Hordenine: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

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Key Information

Hordenine is a natural stimulant:

Hordenine is an extract from a cactus plant that can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and norepinephrine levels.

Hordenine can inhibit melanin production:

Hordenine can reduce the pigment that gives skin color, which may help with some skin issues.

Hordenine is a MAO inhibitor:

Hordenine can prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine, which may affect mood and motivation.

Hordenine has not been well-studied:

Hordenine has limited human research and may have serious side effects when taken with other medications or supplements.

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Hordenine – An Overview

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Hordenine occurs naturally in barley (and beer)

Hordenine (N,N-Dimethyltyramine, Anhaline, peyocactine) is an all-natural extract from the Anhalonium fissuratum cactus plant that may have some nootropic benefits. It is used for:

  • Attention and alertness
  • Mood
  • Antibiotic and antimicrobial properties
  • Skin protection

Hordenine is naturally found in barley, and may be present in low levels in beer.1Jay D. Mann, Carol E. Steinhart, S. Harvey Mudd. Alkaloids and Plant Metabolism V. THE DISTRIBUTION AND FORMATION OF TYRAMINE METHYLPHERASE DURING GERMINATION OF BARLEY The Journal Of Biological Chemistry. 1963

What Does Hordenine Do?

Increases Alertness/Stimulant

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Hordenine is such an effective stimulant that it is banned in horse racing

Hordenine is a known stimulant. It is actually effective enough that it is banned in horse racing.

It stimulates heart function, constricts blood vessels and relaxes bronchioles, making it a performance enhancing drug in this sport.2Frank M, et al. Hordenine: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and behavioural effects in the horse Equine Vet J. 1990

Hordenine can increase the effect of norepinephrine by inhibiting MAO-B, which breaks it down. Norepinepherine is a stimulatory transmitter that mobilizes the brain and body for action.

So, increasing levels of this hormone can have a definite stimulatory effect.3Barwell CJ, Basma AN, Lafi MA, Leake LD. Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat J Pharm Pharmacol. 1989

One study shows that it “increases systolic and diastolic blood pressure, peripheral blood flow volume.”

It releases stored epinephrine vs stimulating new epinephrine to give a slight jolt. All effects are short and only possible after high doses, it concluded.4Hapke HJ, Strathmann W. Pharmacological effects of hordenineDtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 1995

Skin Protection

Hordenine can inhibit melanin production. Melanin is a necessary skin pigment, but when it is overproduced, it can cause skin issues like melasma or discoloration.

However, there is some evidence that hordenine can decrease melanin production by up to 30%.

It does this by inhibiting cAMP production, which is a melanin precursor.5Kim SC, et al. Hordenine, a single compound produced during barley germination, inhibits melanogenesis in human melanocytes Food Chem. 2013

How Hordenine Works In The Brain

Hordenine is a phenylethylamine alkaloid. Although researchers are not totally sure of it’s exact mechanism of action, it seems to work as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine.

So, by inhibiting MAO, hordenine could raise overall levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain. This may be the reason for its effect on mood and motivation.6A. Schweitzer and Samson Wright. Action of hordenine compounds on the central nervous system J Physiol. 1938

This mechanism of action means that hordenine may be most useful when combined with other nootropics.

For example, phenylethylamine (PEA) is a nootropic that can have great effects on cognition, but it is quickly broken down by MAO.

However, taking it with an MAO inhibitor like hordenine may help extend its effects.

Some users swear by the hordenine PEA stack, although it has not been studied clinically. There are also numerous reports of potentially dangerous side-effects (including addiction) from combining these two nootropics.

Hordenine also has antibacterial and antibiotic properties, and may be useful against staph infection in particular.7Leen Othman, et al. Antimicrobial Activity of Polyphenols and Alkaloids in Middle Eastern Plants Front. Microbiol. 2019

It can also reduce cAMP production, which in turn reduces melanin. This may have benefits for some skin issues. 8Kim SC, et al. Hordenine, a single compound produced during barley germination, inhibits melanogenesis in human melanocytes. Food Chem. 2013

How Much Hordenine Should I Take?

Standard dosage is about 20-50mg per day for humans.

Hordenine Potential Side Effects

Hordenine has not been studied on humans extensively, so its side effect profile is somewhat unknown.

Hordenine may have potentially serious side effects when taken with other medications due to its MAOI effects.

It may cause too many neurotransmitters to build up in the synapses, so consult your physician if you are on any medication.

Because it reduces melanin production, it may decrease UV protection.

Hordenine Reddit Reviews

[su_quote cite=”DrVonNeumann” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/7xce93/hordenine_need_some_info/”]Tried it in 30, 50 and 100mg doses with capsules on empty stomach or those smaller doses with coffee+taurine and it seems to give very mild stimulation alone. Also it changes vision a little bit, but its not as motivating as caffeine+taurine(this combo gives me a lot of energy). Anyway worth trying( i bought it for around 1 dollar per gram).[/su_quote][su_quote cite=”CausticCatalyst” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/5w2cal/phenylethylamine_hcl_hordenine_hcl/”]As a nootropic, I have used pre-workouts with that combo, which is in small amounts. It’s good for studying or staying awake.[/su_quote][su_quote cite=”u/WIOWTHISISCOOL” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Drugs/comments/27nbxl/peahordenine_no_adderall_no_problem/”]It doesn’t feel very edgy (unless you drink a lot of coffee with it lol). Actually I wouldn’t say the combo by itself feels like caffeine at all, save for the euphoria.[/su_quote]

Wrapping Up

Do you have questions about, supplementing with Hordenine? Do you have experience supplementing with Hordenine? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

1 response to “Hordenine: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!”

  1. Ian Avatar

    I have found no evidence (on pubmed) that Hordinine actually inhibits MAO-B. Do you have any references for this?

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