Supplement Talk Saturday: Huperzine A

I have taken a few different supplements before that were for fat loss and energy/workout performance. They had multiple different things in them that could have been really bad for me. I should have done research on them beforehand.

One of the ingredients in two of them was Huperzine A. This post is about what the substance is, the alleged benefits, what the research says about it and my experiences with the supplements that contained it.

Huperzine A and its alleged benefits

This is a substance extracted from the Chinese club moss plant which is native to southeast Asia and India. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time.

It is in the nootropic class of substances (“smart drugs”) and is usually used with other ones for an enhanced affect. The mechanism of action is through inhibiting an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme metabolizes acetylcholine and breaks it down.

A depletion of acetylcholine causes problems in our brains.

The alleged benefits of Huperzine A are as follows:

1. Improves memory

2. Improves cognitive functioning

3. Helps with Myasthenia Gravis

4. Workout enhancer

The possible side effects are as follows:

1. GI problems

2. Headaches

3. Slurred speech

It can be bought in capsule and powder form. The dosage recommendations seem to range from 100 mcg to 300 mcg daily.

What the research says

There have been several research studies done on this substance. A lot of them showed some promise in the use of it in memory and cognitive functioning.

The unfortunate thing is that Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association say that Huperzine A is not effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Mayo claims that there are problems with the way the studies were conducted as well as there being significant GI side effects seen in the participants.

There was a large-scale study done to determine if Huperzine A could be of use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association says that the effects of the substance were no different than the placebo.

I found a study indicating that Huperzine A could help reduce seizures. While this may sound good, one must remember it is only one trial that was done on mice. Supplementing with Huperzine A should not be done just for seizure control though as it could be detrimental.

Is Huperzine A worth it?

This is a hard question to answer. It clearly can’t be used to treat Alzheimer’s-the results from the studies are not strong enough.

There seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence surrounding the use of it. Looking at Amazon reviews shows that a lot of people have had success with supplementing it for memory enhancement. Of course, it could all be placebo though.

I think that if one is really in the market for huperzine A, they should do some reading up on it. Also, it is good to take heed of the side effects which don’t look very fun.

My experience with it

As I said before, I took a couple of fat loss/workout supplements that contained huperzine A. There were other things in there as well. They were put in there so that people could have focus while they were dieting and working out.

For me, these supplements were not good and I am ashamed that I even tried them without doing more research. They made me alternate between angry, sad and slightly paranoid. It is also important for me to say that I am on Lamictal for evening seizures. Maybe the supplement interacted badly with it?

Since there were other ingredients in the supplements, I can’t sit here and say that it was just the Huperzine A that was bad for me. All I know is that I won’t be trying them or anything like them again.

I could use some memory and cognitive enhancements though! It seems like Lamictal has diminished my cognitive functioning a bit.

Have you taken huperzine A before? What was your experience with it?

Thanks for reading!

#nootropics #memory #cognitivefunctioning #mood #focus #supplements #amazon