzine A provides a range of benefits by itself but you may see additional results when taking it alongside other cognitive enhancers.
Huperzine A is sometimes paired with choline or alpha GPC as a means of enhancing memory, improving stamina, increasing energy, and providing additional neuroprotection.
Taking huperzine A with alpha GPC can increase choline levels leading to higher rates of the bioavailability of acetylcholine. The two together can help you form an effective memory and neuroprotective stack.
Another natural substance to pair with huperzine A is ginkgo biloba. A 2002 study showed it has a synergistic effect when taken alongside huperzine A. Nitric oxide is thought to cause neuronal degeneration, however, huperzine A and ginkgo biloba work together helping to prevent neurodegeneration from occurring.
Studies have shown ingredients in green tea can also help increase the effects of huperzine A. When taken together, both help to increase the bioavailability of acetylcholine. Thus, green tea may help to further enhance the overall effects of huperzine A within our bodies.
It can take a bit of experimentation, but try huperzine A in conjunction with other nootropics to discover which is the perfect stack for you.
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If you’re searching for a nootropic option that will help improve cognitive function, enhance memory, and provide neuroprotective benefits, huperzine A may be the right choice for you.
Backed by numerous clinical trials and scientific studies, it’s clear the benefits of huperzine A reach far beyond simply providing cognitive benefits. Whether you are at work, in school, or simply want to focus on the moment, huperzine A may help provide the extra boost needed to make it through your day.
If you think huperzine A may improve your work productivity or will help you enjoy time at home, be sure to give it a try. It could be the all-natural nootropic choice you’ve been searching for all along.
Ryan Rodal is an avid health and wellness enthusiast. He enjoys staying active in a variety of hobbies including weight lifting, boxing, cycling, and hiking. With over 500 publications to top named websites and supplement companies, he brings a wealth of experience on topics including health, wellness, workout routines, and supplementation. When he’s not working out, he enjoys spending time with friends and his dog. He believes health and wellness isn’t just a mindset, it’s a lifestyle choice.