I have been increasingly interested in the use of Huperzine A. Even though I am still doing very well (given all that MG can bring to ones life) I decided to research, ask questions and find out more about it in general. Have you heard of Huperzine A? If not, read below as I am going to share a bit on what I have found.
Huperzine A is a substance purified from a plant called Chinese club moss. Although the makers of huperzine A start with a plant, their product is the result of a lot of laboratory manipulation. It is a highly purified drug, unlike herbs that typically contain hundreds of chemical ingredients. As a result, some people regard huperzine A as a drug, and they argue that it stretches the guidelines of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).
Be careful not to confuse huperzine A, which is also called selagine, with similar sounding medications such as selegiline (Eldepryl). Also be careful not to confuse one of the brand names for huperizine A (Cerebra) with the brand names for unrelated prescription drugs such as celecoxib (Celebrex), citalopram (Celexa), and fosphenytoin (Cerebyx).
Huperzine A is used for Alzheimer’s disease, memory and learning enhancement, and age-related memory impairment. It is also used for treating a muscle disease called myasthenia gravis, for increasing alertness and energy, and for protecting against agents that damage the nerves such as nerve gases.
Products that combine huperzine A with certain drugs used for treating Alzheimer’s disease are being studied. These “hybrid” products are of interest because they may be effective at lower doses and, therefore, cause fewer side effects. One hybrid, called huprine X, combines huperzine A with the drug donepezil. Another hybrid being studied contains huperzine A and the drug tacrine.
How does it work?
Huperzine A is thought to be beneficial for problems with memory, loss of mental abilities (dementia), and the muscular disorder myasthenia gravis because it causes an increase in the levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas.
After researching various sites on the Huperzine A background, I then decided to ask others with MG
- if they had tried it and
- if and how it has helped them
I was met with varying responses and conflicting feelings regarding this over the counter drug. Many people cautioned with intensity NOT to take Huperzine A with Mestinon of any form. This is due to the fact that it may create an overwhelming amount of acetylcholine leading to adverse reactions. In addition, trying out and experimenting with any new medication while having MG especially, should always be brought to the attention of your neurologist and discussed. Everyone who is involved with your health should be on the same page.
Now there were a few people who stated that Huperzine A really did seem to help their MG and they currently take it in place of Mestinon. It was also stated by these individuals that Huperzine A seems to have a longer half-life and stays in the system keeping them stronger for longer periods of time (7-8hrs vs. 3-4 with Mestinon). I will state tho that for me, Mestinon will keeps strong for 5-6 hours depending on how healthy my lifestyle is at the time.
A healthy lifestyle will make all the difference
Regardless of the medications or supplements you decide to use, living a healthy lifestyle will enhance the effects and overall quality of your life and existence all the way around. If you’re not living healthy now thats ok! It just means you have somewhere to start – anywhere really :) Personally, I’d recommend starting out with improving your diet, adding meditation to your life and gentle stretching as well. If that feels like too much simply pick one and start there. Do what feels right for you with where you are at in life and in health.
With that said, I will write more once I have more to share on Huperzine A. For now I simply am at the place of gathering information on this over the counter drug. Please, If you have had experiences with it good or bad, do share so we can all learn.