If you are interested in nootropics and overall brain enhancement, it may be of value to learn about acetylcholinesterase. Basically, acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that is naturally within the body that is typically bad for cognition.
This article will explain the basic biology of acetylcholinesterase and how an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor may add value to your nootropic stack.
Acetylcholinesterase vs. Acetylcholine
If you are just learning about nootropics, you may have heard the word, acetylcholine thrown around quite frequently. This is because acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has positive effects on cognition. Alpha GPC, citicoline, acetyl l-carnitine, centrophenoxine, and choline bitartrate are all in some way related to the production of acetylcholine and taking or stacking these nootropic supplements can boost the production of acetylcholine.
Racetam nootropics like piracetam, pramiracetam and aniracetam are all acetylcholine receptor agonists (stimulators). Instead of helping in the production of acetylcholine, they stimulate the acetylcholine receptors which may help many areas of cognition. This is why racetam nootropics are commonly stacked with an acetylcholine booster or choline source.
Acetylcholinesterases’ main function is to terminate acetylcholine. One is a natural neurotransmitter whereas, the other is an enzyme. Too much acetylcholinesterase is not good for cognition because is hydrolyzes acetylcholine before it reaches the receptor. Acetylcholinesterase basically “hangs out” in front of acetylcholine receptors and terminates the signal transmission from taking place. For this reason, high levels of acetylcholinesterase can be bad for cognition (especially memory).
What Is the Function of Acetylcholinesterase?
Acetylcholinesterase is required in neuromuscular movement. The whole process of neuromuscular movement is quite complex however, both acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase are needed for any successful muscle movement to take place. Acetylcholine basically initiates a muscle movement whereas acetylcholinesterase terminates the movement and allows the muscle to relax.
Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors – Irreversible vs. Reversible
Without acetylcholinesterase, muscles would not be able to relax. Many poisons act as irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which can act to paralyze the muscles. Nerve agents used in the past as chemical weapons also act as irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors by causing muscles to convulse.
On the other hand, reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can have some positive nootropic qualities. Reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors do not cause the same life threatening problems and can have many therapeutic effects in humans.
Reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used for Alzheimer’s disease. They may help to slow the process and reduce the symptoms of this terrible memory disease.
The main cognitive benefits of reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are to reduce the destruction of acetylcholine. By doing this, higher cognition and memory can often be helped. This is especially true for those suffering from chronic memory problems. Some of these people may have higher than needed levels of acetylcholinesterase which can often be tamed with the use of an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Natural Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors
There is a long list of reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in both natural and drug forms that can be obtained. Many of these are used as prescription modifications and cannot be obtained by just anyone. For this reason, natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can be obtained legally in most countries. Don’t be fooled by the natural part, as the two compounds listed below are often just as strong as the prescription ones.
Galantamine is a natural alkaloid obtained mostly from the Galanthus plant (AKA. Snowdrop). The interesting thing about galantamine is that it is both unregulated and a prescription within the United States. Galantamine is commonly prescribed by doctors to help with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Regardless of this, it can still be obtained over the counter for certain retailers.
Huperzine a is another very powerful and natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Huperzine a is obtained from a type of Chinese moss. Like galantamine, it can be obtained over the counter as a natural product. In terms of efficiency, both galantamine and huperzine a are both very powerful supplements and taking them may help with your acetylcholinesterase based memory problems.
Stacking an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor with a racetam/choline stack may have great benefits for cognition. It may influence the overall productivity of the stack by reducing the amount of acetylcholine hydrolyzed by acetylcholinesterase. Like anything, taking only a very small amount of an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor will reduce the chances of negative consequences. Side effects can occur with higher levels of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors as well as racetam nootropics. Use with caution.