Ask Larry:

Your Question: My question is about Huperzine A (the herb/anticholinesterase). I understand it is excellent to help repair neurological connections in Alzheimer‘s and certain other diseases. I am on LDN and it has helped me very much so far. I do know other drugs have been added with LDN therapy but havent read anything about Huperzine A. Even my pharmacist seems aloof somewhat with the low dose naltrexone therapy without any additions to it.

Can you tell me if and how this combination would be effective?

Larry’s Response: Huperzine A is extracted from a certain kind of moss. As such, it is best to refer to it as a drug instead of a supplement. It is categorized as an anticholinesterase product, meaning that it blocks an enzyme that naturally destroys acetylcholine in our bodies.

Using a product to block the enzyme may cause the acetylcholine to build up and accumulate. The effects may vary; increased alertness, agitation, increased muscle activity, improved memory, and so on. While some of those might seem positive, too much acetylcholine could also cause problems; increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle spasms, cramping, bowel issues, and so on.

There isn’t enough clinical data available for me to make a recommendation about using the product, let alone using it in conjunction with naltrexone. While LDN itself hasn’t been studied extensively there is enough evidence to convince me it reduces inflammation and helps many people with diseases that are associated with inflammation.

Naltrexone is thought to cause the body to generate substances that increase endorphins and reduce inflammation. Huperzine A also seems to adjust the levels of important substances in the body, but different ones. This suggests there could be an additive effect from increased levels of acetylcholine and endorphins. Again, I am not at a place where I’d recommend using both together. There seems to be many possible interactions with the two, especially for someone who may also be suffering from an inflammatory condition, such as MS.

Huperzine A is available without a prescription. However, I strongly suggest you discuss using it with your doctor. As I mentioned above, it is chemically extracted from a natural product, but it isn’t actually a natural supplement. If it works the way the advertisers claim, it could be more harmful than helpful.