Huperzine A is an extract from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata and is an inhibitor of the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine (1).
Huperzine A Benefits
- May improve memory in the elderly (ref)*
- Supports healthy cognition by increasing acetylcholine (ref)*
The following are examples of dynamics associated with Huperzine A through the animal model and may not be representative of the effects in the human body:
Huperzine A Mode of Action
Huperzine A is an alkaloid chemical compound extracted from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata. It inhibits the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine called acetylcholinesterase (AChE), making more acetylcholine available to the brain (1). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the parts of the brain that impact memory and learning, attention, and alertness–making it one of the most beneficial neurotransmitter compounds for overall cognitive function and brain health (2).
Huperzine A has a high bioavailability and is distributed in the body rapidly. It can pass through the blood-brain barrier where its effects as a cholinergic can be achieved (1). It elevates the level of acetylcholine in the frontal cortex by 125% and by 105% in the parietal cortex; acetylcholine in other regions of the brain are increased by 22-65% (3).
In addition to its cholinergic effects, animal research suggests that it promotes antioxidant activity against beta-amyloid proteins, glutamate, and peroxidation damage. Animal research also indicates that it may contribute to neurogenesis and may also protect mitochondria (1).
Huperzine A Dosage
Pure Nootropic’s Huperzine A provides 200 mcg of the Huperzia serrata leaf standardized extract per 1 capsule. Suggested use for adults is 1 capsule by mouth once daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
Huperzine A Side Effects and Toxicity
Huperzine A is generally well tolerated. Side effects may include decreased heart rate, hyperactivity, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, dizziness, blurred vision, sweating, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, and fainting (3).
The No Observable Adverse Effects Limit (NOAEL) is approximately 1 mg/kg in female rats, 3 mg/kg in male rats, and 0.1 mg/kg in dogs (4).
If you are taking any medications, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning supplementation with Huperzine A.
If you are taking Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as Urecholine (bethanechol), Prostigmin (neostigmine), Phospholine Iodide (echothiophate), Enlon/Reversol/Tensilon (edrophonium), Antilirium (physostigmine), Mestinon/Regonol (pyridostigmine), Quelicin/Anectine (succinylcholine) and others, a moderate interaction may occur (3).
If you are taking anticholinergic medications, such as Cognetin (benztropine), atropine, Kemadrin (procyclidine), Akineton (biperiden), Artane (trihexyphenidyl) and others, a moderate interaction may occur (3).
If you are taking cholinergic medications, such as Urecholine (bethanechol), Prostigmin (neostigmine), Phospholine Iodide (echothiophate), Enlon/Reversol/Tensilon (edrophonium), Antilirium (physostigmine), Mestinon/Regonol (pyridostigmine), Quelicin/Anectine (succinylcholine) and others, a moderate interaction may occur (3).
Use Huperzine A with caution if you have bradycardia/cardiovascular disease, seizure disorders, pulmonary conditions or urogenital tract obstruction. Avoid use if you have a peptic ulcer condition (3).
For further information, please see our References Tab above.