Brain Foods

Brain Foods

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Chinese Club Moss_Potential Anti-Alzheimer's Herb

Chinese Club Moss_Potential Anti-Alzheimer's Herb

Huperzia serrata, sold as Huperzine A

Lurking in the Chinese club moss plant is a brain-saving compound known as Huperzine A. Research suggests that Huperzine A could become the superstar of anti-senility regimens.

Senility happens slowly. Little by little, the brain becomes damaged until symptoms of forgetfulness and mental fragility eventually become apparent. Animal studies reveal that Huperzine A protects the brain from this daily damage and, it is hoped, can prevent or limit senility.

One study with primates revealed that Huperzine A protected brain cells from damage by toxic chemicals. Another animal study showed that it helped keep brain cells alive during an experimentally induced stroke. Chinese studies have shown a significant improvement in cognitive function in 60 percent of the people with Alzheimer's disease who took Huperzine A.

In the US, 29 people with Alzheimer's disease were given 100 micrograms of Huperzine A daily, and more than half seemed to show improved mental status. This herbal extract's potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease was noted in JAMA way back in 1997.

Huperzine A increases brain function by supporting neurotransmitter supply. Though it's been touted for students studying for an exam, there's not much evidence to suggest that it makes a difference. However, since it inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, a necessary brain neurotransmitter, some experts feel it may help improve Alzheimer's disease, although long-term safety trials have yet to be conducted.

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