About the Actions and Effects of Huperzine-A in Sports Supplements

Apr. 17. 2023

1. What is it?

Huperzine A is a substance commonly found in Chinese herbal medicine called lichen dentifrice or scientifically known as Huperzine serrata. Moss has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years, primarily to help clear the mind. Huperzine A is commonly used to treat neurologically related disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, age-related memory impairment and learning enhancement.

2. What does it do?

Huperzine-A is an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor. As an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, huperzine A stops the specific enzyme cholinesterase from breaking down acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter used in many processes in the body. Neurotransmitters are chemical messages released by nerve cells to transmit signals to other cells in the body, such as neurons, gland cells, and muscle cells.

Huperzine A's action as an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor results in increased levels of acetylcholine in the body, which improves neurotransmission as well as cognitive and muscle performance.

Huperzine A quickly and efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier, preventing acetylcholinesterase (AChE) from lowering acetylcholine levels. Specifically, huperzine A not only blocks the breakdown of acetylcholine, but also increases acetylcholine beyond basal levels, improving nerve and brain function and direct signals for muscle contraction.

As we all know about supplements and how they interact in the body, it's much more than just adding more ingredients and hoping for the best. The body has many mechanisms to maintain balance, such as cholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine levels above basal levels.

improve memory

Huperzine A might help improve memory. In a study of adolescent students, administration of 50 micrograms Huperzine-A twice daily for 4 weeks was shown to improve memory and several aspects of academic performance in adolescent students. Huperzine-A has also been studied for its ability to support memory and cognitive performance during aging. We know that as we age, our brains undergo age-related neurodegenerative changes, often leading to declines in cognition, memory and clarity. Due to its role in the acetylcholine pathway in the body, huperzine-A has been shown to help prevent these age-related cognitive declines.

Alzheimer's disease treatment

Huperzine A is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. This is due to its ability to help increase acetylcholine levels in the body through a different route than simply taking choline supplements. Neurodegenerative diseases, although not fully understood, are generally thought to interact with levels of acetylcholine in the body, since it is a major neurotransmitter. This is why choline supplements and other supplements with direct and indirect effects on the choline pathway and acetylcholine levels are often used in the treatment of such neurodegenerative diseases.

3. How much do I need to take?

The dosage of huperzine A depends largely on the application. Whether it's used to help improve focus, alertness, and cognition, or to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Doses of 50 – 200 micrograms per serving have been shown to induce the desired effects for general improvements in cognition, attention and mental alertness in healthy individuals. Doses of 100 – 200 micrograms per serving are considered the ideal amount to provide impressive short-term benefits in attention, concentration and cognition.

In the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, higher doses of 100 – 200 micrograms per day, sometimes even twice a day, have been shown to have beneficial effects on cognition, memory and attention decline.

Depending on how supplement brands disclose ingredient dosages on their Nutrition Facts panels, figuring out how much huperzine A you're getting in a supplement can be difficult. Since huperzine A is usually obtained from an extract, it may not be clear how much you're actually getting.

4. When should I take it?

Often Huperzine-A will be used in formulations such as pre-workouts, fat burners, and nootropics. Supplementing with huperzine A before any cognitively demanding task or any form of exercise will benefit from huperzine A supplementation.

Best time to supplement Huperzine A:

Take it before exercise, take Huperzine A first thing in the morning, before any brain work or study

5. How long does it take to work?

Huperzine A crosses the blood-brain barrier very quickly and begins to work once it enters the bloodstream, usually 15-20 minutes after consumption. Increased mental clarity, mental alertness, cognitive function, ability to focus and improved mood can be experienced with a single serving of Huperzine A at appropriate doses.

Consistent supplementation will yield the best results, especially with regard to the neuroprotective effects of Huperzine A. A single one-time dose is still very effective for cognitive enhancement and can be used when needed.

Combining with a choline supplement will give the best results in both long term and immediate improvement of all desired effects.

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