What is Vinpocetine? Periwinkle plant derivative.
Bio-Activities: Vasodilator; enhances blood flow to the brain. Energizer; helps the brain utilize oxygen. Antioxidant; protects the brain from oxidative stress.
Widely used in Europe for a range of brain issues, vinpocetine is a compound that is synthesized from the periwinkle (Vinca Minor) plant.* Native to Europe and western Asia, the periwinkle is a short, creeping vine-like plant that spreads quickly, bearing beautiful blue-purple flowers in spring that continue to bloom throughout the summer.
While the periwinkle’s hearty nature makes it useful in creating pleasing landscape designs, its alkaloids may be invaluable for those who are seeking to optimize their memory and mental performance – because they may be synthesized into the brain-supporting compound, vinpocetine.*
Though it has been popular in Europe and other parts of the world for decades, vinpocetine’s arrival in the United States is relatively recent; it has been available as a supplement here only since the late 1990s. As a testament to its long-standing use in Europe, vinpocetine has been extensively studied for its potential impact on a range of mental performance parameters.* Most commonly, vinpocetine is used to support memory, concentration, focus, and learning.*
How does vinpocetine do it? Similar to ginkgo biloba, vinpocetine is considered a vasodilator that helps to promote healthy circulation to the brain.* Studies suggest that vinpocetine may influence cerebral oxygenation, thereby supporting healthy metabolism and peak energy in the brain.* Vinpocetine is also a potent antioxidant in the class of vitamin E, another antioxidant powerhouse. Vinpocetine’s significant antioxidant capacity is believed to help the brain with the damaging effects of free radicals.*
Hallmark Research: Researchers have reported that studies in various laboratories support vinpocetine’s brain health-promoting activity, suggesting that vinpocetine offers significant and direct neuro-support. Vinpocetine’s ability to promote healthy blood flow in the brain may also help to support cognitive performance.* Scientists have extensively studied the relationship between poor cerebral circulation and impaired cognitive function, especially in the aging brain. One study investigated how vinpocetine would affect patients with aging brain, administering the neuronutrient in 5mg servings one time only and three times per day. After seven days, researchers reported that just one serving of vinpocetine was associated with an increase in blood flow, and that blood flow increased even more with multiple servings – leading them to suggest that vinpocetine may have a positive impact on those with aging brains.* [Miyazaki , M. Correlation between cerebral circulation and intellectual impairment in patients with “Aging Brain”, and the effect of vinpocetine on cerebral circulation. Drug. Dev. Res, 14:199-204 (1988).] ABSTRACT AT: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/109670813/abstract
Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology seems to validate the body’s rapid response to vinpocetine. In this study, researchers reported that subjects taking 40 mg. of vinpocetine for only two days experienced a “significant improvement” in memory. [Subhan Z, Hindmarch I. Psychopharmacological effects of vinpocetine in normal healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1985;28(5):567-71.] Vinpocetine’s brain-promoting impact may best be exemplified in a meta-analysis that combined the results of three different studies. The researchers behind this meta-analysis found that patients with cognitive decline experienced significant improvement in memory, attention and cognitive performance after taking vinpocetine. [Wollschlaeger B. Efficacy of vinpocetine in the management of cognitive impairment and memory loss. JANA. 2001; 4:25 -30.]
Bottom Line Brain Benefits: Vinpocetine plays a role in supporting cerebral circulation and cognitive function, and is perfect for mild memory problems associated with aging.*
In Europe, vinpocetine is a popular supplement for addressing a range of cognitive problems including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and memory loss.
- A study in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that subjects taking 40 mg of vinpocetine for only two days experienced a significant improvement in memory, while a seven-study meta-analysis found that patients suffering from dementia enjoyed enhanced mental clarity and an overall boost in cognitive performance after supplementing with vinpocetine.
Did you know? Vinpocetine’s ability to boost blood flow to the brain is believed to enhance the delivery and effectiveness of other neuronutrients. Ginkgo biloba shares this same “side effect.”
Bottom Line Brain Benefits: Vinpocetine plays a role in supporting cerebral circulation and cognitive function, and is perfect for mild memory problems associated with aging.