What is Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine is a synthetic derivative of the alkaloid substance vincamine. Vincamine is found in the leaves of lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor), and has been used medicinally for centuries. Vinpocetine was first isolated from the plant in the 1960s, and has since been synthetically manufactured for use as a drug.
Vinpocetine is sold as a dietary supplement, and is marketed as a “nootropic” or “cognitive enhancer.” Nootropics are substances that purport to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. While some nootropics have demonstrated some efficacy in clinical studies, the evidence for most is limited.
Vinpocetine is one of the more popular nootropics on the market, and is easily accessible online and in stores. It is often combined with other substances, such as choline, in “stack” formulas marketed for cognitive enhancement.
How does Vinpocetine work?
The exact mechanism of action of vinpocetine is not fully understood. However, it is thought to work by increasing blood flow to the brain and by acting as an antioxidant.
Vinpocetine has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow in animals and humans. It does this by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, an enzyme that breaks down cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP is a molecule that helps to regulate blood flow. By inhibiting phosphodiesterase, vinpocetine increases the level of cAMP, and thus prevents it from breaking down. This leads to vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), which in turn increases blood flow to the brain.
In addition to its effects on cerebral blood flow, vinpocetine is also an antioxidant. It scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protects cells from oxidative stress.
What are the benefits of Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine is marketed as a cognitive enhancer, and is claimed to improve memory, focus, and cognitive function.
The evidence for these claims is mixed. A few small studies have found that vinpocetine may improve memory in healthy adults and in those with dementia, but larger and more well-designed studies are needed.
In addition to its cognitive effects, vinpocetine has also been investigated for its potential to treat other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and hearing loss. However, the evidence for these uses is preliminary and further research is needed.
Are there any side effects of Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine is generally well-tolerated when taken as directed. The most common side effects are headache, dizziness, and nausea.
Vinpocetine may also cause low blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness or fainting. If you experience these side effects, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid standing for long periods of time.
It is important to note that vinpocetine is a synthetic compound, and has not been extensively studied in humans. As such, its long-term safety is not known. If you are considering taking vinpocetine, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider first.
Dosage and Preparation
Vinpocetine is available in oral supplement form. It is typically sold in capsules or tablets, and is usually taken one to three times daily.
As always, speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including vinpocetine. They can help you determine the best dose for your individual needs.
Vinpocetine is rapidly and almost completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract following oral administration. The bioavailability of vinpocetine is approximately 100%.
Vinpocetine is metabolized in the liver, and the metabolites are excreted in the urine. The half-life of vinpocetine is 1-2 hours.
Warnings and Interactions
Vinpocetine may interact with certain medications, such as blood pressure drugs, blood thinners, and seizure medications. Therefore, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before taking vinpocetine if you are taking any other medications.
Vinpocetine may also cause low blood pressure. If you experience dizziness or fainting, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid standing for long periods of time.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid taking vinpocetine. There is not enough evidence to know if it is safe for these populations.
As always, speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including vinpocetine. They can help you determine if it is safe for you and help you figure out the best dose.