For years, science has been on the forefront of supplements for self-improvement. All it takes is a quick stroll through your local drug store to see aisle after aisle overflowing with dietary supplements. Products ranging from weight loss to muscle growth, there’s no shortage of options. Only recently has the trend shifted from bodybuilding and fitness to brain boosting supplements. Smart drugs, also known as nootropics, have become all the rage since 2011 Hollywood blockbuster movie, Limitless, went mainstream. Of course, NZT-48 is fictional, and there are no magic pills that turn you into an overnight millionaire.
However, there are plenty of all-natural supplements that can help optimize brain function. If you’re reading this Huperzine A review, then you’re probably already familiar with nootropics. If not, think of nootropics as food for your brain. When we provide our brains with proper nutrition, it can function at peak performance. One such supplement is Huperzine A, sometimes referred to as selagine. In this review, we will cover the Huperzine A benefits, dosage recommendations, side effects, the drugs half-life, and its effect on bodybuilding, memory, and age-related cognitive decline.
What is Huperzine A?
What is Huperzine A? Huperzine A is an herbal alkaloid compound extracted and purified from the Huperziaceae family of plants. Specifically, from firmoss Huperzia Serrata, or Chinese Club Moss. Plant families Lycopodiaceae and Selaginella also contain Huperzine A, but it is more common in the Huperziaceae family. In Chinese medicine, Huperzine A is traditionally used to treat inflammation, fever, and even schizophrenia. This nootropic has been used as an all-natural remedy in China for centuries. It is famous for its cognitive enhancement effects and its actions as a neuroprotectant.
Huperzine A works similarly to many traditional FDA-approved Alzheimer’s medications such as Rivastigmine, Galantamine, Donepezil, and Tacrine. It does so as a natural nootropic agent with far fewer side effects than its prescription counterparts. The all-natural composition and lack of adverse side effects make Huperzine A an excellent alternative to commonly prescribed drugs used to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Huperzine A is also an effective natural ADHD alternative to Adderall if you’re trying to avoid the side effects of amphetamines.
Huperzine A is known as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) belonging to the cholinergic molecule class. In other words, Huperzine A prevents enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. The enzyme in question is the G4 isoform of acetylcholinesterase which is an abundant substance in mammalian brains. Therefore, Huperzine A’s inhibition of AChE allows more acetylcholine to build up in the brain.
Why is Acetylcholine Important?
Acetylcholine is known as the learning neurotransmitter linked directly to memory and one’s ability to retain newly learned information. Acetylcholine also plays a significant role in muscle contraction leading to improvements in physical performance and reaction time.
Many people are deficient in acetylcholine due to dietary restrictions or poor diets in general. Those who neglect essential choline sources in their diets (eggs, broccoli, poultry, fish, liver, etc.) may find it difficult to study or learn without turning to choline supplementation. By raising the amount of available acetylcholine in your brain, we increase our brain’s capacity to memorize and retain information through enhanced neurotransmission. Improved memory retrieval is just one of the many benefits of Huperzine A. Huperzine A has also demonstrated significant neuroprotective and memory enhancement properties in both human and animal trials.
Huperzine A Benefits
We know that Huperzine A is a potent nootropic highly capable of boosting memory and learning in an individual. However, this all natural brain supplement is capable of much more. Studies have confirmed the following cognitive enhancement and overall health benefits of Huperzine A:
Reduces brain fog and enhances mental precision
Enhanced physical and mental endurance and overall fatigue reduction
Improved physical power output during exercise and quicker recovery following overexertion
Enhanced human growth hormone (HGH) production in young healthy adults
Improved fat oxidation in all age ranges
Significant improvements in mood without negatively impacting sleep or causing restlessness
Provides neuroprotection to help prevent age-related cognitive decline
Promotes nervous tissue growth and development through neurogenesis
Can improve and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions
Boosts focus and concentration and overall cognitive function
Most of the Huperzine A benefits result from the increased acetylcholine production following supplementation. It is not only a powerful nootropic but an excellent choice for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. The mood enhancement effects arise from the subsequent increase in norepinephrine and dopamine levels. All of the benefits listed above are great. However, Huperzine A is best known for its ability to protect the brain.
Brain Repair and Neuroprotection
As a brain protectant, Huperzine A performs several vital functions that allow acetylcholine levels to increase. Once increased, it begins to shield your brain from oxidative damage and other common causes of neuronal cell death. Huperzine A (a NMDA receptor antagonist) prevents glutamate toxicity from damaging neurons. Amino acid glutamate is known for its overstimulation of NMDA receptors, which in turn causes damage to neurons. Huperzine A prevents this type of impairment from occurring. This nootropic also prevents iron and glutamate-induced oxidative damage by activating mTOR and BDNF-dependent signaling pathways.
Besides neuroprotection, Huperzine A can also assist with injury recovery and symptom reduction. Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, epileptic seizures, traumatic brain injuries and other types of brain damage benefit from Huperzine A supplementation. When stacked with other nootropics like Alpha GPC, Fish Oil, Vinpocetine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine or Phosphatidylserine supplements, Huperzine A can even help reduce concussion-related symptoms and promote healing. The anti-inflammatory and cholinergic properties make Huperzine A superlative for brain repair.
Huperzine A Dosage
The Huperzine A dosage you choose is slightly goal dependent and varies based on the individual. Stay within the dosage range of 20 to 200mcg taken once or twice per day for best results. Note that the dosing range is measured in mcg and not mg. We do not recommend exceeding this amount. Reserve the upper echelon of this dosing range for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Other common goals might include bodybuilding, memory improvement, enhancing mental energy, and lucid dreaming (a frequently sought-after effect of Huperzine A).
Regardless of your goal, you should always start with the lowest possible dose (20 to 50mcg). A low starting point gives you an opportunity to assess tolerance and the effects Huperzine A has on your body. If a small dosage of Huperzine A does not yield the desired results, gradually increase consumption until you’re satisfied with the outcome. Use the titrating approach with all nootropics and brain health supplements. Huperzine A does not need to be taken with food to achieve physical or cognitive enhancement. Supplementation in a fasted state will provide the same health benefits.
Huperzine A Side Effects
When staying within the recommended dosage range, adverse Huperzine A side effects are extremely rare. This nootropic is very safe and well tolerated by most users. Like any top smart drug or health supplement, benefits will vary based on the individual. In rare instances from excessive dosing, Huperzine A may cause nausea, vomiting, or an upset stomach. It may also contribute to elevated blood pressure or a slow heart rate. As mentioned, these side effects of Huperzine A are extremely rare, and typically only arise when exceeding the recommended dosage. Stay within the acceptable 20 to 200mcg range, and you shouldn’t experience any adverse side effects or discomfort.
Huperzine A Half-Life
The Huperzine A half-life is quite lengthy with a single dose capable of providing cognitive enhancement for as long as 24-hours. Huperzine can quickly and easily cross the blood-brain barrier and go to work on acetylcholine synthesis within minutes. As far as nootropics and brain boosters are concerned, the half-life of Huperzine A ranks among the top. When stacked with a high-quality choline supplement like Alpha GPC, users will experience a compounding effect that provides exceptional mental clarity, memory retention, and neuroprotection.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Huperzine A
Huperzine A is a potent and well-rounded nootropic for cognition and overall brain health. Its list of physical and mental health benefits is extensive. From its ability to improve memory and recall, to slowing age-related cognitive decline and providing neuroprotection, we recommend it for every daily stack.
We hope you found our Huperzine A review to be informative. Have you had a chance to experience the wide array of Huperzine A benefits? Let us know your thoughts on this all-natural nootropic in the comments below.
It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
~ Bill Gates
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