Vinpocetine is a synthetic modification of vincamine – a natural plant substance (alkaloid), which comes from the small periwinkle (Vinca minor).
It is used as a drug in brain disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, where its effect is controversial there.
It increases the blood flow in the brain, enhances memory, and ensures a healthy microcirculation of the blood in the internal organs of the eyes and ears.
In addition, it has some neuroprotective properties.
Some studies suggest that Vinpocetins may increase the brain’s storage capacity.
In the US and Germany, it is no longer commercially available as a drug, but it is sold as a dietary supplement, in addition, it is popular among bodybuilders.
The Effect of Vinpocetine
Vinpocetine (lat. Ethylapovincaminoat) is produced since the end of the 1960s from vincamin, an alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the small periwinkle. When taken orally, the remedy is not completely absorbed. But the amounts taken up in blood are quickly and easily transferred to the brain where the drug can perform its function. In oral vinpocetine supplementation, the modes of action are neuroprotection (against toxins and excessive stimulation) and a reduction in neural inflammation.
An improvement in focus does not seem to have been adequately substantiated by appropriate evidence at this time. Vinpocetine is effective when it comes to improving memory. In addition, the agent also prevents toxins or other stressors from causing amnesia.
Even against cognitive decay, the nootropic compound seems to be effective, although the amount of literature on this subject is not particularly numerous. In addition, some studies have found an improvement in memory when given 40 mg. Taking Vinpocetine improves cerebral blood flow and reduces headaches caused by excessive pressure, which is consistent with the traditional use of the small periwinkle plant.
The mechanisms of action of the nootropic agent are very numerous. It seems to interact with several ion channels of sodium, potassium and calcium. In addition, Vinpocetine increases the concentration of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The agent also interacts with adrenergic receptors and the TSPO receptor, the latter responsible for, among other things, the synthesis of steroid hormones.
Although the utility of interacting with the receptors is not yet well known, it is likely to be relevant as it occurs at the same concentration as the ion channel interaction. In addition, Vinpocetine is a PDE1 inhibitor, which has positive effects on cardiovascular and memory performance. Unfortunately, this inhibition occurs only at a fairly large dose, which does not correspond to the standard dosage of the dietary supplement.
A dietary supplement is a product intended for ingestion containing a nutritional component. The product is intended to add or supplement human nutritional value. This ingredient may be a vitamin, a mineral, a herb or botanical product, an amino acid, or a combination of these ingredients.
- Vinpocetine is a semi-synthetic alkaloid derived from the plant “Small Periwinkle”, which is used in traditional remedies for headaches and migraines.
- It works by boosting cerebral blood flow and supporting the brain’s energy-intensive processes.
- As a nootropic agent, it is mainly used for its positive effect on memory.
- It has antioxidant properties, influences neurotransmitter levels, and appears to inhibit inflammation.
- There is some evidence from several studies that it restricts tinnitus symptoms (it promotes blood flow to the internal ear organs).
- Dosage: Due to the short half-life, the daily dose should be divided into several single doses. Between 15mg and 30mg / day (3x 5mg – 10mg) is a good start. Even smaller amounts (5mg – 10mg / day) can be effective. Important: It should be taken in combination with a food source.
- Vinpocetine is generally considered safe and well researched. However, side effects such as headache, nausea, and sleep disorders are reported.
- It is sold in some countries for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The usual dosage is between 15mg and 60mg per day. It is recommended to divide the daily dose into 2 – 3 smaller single doses and to take it evenly throughout the day.
Initially no more than 5 – 10mg / day should be given. Since the effect of the dosage amount is individually dependent (weight, metabolism, etc), it is possible that even a small amount is sufficient.
Due to poor bioavailability (6.2 – 6.7% in humans), it should be eaten together with a food source – so it can better be absorbed by the body (by 60-100%).
As it affects blood clotting and vasodilator activity, it is not advised to take it with other blood thinning agents. If you are going to have surgery, do not use vinpocetine several weeks before surgery, as it increases the risk of bleeding.
It is quickly absorbed by the body (about 20 minutes), and has a half-life of 1.46 hours; After 2-3 hours after ingestion, it can no longer be detected in the blood.
It is non-water soluble; the conventional dosage form is the pill form.
Benefits of Vinpocetine
- Vinpocetine maintains normal blood clotting.
- It increases the concentration of some neurotransmitters (including dopamine, norepinephrine) in the brain.
- It provides an improvement in the oxygen and glucose supply in the brain.
- Improves memory and concentration.
- Improves cerebral circulation.
- Has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Relief of stroke symptoms.
- Promotes the health of the cardiovascular system.
Vinpocetine has several mechanisms of action that are responsible for the antioxidant, neuroprotective, and vasodilatory effects.
It increases the messenger cyclic GMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate), which is responsible for the transmission of cell signals and promotes vasodilation.
As a result, the blood becomes thicker (blood vessels expand), and more oxygen and glucose can be carried, moreover, waste products are transported away from the brain faster.
In a study of 12 female participants, acute increases in memory formation were observed after receiving a dose of 40mg of vinpocetine.
In the following two hours, there was a slower decline in cognitive performance.
It increases the blood flow in the auditory organs, and can, therefore, be used to treat tinnitus. Already in several studies, one saw a significant decrease in the Tinnitus symptoms.
Vinpocetine is being studied as a complementary treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe that adding Vinpocetine increases brain oxygen consumption, improves blood circulation, and protects brain cells from damage. This is done by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase. Here further research is needed.
Reduction of nerve inflammation
Vinpocetine appears to play a role in neuroprotection and the reduction of neuritis. There are also studies that certify that the agent has a shorter reaction time and protection against amnesia. Unfortunately, scientific statements are still very poor.
Vinpocetine is generally well tolerated by humans. There were no serious side effects in the clinical trial, but there are no reports of long-term users.
However, side effects such as headache, abdominal pain, sleep problems, and drowsiness are reported.
It should not be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding as there are no studies available yet.
In one case, a decrease in white blood cells has been reported.
There are indications that Vinpocetine weakens the immune system during long-term use.
Conclusion: Vinpocetine Benefits
Vinpocetine has great benefits. It improves blood flow, memory and more. For a detailed description of all vinpocetine benefits, read the section above.
However, research on Vinpocetine is lacking and no concrete health claims and recommendations should be made. If you like experimenting with nootropics, Vinpocetine is definitely worth a try.