is a unique nutritional supplement that offers hope to those suffering from
Alzheimer's disease and other age-related mental conditions. Alzheimer's is
characterized by the destruction of nerve cells in several key areas of the
brain devoted to mental functions, including a substantial loss of presynaptic
cholinergic neurons in brains of patients.
results in a dramatic decrease in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a vital
neurotransmitter with a fundamental role in memory and intracellular
communication between nerve cells. Research has shown that levels of
acetylcholine are deficient in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
What little acetylcholine is still produced in the patient's brain is quickly
broken down by the brain enzyme, acetylcholinesterase (AChE), leading to a
shortage of the neurotransmitter, contributing to the patient's loss of memory
and other cognitive functions.
is derived from the ancient Chinese herb Huperzia serrata, traditionally used to
treat fever, inflammation and irregular menstruation. In the late 1980s,
researchers discovered that Huperzine-A, an alkaloid extracted from the raw
plant, readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to prevent acetylcholinesterase (AChE)
from destroying acetylcholine. Researchers found that Huperzine works in a
manner similar to the AChE inhibitors (such as tacrine and donepezil) to impair
the ability of AChE to degrade acetylcholine. By inhibiting the actions of
AChE and increasing acetylcholine concentrations in the brain, Huperzine-A has
been shown to be effective in alleviating some of the symptoms associated with
appears to bind more tightly and specifically to acetylcholinesterase than the
other AChE inhibitors," crystallographer Prof. Joel Sussman, one of the
authors of the study said. "It is as if this natural substance were
ingeniously designed to fit into the exact spot in AChE where it will do the
have demonstrated that patients suffering from Alzheimer's and various other
memory disorders gain significant benefit from huperzine, both in terms of
memory and life quality. In one placebo-controlled, double-blinded study,
researchers found that 58% of Alzheimer's patients experience significant
improvement in both cognitive and memory function when given 200 mcg of
Huperzine per day. Other significant effects have been noted in patients, both
in terms of their life quality and their ability to retrieve past memories.
Huperzine's memory-enhancing properties suggest that it may be an effective
agent for improving memory and learning in healthy humans as well. These
findings suggest that Huperzine not only protects from the effects of
Alzheimer's and senile memory deficits, but also provides a unique and exciting
supplement for supporting memory in the healthy
aging human as well.