Huperzine-A is a naturally occurring alkaloid that is used to raise acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the brain. However, unlike other cholinergic compounds, Huperzine-A has a very different mechanism of action.
Unlike others neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, acetylcholine is not reuptaken into the synapses but is instead broken down by the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Huperzine-A works by significantly inhibiting AChE1www.nature.com/articles/nsb0197-57 for long periods of time, which indirectly leads to higher levels of circulating ACh in the brain.
Huperzine-A is also an NMDA receptor antagonist2www.mendeley.com/research-papers/nmda-receptor-ion-channel-site-binding-huperzine/, and has been shown to have neuroprotective effects3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/91410734www.nature.com/articles/aps200618https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305703001114. Additionally, it promotes neurogenesis5www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2345443310https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305706000840, which is the formation of new neurons. It’s ability to cause neurogenesis is reflected by a significant increase in levels of NGF, BDNF, and TGF-β110https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305706000840.
Huperzine-A has sufficient research to demonstrate that it can notably improve memory and learning6https://journals.lww.com/neuroreport/Abstract/1996/12200/Huperzine_A,_a_novel_promising.20.aspx7https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/106781218https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S00913057030011149http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/288/2/814.short10https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009130570600084011https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/1126325012http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-30020-001, which is due to a combination of its neurotrophic and ACh-elevating effects.
I have taken Huperzine-A before and I found it to have noticeable and rather unique effects that would be difficult to characterize. It appeared to have cognitive enhancing properties that made me feel more awake, interested, engaged, and sharp.
Where to Purchase Huperzine-A
Huperzine-A may be purchased at Nootropics Depot.
I recommend Nootropics Depot because they have been around for a long time and have maintained a solid reputation. They have excellent quality control metrics: they do in-house testing as well as independent 3rd-party testing, and they have certificates of analysis available for all of their products.
Dosage Information and a Cautionary Note
Huperzine-A has a very long half-life, and I highly recommended not to take huperzine-a with another choline source (such as Alpha-GPC). This can cause excessive choline levels in the brain for long periods of time.. Excessive levels of choline can cause depression, slowness, apathy, and other unpleasant effects.
A standard dose is about 50mcg – 100mcg taken once a day. Higher doses may be acceptable if you are unable to notice any benefits from it, but do not exceed 200mcg in a single day.