Huperzine-A is a natural supplement extracted from the prickly leafed moss Huperzia Serrata.Today, its extract normally comes in capsules, with a daily intake of between 50 and 500 mcgs. It is increasingly being used to boost intelligence and improve a variety of cognitive functions – as well as addressing different forms of dementia. That said, it’s best known as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used for those purposes for thousands of years, before being first fully analyzed by scientists in 1948.
Huperzine-A is a cholinesterase inhibitor- one of the neurochemicals that boosts neurotransmitter levels in the brain – the stronger and clearer the signals, the better the brain works. Loss of neurotransmission capability is a key symptom of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A number of small-scale studies since 2006 have indicated that Huperzine-A improves memory and protects vital nerve cells, which would slow the cognitive decline seen in them and other forms of dementia, such as those caused by brain injuries and high blood pressure. It is important to realize that this is still an under-researched treatment and that exaggerated claims for its effectiveness lack sufficient large-scale evidence at this stage.
A word of caution:
There is also, unfortunately a lack of safety data – most studies have lasted less than 12 weeks. Some subjects have had unpleasant side effects, nausea being one. Science points clearly to not taking Huperzine-A in combination with any other cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept) or rivastigmine (Exelon)-drugs – commonly prescribed for the same types of dementia for which Huperzine is used. The thing is, too much is damaging as well. Balance is the key to an individually tailored approach for each patient. It is not suitable for pregnant or lactating women.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
The trigger for A.D. is still a matter of theory. Like Parkinson’s, we don’t know, although there are 2 very clear risk factors for both. A.D. is more common in women, P.D is in men. With both conditions being over 65 dramatically increases risk. Both conditions run in families, so there must be some not yet fully elucidated genetic predispositions. If you are in any of those at-risk groups, using Huperzine-A as a preventative measure makes sense, because (aside from the above) it does not, unlike many prescription meds, contraindicate with anything else.
In A.D parts of the brain- normally those dealing with memory, language and movement- are killed off by having their blood supply strangled, like ivy on a tree, by gluey tangled masses and plaques made of beta-amyloid proteins, with the appalling, consequences we are all too aware of. There is strong evidence that absorbing aluminum greatly increases the chances of developing A.D. I advise most strongly to avoid it-not cooking or eating/drinking from aluminum pots or other containers cuts the risk considerably.
Ally cookware was popular in the postwar years, perhaps explaining why A.D has become all too common today. I recommend anyone who is/has been exposed to aluminum to consult a specialist neurologist about options for removing it – including chelation. Huperzine-A can help in prevention, or at least in delaying A.D and P.D. In diluted liquid form it also acts as a cleanser, washing toxins from the body and brain. The 2 major positives of Huperzine A are its brain-boosting properties and that combined with the correct types of therapy, it can delay or even improve symptoms for those who have or are disposed to both P.D and A.D.
By therapies, I mean not only prescription medication, but physical therapies. These should include exercise, music, art, speech, and light. The reason is that they stimulate the brain, because when a part of the brain is killed, other parts – with help – can partially and at times, even wholly take over some of the lost functions.
Huperzin -A cannot cure A.D, or P.D by destroying the plaques, but it does form a powerful and safe part of the Nootropic toolkit for all ages over 12 yrs and should be highly valued as such.
One ideal and convenient source of Huperzine A is provided by Double Wood Supplements:
Disclaimer: This article is intended to augment the work of medical specialists, not to replace it. Before taking any supplement or new medication, always consult your Physician.