Friday, September 5, 2008

Huperzine A

I am not (yet) a force in the world of medical information, but I may be a small-sized ripple.

I noted in another blog that the Northfield Harkins Theater in Denver had a dingy lobby and poorly located handicapped parking. Darned if I didn't get free passes and a nice note from their public relations people in Arizona (and p.s., their lobby now looks great!). The Yoga Toes people likewise sent their warm regards when I praised their product, but alas, no free toe contraptions followed.

Most recently, the front woman for The Brain Trust Program commented on a recent article I wrote on overactive bladders . The connection between bladders and brains, perhaps, is that attending to the frequent needs of the one can screw up the cognitive functioning of the other, at least in old people with poor sleep habits. With just a little hint from me, she sent me a free copy of this book for my review.

I pictured that I would speed read this book, order the supplements, implement the behavioral changes, and report back to you. All that is proceeding a bit slower than planned, but I would encourage those of you who have an active interest in preserving your brains to check out this book. At the very least, have a look at Dr. McCleary's web-site, where you can take an amusing but arduous quiz to assess your risk of dementia.

All of which is a long-winded introduction as to where I came across huperzine A, a chinese herb that combines the goodness of Aricept with the punch of Namenda plus a dash of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Now I haven't tried it yet (I already take so many supplements that I sometimes just have to lie down after dinner to accomodate the load of little tablets I've swallowed), but shoot, I'll try anything, just gotta' get around to ordering it.

This extract of chinese club moss is a proven and potent inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that minces up acetylcholine (Ach). Ach is the neurotransmitter molecule that allows the cells in charge of memory formation in the front of your brain to talk to one another and thus form new memories. By slowing down the breakdown of this essential brain chemical, huperzine, like Aricept and Exelon, allows memory centers of the brain to motor on longer and stronger through the aging process.

In addition, huperzine limits the flow of calcium into nerve cells. Calcium influx is a good thing in terms of neuronal function, but too much calcium is toxic. Like Namenda (and Prevagen), huperzine allows in just enough calcium to hold the thought but not enough to strangle the thinker. And like melatonin, huperzine is also an anti-oxidant and a neuroprotective agent.

Now how good is that? Huperzine is currently in Phase II trials as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.


Bear Naked said...

Thank you for Dr. McCleary's website. I have bookmarked it and I am interested in reading the articles.

Bear((( )))

Wendy said...

Interesting stuff. Will check it out. Thank you.

Cilicious said...

Wow,good news for the brain, and kudos for your influential reporting!