Huperzine A is a naturally occurring alkaloid extracted from a club moss. It is not the only alkaloid of this plant, but the reason why Huperzine A made it to headlines is its brain-boosting effect.
Huperzine A is a medically studied herbal alternative treatment for various neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. These days, Huperzine A is used in all top quality nootropic supplements specially designed for students.
As you know, students need concentration and focus on energetic boost, which can motivate them to study. Using a supplement with Huperzine A will fulfill all these requirements most subtly.
An introductory guide to Huperzine A- Is this an herbal supplement?
Huperzine A is commonly famous as HupA. It is a compound extracted from species of club moss called Huperzia Serrata.
Wikipedia defines Huperzine A as
“Huperzine A is a naturally occurring sesquiterpene alkaloid compound found in the firmoss Huperzia Serrata and in varying quantities in other Huperzia species, including H. Elmeri, H. Carinat, and H. Aqualupian.”
Club moss, botanically called Qian Ceng Ta has a history for its use in Chinese medicine for inflammation, pain, fever, neuro-degeneration, and schizophrenia.
It also has the role of memory enhancement, focus building and neuroprotective effects in clinical trials.
Huperzine A works by breaking down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine by using an enzyme acetylcholinesterase.
It has two forms; Huperzine A (+) and Huperzine A (-). Huperzine A is available in the market as an over the counter cognitive boosting supplement. The manufacturers market it as a top nootropic supplement for memory and focus.
Rapid increase in use of Nootropic supplements among students
Students are more likely to use nootropic supplements than any other class of people.
These cognitive enhancing supplements, also called as smart drugs have headlines for the rapidly growing popularity among students.
They are not addictive and safe for use. “PLOS- ONE” recently published research, which showed an increasing trend of using drugs and brain boosters for cognitive abilities enhancements among Swiss secondary school students.
Another research from “Journal of General Internal Medicine” tells that even the medical students are using psychostimulants for cognitive enhancement. This study was an online census report, which was among multiple institutes.
A total number of 2,732 actively enrolled medical students at four private and public medical schools participated in it.
Among the involved students, 18% of 25 years of age students had used prescription psychostimulants at least once in their lifetime with initial use in college. 11% of them used them the first time in medical school.
The conclusion highlights that students tend to use nootropics and prescription drugs for making their learning more efficient and perform better in exams.
Benefits of Huperzine A supplements for students
There are a few prominent effects which Huperzine A shows in its users. They include,
- Strong memory building
- Neuroprotective property
- Regularity of Sleep cycle and recovery
Huperzine A supplements for memory building
Huperzine has best effects on memory. It improves the levels of acetylcholine inside the body.
It also works as an inhibitor of cholinesterase, which is an enzyme hindrance in acetylcholine production. When Huperzine inhibits its release, acetylcholine levels always remain stable.
Huperzine A is particularly helpful for students as it improves the recalling of any learned lesson. It is the best thing, which every student requires while preparing for exams, presentations, and tests.
Research investigations show Huperzine A’s potential to improve memory in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline.
Both students and older adults have shown an improved memory with the usage of Huperzine A.
There are studies on memory and learning improvement among students with a careful administration of Huperzine A. “Europe PubMed Central” has published this specific research on the effects of Huperzine capsules on 34 pairs of matched adolescent students.
The objective of the study was to investigate the memory and learning performance among students. The dosage used on every student was 50 mcg of Huperzine A, twice a day.
The 34 pairs of students with memory inadequacy were categorized into two groups by the psychological health inventory (PHI), similar memory quotient (MQ), sex and class.
Only one team was treated with Huperzine A whereas other a placebo of starch and lactose. The group, which received HupA supplements, scored much higher on memory quotient test and language lesson.
The second reason to declare Huperzine A an effective cognitive booster is its role in Alzheimer’s treatment.
A review study from “PLOS ONE” summarizes 20 studies that studied the role of Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s disease.
Nearly 2000 participants were evaluated by Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of Huperzine A supplementation.
Huperzine showed profoundly beneficial effects on cognitive function improvement even in routine tasks among participants with Alzheimer’s disease.
Huperzine A for Neuroprotective advantages
The neuroprotective benefits of nootropic prove that nootropics are not medicines but health boosting supplements. Research approves Huperzine A to cause neuroprotective advantages by reducing neural cell death.
This neural cell death is a potential threat for neural degeneration by a study printed in “International Journal of Molecular Medicine.” Apoptosis and necrosis are two types of cell death.
The re-emergence of apoptosis causes neurodegenerative diseases, i.e., Alzheimer’s and injuries, i.e., trauma.
Using nootropic supplements provides the neuroprotection and reduces the neuronal cell death, which is caused by glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, which coordinates the synaptic connections in the brain.
Research proves that Huperzine A is protective for organophosphate (OP) intoxication and the effects on glutamate reduction linked neural cell death.
Students that are on the verge of neural degeneration will get a higher benefit by using Huperzine A in routine.
Not just for the regular cognitive advancement, the frequent use of Huperzine A supplements will reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases in them.
A study published in “Brain Research” journal declares Huperzine A to be a promoter of hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo experiments.
