Supplement Talk Saturday: Huperzine A

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

Nootropics

Nootropics

Back in 2014, I came across an article about things that increase your cognition and longevity of your life. Little did I know that I had actually taken some of them before. I just had never heard of the word “Nootropics” before.

What are Nootropics?

If you do not already know, Nootropics are a group of different chemicals that are said to help with your cognition. By “help”, researchers mean that they do things like enhance concentrate, increase your memory and make it easier to learn.

There are so many things that are considered to be under the Nootropics label but you have to be careful and read up on them to make sure that you do not suffer any side effects (see here: https://www.mindlabpro.com/blog/nootropics/are-nootropics-safe/ ).

A lot of these Nootropics are easy to find and buy (caffeine is considered a Nootropic!). The stronger ones such as ADHD medication require a prescription of course.

Why did I decide to try new ones?

I was just really intrigued by getting smarter. Who does not want to be a little smarter?! Having dyscalculia made me feel so stupid back then.

At that time I was also considering going to back to school for physician assisting so I felt like I would need a safe supplement to get me through the math classes.

The ones I had taken before (I did not know they were Nootropics) did not really do anything for me cognition wise. At least not anything that I noticed.

Here is what I tried and my experiences with them

  1. Holy Basil (see here: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/basil-benefits#brain-benefits )- This stuff is amazing! It is supposed to help anxiety and I can say that it did for me. I took it in pill form.
  2. Noopept (see here: https://www.developinghumanbrain.org/noopept/)- I took the smallest dosage as recommended for two months straight and noticed nothing. It was supposed to boost my memory and enhance my senses but I experienced none of that. Maybe it works for other people though.
  3. Aniracetam (see here: https://www.healthline.com/health/aniracetam#benefits )- This one is said to be potent and help with cognition, ADHD, anxiety and depression. I took 500 mg (most people start off with 750 mg) because I am sensitive to medications and supplements. Within an hour or so of the first time taking it, I felt really zoned out and had a headache. It was not fun. I took it a few other times with the same results and decided it was not for me.
  4. Oxiracetam(see here: https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/oxiracetam/ )- This one is supposed to be good for cognitive functioning and energy. I took a little less than the recommend dosage (1200-2400 mg) for several days. It took a little over an hour for it to kick in but boy did it! I had so much energy and felt great. If I had to pick a Nootropic to take instead of caffeine, it would be this one.
  5. Phenylpiracetam (see here: https://www.braintropic.com/nootropics/phenylpiracetam/ )- This one is supposed to be like Oxiracetam in that it is supposed to give you an energy boost as well as provide cognitive benefits. I took it for a few days and noticed that the effects were a little more powerful than Oxiracetam at first. I built up a tolerance to it pretty quick though.
  6. DMAE (see here: https://www.healthline.com/health/senior-health/dmae)- This is supposed to help with moods and cognitive functioning. I did not like it all even at a really small dosage. It made me feel sick and gave me a bad headache.

In conclusion

I have tried a lot of Nootropics unknowingly as I am sure a lot of people have (there are so many). Caffeine is still my favorite due to the fact that it is cheaper and readily available.

If you are interested in trying the ones I listed or any others, please do some research first. There can be some bad side effects if you take too much or are on a medication that does not mix well with whichever one you decide to take.

Here is a great list of Nootropics to check out: https://nootropicsexpert.com/nootropics-list