Vinpocetine has been used for many years in Europe to enhance memory and mental function
Vinpocetine is an extract from the Periwinkle plant that has long been used to enhance the health of the brain. By dilating arteries and capillaries in the head it helps improve circulation to the brain. It also has powerful antioxidant properties, guarding against free radical damage. The brain is susceptible to oxidative damage because it has such a high content of fat, and because it uses such an extraordinary amount of energy. So it’s imperative that we give our brains every bit of protection possible.
What’s Vinpocetine For?
For 25 years, Vinpocetine has been used for cerebral circulatory dysfunctions, such as memory impairment, stroke, aphasia (inability to speak), apraxia (inability to recognise articles or move correctly), and other motor disorders.
Vinpocetine has also been found to alleviate vertigo, tinnitus and other inner ear problems, as well as headaches. It has been of help relieving disorders of the eyes. Aspects of all of these afflictions have been associated with free radical damage.
A decade ago, a study at Takeda Chemical in Japan found that Vinpocetine could help inhibit oxidative damage to lipids (fatty molecules) in brain tissue. Another study has shown it to be capable of making ‘headway’ against the hydroxyl radical, a free radical so destructive that it is like a bull in a china shop, especially within the neurons of your brain.
How Vinpocetine Works
Vinpocetine acts by improving blood flow and increasing metabolism, thus enhancing the efficiency of cellular energy production. At the same time, both glucose and oxygen get used more efficiently by the brain. The platelet protection activity of vinpocetine, which prevents stickiness of blood in the cerebral arteries, is also thought to be beneficial.
Key neurotransmitters involved in memory function are enhanced by Vinpocetine. These include noradrenaline (the brain’s version of adrenaline), dopamine (for motor function, reward-seeking behaviour and spatial working memory tasks), acetylcholine (for focus, increased attention span and foundation memory functions), and serotonin (for mood regulation and sleep). Without enough serotonin, we are susceptible to depression, sleep disorders, addiction disorders and appetite disturbances.
Vinpocetine has been shown to stimulate an area of the brain known as the locus coeruleus (LC), which is known to be involved with the sleep- wake cycle, anxiety, stress, and the autonomic control of behavior and mental function. The long noradrenaline mediated neurons of the LC play a role in regulating learning and memory. Unfortunately, these neurons decline in number with age, resulting in loss of concentration, alertness and information-processing ability.
Vinpocetine may improve overall cerebral efficiency, resulting in brain cells that can better retain information, so we can remember more.
Twelve healthy female student volunteers received Vinpocetine 40mg 3 x a day or placebo for 2 days in a randomised, double-blind crossover design. On the third day of treatment and an hour after the morning dosage, the students completed a series of psychological tests. Those who took Vinpocetine had significantly improved memory compared to the placebo.
In another double blind clinical trial, Vinpocetine was shown to improve cognitive function in elderly subjects. Forty-two patients received 10mg Vinpocetine 3 x a day for 30 days, then 5mg 3 x a day for 60 days. Placebo tablets were given to another 40 patients for the 90-day trial. The patients on Vinpocetine scored consistently better in all cognitive evaluations, and no serious side-effects were reported.
Derived from Vincamine, an extract of the Periwinkle plant.