Huperzine A has been touted as one of the world’s best naturally occurring cognitive enhancers. This compound is basically an alkaloid extracted from Huperzia Serrata, a firmoss that is endemic to China. Proponents and marketers of Huperzia A claim that the plant is part of an ancient Chinese remedy for memory loss but evidence to support this claim are mostly anecdotal.
As a cognitive enhancer, the nootropic effects of Huperzine A is attributed to its ability to inhibit an enzyme that destroys acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain which is thought to be responsible for most of the cognitive processes.
Other firmoss species related to Huperzia Serrata like Huperzia Carinat and Huperzia Elmeri may also be extracted for the Huperzia A alkaloid. Due to its primary mechanism of action, it is classified as a cholinergic compound similar to other naturally occurring alkaloids such as galantamine.
As a nootropic, Huperzine A is more commonly stacked together with other nootropic agents. It is thought to complement the effects of Alpha GPC, which speeds up the production of acetylcholine in the brain. Huperzine A is also known to be used by powerlifters in the belief that that increased levels of acetylcholine adds more pop to their lifts.
Among experienced nootropic users, Huperzine A is one of the more popular cholinergic elements to their stacks. It is usually taken together with a racetam and an acetylcholine booster. There are a few who use Huperzine as a standalone nootropic, but these types of users are mostly new to cognitive enhancement supplements and the elderly.
Those who use it in nootropic stacks find it to be a good addition as it amplifies the cognitive enhancement effects of the more potent components of the stack. Used on its own, it is also known to do a decent job in improving one’s memory retention, focus, and learning abilities. Huperzine A has a very long half-life, with some studies showing that it can stay in the system for more than 24 hours. Experienced nootropic users advise cycling with Huperzine A, in two to four week on-off intervals to maintain its effectiveness.
Huperzine A has its own share of negative effects on users. Some report experiencing elevated blood pressure, which means that people suffering from hypertension should seek out alternative cholinergic supplements. Other users claim that Huperzine A caused them to experience a relapse in asthma attacks, a condition they have previously outgrown. A few more negative effects attributed to Huperzine A supplementation include loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, light headedness, and disturbed sleep patterns.
- A natural nootropic.
- Complements other nootropics when taken in stacks.
- Has a long half-life.
- Potent with doses taken in micrograms.
- May not be as effective when not taken as part of a nootropic stack.
- Causes high blood pressure.
- May trigger asthma attacks.
- Have other unpleasant side effects.
The doses of Huperzine A are in micrograms, with the daily recommended dosing set at 50 to 200mcg. No information on the toxicity levels of Huperzine A for humans is available, so anyone thinking of supplementing with Huperzine A must exercise caution. As with other supplements, it will be best to consult with your physician before starting on Huperzine A supplementation.