If you wait around long enough in the health world, eventually ancient treatments seem to creep back into the limelight.
Take galantamine, for example. It’s a natural alkaloid from flowers that was first used to restore memory over 2,000 years ago. Now, modern research is finally rediscovering what our ancestors knew centuries ago. This is great news for people struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or those interested in nootropic supplements.
Galantamine Benefits for Alzheimer’s Disease
Most patent medications used today as treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia are designed to boost levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. But most of these patent medicines also have a long list of possible side effects. Galantamine, a cholinergic drug, does the same job, but naturally – with very little potential for adverse effects.
Galantamine even goes a step further and improves acetylcholine’s effectiveness – an action no patent medication has.
Galantamine is a beneficial alkaloid derived from the Galanthus Causasius plant’s flowers and has been synthetically manufactured for decades by Russian chemists and is classed as a Central acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drug sold under brand names like Razadyne and Razadyne ER.
There have been lots of research studies published about galantamine. One of the most recent reports was presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, in May 2002. A research team led by Murray Raskind, M.D. (director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Puget Sound Healthcare System, Tacoma, Washington) compared mental function results in Alzheimer’s patients taking galantamine with expected rates of cognitive decline in untreated patients.
According their analysis, after three years, 53 percent of patients on galantamine experienced less than half the cognitive decline expected in untreated Alzheimer’s patients over the same time period.
The investigators estimate that galantamine can delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 18 months.
While galantamine isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, this and other research shows that it’s at least as effective- if not more so- than much more expensive patent medicines, and has much less risk.
Lessen “senior moments” in a matter of months
But even if you’ re not battling Alzheimer’s, you’ve probably had at least a few experiences that can be chalked up to “senior moments.” These sudden unexpected, and frustrating lapses of memory become more and more common as you age. Admittedly, there aren’t any double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of galantamine’s effects on this problem, but many individuals I’ve worked with have reported an improvement both in memory function in general and a lessening of “senior moments” after taking galantamine for just a few months.
Galantamine As a Nootropic
Galantamine has long been used for its nootropic properties, including a noticeable boost in general cognition, an aid in reaching a state of lucid dreaming, an overall sleep aid, memory booster and learning tool.
What is Galantamine’s mechanism?
There are primarily two MOA, and not surprisingly, they both have to do with Acetylcholine in the brain.
First, it works in harmony with receptors in the brain to make neurotransmission of Acetylcholine even more effective.
Secondly, it inhibits the action of the Acetylcholinesterase enzyme, effectively increasing the amount of circulating and usable Acetylcholine in the brain.
Coming and going, Galantamine helps the brain to better receive and use a steadier supply of Acetylcholine.
What are Galantamine’s nootropic benefits?
With the increased levels of available, circulating Acetylcholine in the brain, there are many!
Possibly the greatest benefit is that the brain is much more able to learn and remember new things. Much anecdotal evidence exists from supplement users claiming noticeable increases in memory speed, decision-making, concentration, focus and attention span. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see more research, studies and clinical trials on ADHD sufferers?
Associated closely with these benefits are Galantamine’s sleep benefits. Users report being able to relax and fall asleep quicker and achieve a deeper sleep for longer. Who couldn’t benefit from more restful sleep as the brain and body repair and renew themselves? No wonder users report waking feeling more refreshed!
Some scientists are also researching whether Galantamine might also release additional neurotransmitters in the brain like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This is potentially very exciting since these neurotransmitters have a widespread effect on cognitive and energy levels.
Dosing Galantamine correctly is a very personal process based on each individuals mental makeup and goals. Generally, the recommended range is between 4 mg and 12 mg taken twice daily, preferably with food to keep levels regulated. It’s not recommended to exceed 24 mg per day. The drug is commonly available in tablets of 4, 8 and 12 mg doses. Extended Release tablets are dosed as 8, 16 and 24 mg.
I thought you might find this guy’s opinions on Galantamine as interesting as I did. He focuses especially on REM sleep, dream recall and lucid dreaming.
Galantamine Side Effects, Risks and Contraindications
Considered generally safe, there are some side effects and contraindications to keep in mind to ensure complete safety.
Common side effects include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea and headache.
More serious side effects include mood swings, insomnia, loss of focus and attention, depression, lower back pain and suppressed appetite and weight loss.
Rarely, users are allergic to Galantamine and might develop swelling around the mouth or skin irritations. Some have reported blood in their stool.
Galantamine is contraindicated with other cholinesterase inhibitors.
There’s no known risk for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If you experience any of these side effects, immediately discontinue use and consult your doctor.