Vinpocetine

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Vinpocetine is thought to have many benefits, such as the ability to enhance circulation in the brain, dilate blood vessels, and improve oxygen use in the brain. Vinpocetine may also increase use of glucose and oxygen in the rest of the body, which may be of interest to any individual who participates in long-distance/long-term aerobic events, such as running, skiing, hiking, or the like.

Other names for Vinpocetine

extract of periwinkle, Vinca minor, L Crioceras logiflorus, ethyly apovincaminate

Where to find Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine is chemically related to and derived from vincamine, an alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant, which grows mainly in Africa.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine not only improves cerebral circulation, it also may increase use of glucose and oxygen in the rest of the body, which may be of interest to any individual who participates in long-distance/long-term aerobic events, such as running, skiing, or the like. If endurance isn’t your main interest, however, I’m afraid it doesn’t have many performance benefits. Nonetheless, if you’re a more mature individual or even a bit younger and just want to improve how well your brain functions (thinking/reasoning abilities, memory, etc.), then vinpocetine may be worth including on your shopping list.

Ways that Vinpocetine can enhance Energy & Endurance:
  • Improve oxygen use, especially in the brain but also in the body
  • Increase glucose levels in the brain, which is necessary for energy production
Ways that Vinpocetine can enhance Mental Functioning:
  • Improve memory by increasing circulation and oxygen use in the brain
  • Enhance blood circulation in the brain by dilating blood vessels

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Vinpocetine deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for Vinpocetine

Research indicates that Vinpocetine may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo

DISCUSSION

More about Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine has been used in Europe in clinical practice for cerebrovascular (the vessels supplying blood to the brain and the brain itself) disorders and related disorders of the brain for over two decades. It’s thought to have many benefits, such as the ability to enhance circulation in the brain, dilate blood vessels, and improve oxygen use in the brain. Why is this important? Because when glucose is burned for brain fuel without enough oxygen, it produces only 5% of its ATP energy. When sufficient oxygen is present, it produces 100%. That’s a big difference.

If the brain continues to run on low oxygen levels, it can lead to a slow deterioration of the brain and its very important functions (such as thinking). In a worst case scenario, senile dementia or stroke can occur.

Vinpocetine is an alkaloid obtained from the African plant Crioceras longiflorus. Levels of up to 40 mg 3 times per day have been used in studies to reduce cerebral dysfunction and improve cognition (thinking) and memory. The average person, however, probably doesn’t need more than approximately 5 to 15 mg per day according to usual recommendations.

The aging brain

It is known that aging causes a reduction of blood flow to the brain and decreases the activity of the brain cells. Vinpocetine appears to improve circulation along with the availability of oxygen to the brain. More importantly, it appears to have the ability to inhibit abnormal platelet aggregation (or the collection of the tiny disks that help blood clot), which may help prevent a stroke or similar abnormal brain function.

Vinpocentine also appears to have benefits for people who may already suffer from cerebral problems. In fact, vinpocetine has been proven in many studies. One of which was the Gidean Richter study, which took 882 patients with neurological disorders such as stroke or cerebral insufficiency and found a 62% increase in memory with the subjects using vinpocetine.

Performance benefits?

But why should this interest people striving for improved fitness? Well, vinpocetine not only improves cerebral circulation, it also may increase the use of glucose and oxygen in the rest of the body, which may be of interest to any individual who participates in long-distance/long-term aerobic events, such as running, skiing, or the like.

If endurance isn’t your main interest, however, I’m afraid, at least on a performance level, it doesn’t have many benefits. Nonetheless, if you’re a more mature individual or even a bit younger and just want to improve how well your brain functions (thinking/reasoning abilities, memory, etc.), then vinpocetine may be worth including on your shopping list. This nutrient appears to have some exciting benefits for brain power.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

Anywhere from 5 to 40 mg per day is recommended, depending on why you’re supplementing with the product. The average person, however, probably doesn’t need more than approximately 5 to 15 mg per day according to usual recommendations.Consult with a health-care practitioner for higher usage recommendations.

Note

You may have to use vinpocetine for up to six weeks to fully realize its benefits.

Timing

Vinpocetine is thought to be better absorbed when taken with food.

Synergists of Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine is often used with Ginkgo biloba, Vitamin E, phosphatidylcholine, and other nutrients in memory/brain support formulas.


Toxicity of Vinpocetine

There is no toxicity noted at the levels recommended, but no safety studies have been done on higher amounts. Do not use if pregnant or lactating.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Balestreri, R., et al., “A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Evaluation of the Safety and Efficacy of Vinpocetine in the Treatment of Patients with Chronic Vascular Senile Cerebral Dysfunction,” J Am Geriatr Soc 35 (1987) : 425-30.
  • Bereczki, D., and Fekete, I., “A Systematic Review of Vinpocetine Therapy in Acute Ischaemic Stroke,” Eur J Clin Pharmacol 55 (1999) : 349-52.
  • Cholnoky, E., and Domok, L., “Summary of Safety Tests of Vinpocetine,” AF(DR) 28 (1976) : 1938-44.
  • Feigin, V.L., et al., “Vinpocetine Treatment in Acute Ischaemic Stroke: A Pilot Single-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial,” Eur J Neurol 8.1 (2001) : 81-5.
  • Kiss, B., and Karpati, E., “Mechanism of Action of Vinpocetine,” Acta Pharm Hung 66.5 (1996) : 213-24.
  • Nicholson, C., “Pharmacology of Nootropics and Metabolically Active Compounds in Relation to Their Use in Dementia,” Psychopharm 101 (1990) : 147-59.
  • Coleston, D.M., and Hindmarch, I., “Possible Memory Enhancing Properties of Vinpocetine,” Drug Dv Res 14 (1988) : 191-3.