Vinpocetine derived from Tabersonine, an alkaloid extracted from
seeds of the Voacana tree that is native to West Africa. Vinpocetine
supports brain metabolism by increasing cerebral synthesis of ATP, the
universal “currency” of energy. Vinpocetine enhances brain
metabolism by improving utilization of oxygen and circulation.
Vinpocetine also increases the synthesis of several neurotransmitters
that affect critical brain functions such as memory recall, focus and
Vinpocetine is less well known in the United States than other
supplements for neurological support, such as Ginkgo, but we have found
over the years that it is one of the more effective supplements for
supporting neurological function and have observed significant
improvements in our son when taking it.
Since it was first synthesized in the late
1960s, vinpocetine has been used to maintain and improve brain health
and cognition. It is widely used in Japan and many European countries to
treat a number of cerebrovascular diseases. As a dietary supplement,
vinpocetine offers potential neuroprotective effects as well.
Vinpocetine inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 1 (PDE1)
while reducing intracellular calcium levels, both of which normally
cause blood vessels to contract and narrow the diameter of the vessels.
This inhibition allows brain blood vessels to open and increases
the amount of blood flowing through them.
By inhibiting PDE1, as well as through its antioxidant properties,
vinpocetine reduces the stickiness of red blood cells and platelets.
This allows blood to flow more easily through narrowed vessels.
Vinpocetine is also a sodium channel blocker that may protect the cells
by preventing the accumulation of sodium in injured brain cells.
This may also contribute to preserving brain cells’ ability to
restructure themselves after an injury and to rapidly restore cognitive
function. Growing evidence
suggests that it may be beneficial in treating or preventing acute
ischemic strokes and various forms of dementia.
In chronic vascular ischemia, it is important to increase blood flow
to the affected areas to increase the delivery of both oxygen and
glucose, the brain’s only source of energy. Using positron
emission tomography (PET) scanning, Hungarian investigators demonstrated
that administering vinpocetine led to an increase in glucose transport
into the whole brain. Other researchers showed that vinpocetine
increased brain glucose uptake and metabolism, especially in areas
nearest damaged tissue. Other studies using transcranial Doppler
ultrasound and other techniques have also demonstrated increased
regional blood flow and enhanced glucose supply to brain tissue in
response to vinpocetine.
Data seems to support a role for vinpocetine in acute treatment of
stroke, and might be the basis for recommending its regular use in
patients at high risk for acute stroke.
An early analysis of seven small trials reported that patients with
various forms of dementia who supplemented with vinpocetine became
“more vivid” and saw improvements in their cognitive performance and
daily activity. Because this was a report of multiple trials in
differing categories of patients and with different outcome measures, it
is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from it. A more recent and
rigorous analysis of multiple trials of vinpocetine for cognitive
impairment and dementia showed benefit associated with taking oral
vinpocetine at doses of 30-60 mg per day. The number of patients
treated for longer than six months was small, however, and because of
variability in design and outcome measures in the three studies these
authors reviewed, they concluded that there was inconclusive evidence
for the use of vinpocetine in patients with dementia. These authors
emphasized the need for larger clinical trials with clearly defined
inclusion criteria and outcome measurements.
Promising evidence from the laboratory suggests that vinpocetine
protects brain tissue from the oxidative stress caused by the
“Alzheimer’s protein” known as amyloid beta or Abeta.
Because vinpocetine also blocks the NMDA receptors that are thought to
be involved in the genesis of Alzheimer’s disease, vinpocetine
supplements have a potential role in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Vinpocetine has long been used in Eastern Europe to treat various
forms of hearing disorders. A 1986 review of eight independent studies
of substances that enhance blood flow found that vinpocetine produced
improvements in hearing as well as in “ringing” of the ears, or
tinnitus, following trauma to the ear. A decade later, an
open-label study of vinpocetine at a dose of 20 mg a day for 10 days
following trauma to the ear showed that vinpocetine supported
significant improvement in hearing and a decrease in tinnitus, with the
best results seen in patients who took the supplement within one week of
Ingredients: 1 capsule provides the following:
% DAILY VALUE
* No Daily Value has been established for this ingredient
Other Ingredients: Cellulose and magnesium
stearate (vegetable source). Capsule consists of gelatin. No
wheat, no gluten, no soy, no dairy, no egg, no fish/shellfish, no
Dosage: The recommended adult dosage is as a dietary
supplement take 1 gelcap daily away from food, or as directed by a health
Caution: Individuals using blood-thinning medications,
including aspirin, should not use vinpocetine.
These statements have not been evaluated
by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.