What Is It?
For centuries in the Far East, traditional healers have used a rare moss (Huperzia serrata) found in the colder regions of China to remedy fever and Inflammation. Only recently did scientists uncover a remarkable quality in a substance they isolated in the moss. Called huperzine A, the compound appears to have the power to sharpen the mind and potentially ward off the devastating effects of the memory-robbing disease known as Alzheimer’s, particularly in its earliest stages. Huperzine A has also been proposed for countering normal bouts of forgetfulness in the general population.
Mental improvements associated with huperzine A appear to stem from the compound’s ability to inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical essential to memory. The only Alzheimer’s drugs currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration work in much the same way. In fact, laboratory findings indicate that huperzine A may be more precise than conventional medications in the manner in which it protects acetylcholine, raising hopes that it could counter memory loss with relatively few side effects.
Huperzine A is believed to have a synergistic effect when combined with cholinesterase inhibitors, drugs that act in a similar fashion to combat Alzheimer’s-related memory loss. So while the combination of these two agents could potentially boost the benefits of both, it could also lead to as yet unidentified negative reactions. Consult a doctor for guidance.
Although apparently safe over the short term, there is no information on whether huperzine A will lead to long-term complications, especially when used in conjunction with other medications. Consult a doctor to determine your optimal dose of huperizine A.
Make sure to buy only 99% purified compounds of huperzine A; crude extracts of the moss are potentially toxic and could have sedative effects, which certainly won’t sharpen memory.
Given its mode of action, huperzine A may affect heart rate. For this reason, don’t take huperzine A if you have Hypertension (high blood pressure) or are pregnant. People with asthma or other respiratory diseases should also use huperzine A with care.
Side effects of huperzine A may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and muscle cramps.
Consult a doctor if you are experiencing unusual confusion or memory loss; it’s important to have such symptoms professionally examined and treated if necessary.
Alzheimer’s Disease – 50 mcg twice a day
Memory Loss/Impairment – 50 mcg a day with meals
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David Edelberg, MD