Nerves are in charge of passing messages from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body to create motion and sensation. They operate a little bit like kids playing telephone- one nerve meets another nerve and passes on a message, that nerve meets the next nerve, and so on, until the message reaches its destination. In the ‘neuronal junction’, or space connecting two nerves, the message is passed in the form of chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter released at the ‘neuromuscular junction’ where a nerve meets a muscle. Acetylcholine receptors are found on the surface of myofibrils (the fancy name for cells that make up a muscle). When acetylcholine binds to these receptors, contraction begins. In this case, acetylcholine allows for fast, efficient activation and contraction. It also functions in the brain to enhance the effects of other neurotransmitters.
Once a signal is passed and acetylcholine is free in the junction between a nerve and a muscle cell, it is metabolized and broken down by acetylcholinesterase. When this occurs, the signal is stopped. If this process is inhibited, the degradation of acetylcholine is delayed and the strength of the signal is increased.
Luckily for us, there’s a supplement ingredient for that…
Huperzine-A is a naturally occurring alkaloid derived from moss plants, used as a supplement ingredient to block acetylcholinesterase (AchE) from degrading acetylcholine. As a result, nervous signals for muscle contraction are prolonged and strengthened. This positive effect on muscle contraction is obviously a great addition to a workout- but don’t underestimate the effect of the brain on athletic performance.
Huperzine-A has been reported by students, business professionals, and even physicians to be extremely helpful in increasing long term memory and concentration abilities. How does this relate to athletes? Well, consider bringing the capability to concentrate at the gym or out on a run. There is no doubt that a sharper mind will withstand mental fatigue and overcome physical barriers with much greater ease when compared to an unfocused mind.
Check out our Feral Preworkout to keep your mind and muscles sharp and activated with Huperzine-A.
Nadim, F., & Bucher, D. (2014). Neuromodulation of neurons and synapses. Current opinion in neurobiology, 29, 48–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2014.05.003
Picciotto, M.R., Higley, M., J., Mineur, Y. S. (2012). Acetylcholine as a Neuromodulator: Cholinergic Signaling Shapes Nervous System Function and Behavior. Neuron, 76,116-129.