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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine November 2000

Q & A


Huperzine A
Making the right move on when and how much you should take

Q I am seeing a lot of ads for Huperzine A, a cognitive enhancer. Several mail order companies carry products with huperzine. Have you evaluated it?

imageA We have extensively evaluated Huperzine A and do not recommend that healthy people take it every day. Huperzine A functions as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. That means that it inhibits an enzyme in your brain that is responsible for degrading the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s disease patients have elevated levels of acetylcholinesterase and can therefore benefit by taking drugs like Aricept or nutrients like Huperzine A, which inhibit acetylcholinesterase.

Healthy people, on the other hand, need acetylcholinesterase to regulate acetylcholine levels in their brains. If you wanted to impress someone with your short-term memory on any given day you could safely take the recommended dose of Huperzine A, but we would not advise that you do so daily. We have a member who is a world class chess player, and has proven he can improve his scores by taking Huperzine A the day of a chess tournament.

While it is safe to boost acetylcholine levels by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase periodically, chronic use of Huperzine A could cause over-suppression of acetylcholinesterase and subsequent acetylcholine overload with unknown consequences. Remember, you can take huge amounts of acetylcholine precursors such as choline without fear of acetylcholine overload because you have acetylcholinesterase to degrade excess acetylcholine. If you block the body’s natural regulator of acetylcholine (that regulator being acetylcholinesterease), you may have a problem. We do not recommend that people take Huperzine A more than twice a week, much less promote it for daily use like other companies do.

Q What isomers of CLA were used in studies that showed CLA to reduce prostate cancer in rats? Does Life Extension's CLA use the same?

A All CLA products are made by the same process, alkaline isomerization, which produces the same isomers in roughly the same ratios. The two most important and abundant isomers are the cis9, trans11 and the trans10, cis12. The trans10, cis12 isomer appears to be the one that prevents cancers. Life Extension's CLA has very high levels of this isomer. We cannot compare Life Extension's CLA directly to the CLA used in the studies, but we do compare our product to other CLAs out there. By far, Life Extension has the highest quality. In fact, our CLA is used in cancer experiments that are conducted by the Japanese, which provide the same prevention results.

Q I am uncertain about how much DHEA I should be taking. I have had blood work done before, and would like to have it analyzed and, if necessary, have additional tests done. Can you advise me on what medical blood tests I can take that would determine the appropriate DHEA dosage for me?

A The Foundation's blood testing lab has trained technicians and a licenced nutritionist who can suggest and interpret the blood tests that would apply to your situation. These tests are available by mail order or at our licensed blood drawing station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Based on the results of the tests performed, you would receive a recommendation as to the amount of DHEA that you should be taking.

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Dr. Michael West

Q Does Dr. Michael West's research involve human fetuses or embryos?

A Dr. West's research does not involve the use of human embryos or fetuses, but rather the creation and use of blastocysts-microscopic aggregates of about 100 cells, most of which are skin cells.

Q I recently started taking SAMe and found great results in doing so. Can you advise me on possible side-effects and suggested dosages?

A We are very pleased to hear that you are getting good results with SAMe.

At levels of above 400mg daily, SAMe may result in a dry mouth and gastrointestinal problems. To alleviate these symptoms, cut back on the dosage to a comfortable level and then increase slowly. Increase by one 200 mg tablet at a time, and stay there for about a week. It usually takes about one week for your stomach to get used to the higher dosage.

Another option is to take the increased dose every other day. By doing it this way, it might take longer to acclimate your stomach to the higher dosage, but if you are really uncomfortable, this might be a better choice.

As far as suggested dosages, some people need to take 800 to 1600 mg to obtain SAMe’s anti-depressant effect.






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