Huperzine-A is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the plant Huperzia serrata, also known as Chinese Club Moss. Huperzine-A has been used for many years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many different conditions including swelling, fever, and schizophrenia. As a supplement, Huperzine-A is often used to enhance memory, focus, and learning ability. Huperzine-A may be of benefit to students and in treating age-related cognitive decline.
Huperzine-A is an inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Huperzine-A is able to cross the blood-brain barrier so that it can exert its effects in the brain. In addition to its effects on acetylcholine levels, huperzine-A may also increase nerve growth factor (an protein that is important for the growth and sustenance of nerve cells), however more research is definitely needed on this topic. Anecdotal evidence has supported the brain-boosting effects of huperzine-A, with users both young and old reporting increased mental clarity and memory. Huperzine-A shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and functions similarly to certain drugs used to treat cognitive decline.
The dosages of huperzine-A used in studies were in the range of about 50-200 mcg/day. This is an effective dosage range but it is not uncommon for users to take a slightly higher daily dosage. Huperzine-A should be taken in split doses, usually two to three daily doses taken with meals.
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