Hippocampal is the part of the brain, which is responsible for storing the memory of all past information, experiences, and knowledge. This research outcome elaborates why students will get extra benefits from using Huperzine A.
Huperzine A for sleep recovery
Sleeping is a part of healthy living, and we can’t deny its importance for the proper functioning of the brain.
The human body works like a machine, which never shuts down completely. But it surely needs rest, which is even required for a student to make his cognitive abilities better.
While a person rests, any nootropic ingredient that he has used, i.e., Huperzine A will keep on providing neuroprotection. The mechanism never stops when you are sleeping.
All these reactions sometimes produce the waste product. Medical-Dictionary defines it as “cellular debris”. The accumulation of this cellular debris hinders the normal processing of the brain.
An example of such cellular debris is beta-amyloid. It is an amino acid, which sticks together and creates a plaque. It further disturbs the usual functions of the brain.
Huperzine A reduces the mitochondrial swelling, which is caused by beta-amyloid accumulation. It promotes the regular production of ATP from mitochondria- the powerhouse of the cell.
A study from “Free Radical Biology and Medicine” journal tells that Huperzine A preserves the membrane integrity and protects the brain cell mitochondria from β-amyloid peptide on rats.
A problem that affects the efficacy of the brain and body functions is pollution. Pollution contaminates the air, which leads to poor oxygen consumption by people.
For students residing in metropolitan cities, this pollution is very damaging to brain functions.
It has chances to increase oxidative stress, which can cause tissue damage. Huperzine A, along with all other benefits has a protective effect against oxidative stress and damage in brain tissues. A research study from “Chinese Pharmaceutical Journal“ proves it.
Can you stack Huperzine A?
Huperzine A itself is very potent nootropic supplement. But its benefit is higher by combining it with other influential cognitive boosters. Huperzine works best with choline source such as Alpha GPC supplements.
This combination enhances memory, builds up stamina, boosts energy and provides neuroprotective abilities to the user.
A closer analysis of Huperzine stack suggests it to be the best for a student who has to study for an upcoming exam.
Alpha GPC, another powerful nootropic works on increasing choline levels inside the body. These levels are less in individuals. An increase in choline level ensures the availability of acetylcholine, which initiates neuroprotective effects.
Alpha GPC and Huperzine A in combination make a compelling nootropic mix for memory and neural recovery.
Another nootropic to combine with Huperzine A is racetams. But racetams are not as such safe for students as it may react and cause upset stomach, mental dullness, and laziness. It is because they lack a choline source.
For herbal stack, Ginko Biloba with Huperzine has a great synergy together. A mix of these two blocks the inhibition of cell growth and apoptosis caused by a NO precursor sodium, nitroprusside (SNP).
As Nitric oxide is thought to cause a neural degeneration, using the combination of Ginko Biloba and HupA can be a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. “International Immunopharmacology” published this research study in one of its issues.
A stack that everyone can try is to use Huperzine A with green tea. The research studies provide evidence that green tea enhances the ability of Huperzine A to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, making sure that sufficient amount of acetylcholine is available for the cognitive boost.
EGCC from the green tea prolongs this enzymatic inhibitory time for Huperzine A. The study published in “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” suggests that 100-mg/kg dose of EGCG on two groups, which received ten mcg/kg and five mcg/kg Huperzine, A showed amazingly long-lasting inhibitory effects.
The recommended dose of Huperzine A
The effective dose of Huperzine A can range between 30 mcg to 400 mcg. For students, the best is to take only 30-100 mcg per day for the desired effects.
Up to 400 mcg dose of Huperzine A is safe and helpful but is only suitable if you have medical conditions.
An unusual mechanism is that for most of the people using 400 mcg altogether worked better than taking 200 mcg twice a day.
A recent study published in “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” analyses eight studies on Alzheimer’s and other memory-related ideas and the effects of Huperzine supplements. The improvement in results was higher in Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
Possible side effects of Huperzine A supplements in students
There are least chances that Huperzine A can go wrong for anyone.
It is a derivative of a plant source, and the risks associated with its safety are almost zero at the moment.
The excessive dose of Huperzine A may lead to gastrointestinal tract problems, i.e., diarrhea, upset stomach, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, etc.
Consult with your physician before taking a Huperzine A supplement if you have heart disease or specifically a slow heart rate as Huperzine A can potentially lower your heart rate further. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue the use of Huperzine A.
Various studies like one posted in “Acta Pharmacologica Sinica” on progress in studies of huperzine A considers HupA safe for human use.
Another research findings from “Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior” studying psychopharmacology of huperzine A also showed no trial reporting any side effect.
However, all these results are on the specific type of people, i.e., Alzheimer’s patients. There is not enough data to predict if Huperzine A is safe for pregnant and nursing mother or not. It is not suitable for children’s use.
People with heart problems, blood pressure, epileptics, pregnant women and all other on medication are required to consult their physicians before using Huperzine A on their own.
Are Huperzine A supplements easily available?
Like all general supplements, Huperzine A supplements are also available at all leading health stores.
It is also available online at top retailers. Before using Huperzine A, make sure if you need it or not. Unnecessary supplement intake can be damaging in the long run.