The Marvel of Vinpocetine for Better Brain Health

The Marvel of Vinpocetine for Better Brain Health

Stay mentally young and sharp with the periwinkle.

In many gardens around the world, the periwinkle plant can be found unassumingly adorning with its green vines and pretty windmill flowers. In recent years, research on this plant has revealed that it is far more remarkable than we realized. Although traditionally employed as a vitality enhancer, especially for older people, it has gained acclaim for its ability as a neuro and cerebro-vascular protective. When it comes to keeping your brain in top condition and working order, one compound extracted from the periwinkle called vinpocetine has proved highly beneficial.

There is no doubt that the brain is your most important organ and making sure it is healthy will ensure a long and quality life. With the prevalence of environmental factors that are wreaking havoc on the brain, the epidemic proportions of neurogenerative diseases, maintaining your brain health is critical. When it comes to cerebral health, it's all about blood flow. The adult brain receives 15% of the heart’s total output of blood and blood is fundamental to the supply of oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients required to function properly. Unlike most other body tissues that can still function for a small while without fresh oxygen, brain tissue has no anaerobic metabolism, so even a small break in oxygenation can lead to permanent brain cell damage. Ensuring plenty of oxygen-rich blood is being supplied to the brain is the foundation of good brain health.

Most people have heard of atherosclerosis, the accumulation of calcified plaque that causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries.  It is often overlooked that cerebral arteries are affected in the same way. With age, free radicals, environmental influences, and dietary deficiencies, blood vessels lose their elasticity and blood flow slows. In addition, certain influences on blood, like elevated levels of red blood cells, can thicken blood, thereby slowing its flow. The simple fact is that healthy blood flow means a healthy body and it is more important than ever to assist where possible to support this necessity.

During the 60s, an ingredient found in periwinkle, vinpocetine, a derivative of the alkaloid vincamine, was discovered to have a significant impact on the blood vessels in the brain, on how blood flows, and indeed on brain cells themselves. Over the last few decades, vinpocetine has been widely used in Europe and Japan as a supplement to support healthy brain function and to assist with neuro-degenerative issues.

Vinpocetine's primary effects come from inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 1 (PDE1), and from reducing intracellular calcium levels (these two factors cause smooth muscle in blood vessels to contract, reducing their diameter.) Vinpocetine thus helps blood vessels in the brain relax and increases the amount of blood flowing through them (Szilagyi G, Nagy Z, Balkay L, et al. Effects of vinpocetine on the redistribution of cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in chronic ischemic stroke patients: a PET study. J Neurol Sci. 2005 Mar 15.) The end result is that more blood flows and more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the brain. Cerebral function, memory, focus, and acuity are all maximized.

Furthermore, vinpocetine protects cells that have been deprived of oxygen and nutrients, as well as protecting from oxidative stress once normal flow is restored. Clinical studies show it may  help to prevent toxic neuronal effects that are at the root of Alzheimer’s disease, and has shown great benefit for patients with chronic cerebral vascular ischemia, stroke, and even some dementia (Szakall S, Boros I, Balkay L, et al. Cerebral effects of a single dose of intravenous vinpocetine in chronic stroke patients: a PET study. J Neuroimaging. 1998 Oct;8.)

Trials in the late 80's reported that dementia patients supplementing with vincpocetine became more 'vivid' with significant improvements in their cognitive performance and daily activity (Nagy Z, Vargha P, Kovacs L, Bonoczk P. Meta-analysis of Cavinton.)  It clearly enhances cognitive functions, especially those involved with memory deposit and recall, and has proven valuable in visual and hearing functions, and even urinary function. Again it bears reiterating that because glucose rich oxygenating blood is so important to so many functions, vinpocetine is a powerful nutritional aid to optimal health.

Vinpocetine effects on brain function include:

  • Improved memory

  • Faster recall

  • Increased alertness and focus

  • Reduced cerebral dysfunction

  • Increased size and flexibility of blood vessels and cells

Because vinpocetine is a nutritional approach, is has enjoyed decades of successful usage with virtually no side effects or adverse events. Our own research at 4 Organics has shown that it has particular efficacy when combined with specific ingredients like phosphatidylserine, gingko, and choline in cerebral / brain function support supplements like CEREBRATE.

How much vinpocetine is ideal will vary from person to person, but most studies showed that the optimal daily amount is 30mg. If you are taking it by itself, it may be best to start off at 10mg and raise it if necessary. I highly recommend a precision formulation designed to work synergistically to enhance all key elements the brain. And although there are no know interactions with drugs, individuals taking prescriptions or with medical conditions should always talk to their doctor first. So if you are looking to keep your most important asset working well into your twilight years, improve your memory, and stave off age-related cognitive decline, be sure to add this amazing plant to your health regimen.

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The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.


    • Avatar
      Jun 16, 2016

      You referenced an article by Nagy Z, Vargha P. Kovacs L, Bonoczk P, Meta-analysis of Carinton. Do you have a copy of the original journal article and if so could you please scan the copy and e-mail it to me or Fax it at 480-807-5225. Thank you so much.

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