Vinpocetine (pronounced vinn-poh-ce-teen) gets its name from the plant Vinca minor (more commonly known as periwinkle). Periwinkle is a vine-like evergreen ground cover that blooms abundantly every spring.
This plant contains over 50 alkaloids, with vinpocetine considered to be the most significant one, as it’s credited with a number of cognitive benefits.
Vinpocetine is derived from the alkaloid vincamine and was first extracted from periwinkle seeds in 1975 by a Hungarian chemist.
This naturally occurring nootropic supplement is used to treat patients suffering from speech impairment, depression, hypoxia, memory loss, headaches, and tinnitus.
It plays a big role in improving blood flow to the brain, helping to maintain a high level of cerebral activity.
Vinpocetine is a biosynthetic supplement – meaning that the nootropic is man-made. There is a considerable amount of laboratory work involved, but for simplicity’s sake the vincamine molecule is altered to get the much more potent vinpocetine.
How Does Vinpocetine Work?
Vinpocetine works by acting as a vasodilator. Vasodilation refers to the widening of blood vessels. This occurs as a direct result of relaxation of smooth muscle cells within vessel walls. The process of vasodilation increases the flow of blood and decreases vascular resistance. Less vascular resistance and a better blood flow means higher levels of oxygenation and glucose utilization. Both of which are contributors to brain health and mental performance.
Since vinpocetine is man-made, its potency makes it one of the most effective nonprescription vasodilators available on the market.
After being absorbed into the bloodstream via the intestinal tract, the supplement is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier – entering the central nervous system. This is where a number of interesting things begin to occur:
- After passing through the barrier, vinpocetine optimizes the Krebs cycle. This maximizes the transformation of glucose to energy.
- Next, vinpocetine increases levels of oxygenation in brain cells. This helps prevent neuronal death and maintains health brain function.
- Vinpocetine also increases the elasticity of erythrocytes, which in turn eases their microcirculation within the brain, allowing glucose and oxygen easier entry into the cells.
Additionally, there is evidence that vinpocetine may help inhibit platelet aggregation. This process stops thromboses and blood clots from forming, and may help prevent stroke.
Research has shown that vinpocetine can help facilitate cerebral metabolism, enchaining cognitive function. This includes improvements to both short and long term memory.
Vinpocetine As A Nootropic
Ever since vinpocetine was first synthesized, its use has been widespread. Currently, it is used as a supplement to improve general cognition and overall brain health.
Using vinpocetine can have a number of other benefits as well. For example, its supplementation can act as a preventative mechanism in the case of several neuronal conditions – especially those related to low blood oxygen levels.
A fairly recent study (2010) also found that Vinpocetine is a phosphodiesterase 1 inhibitor. The phosphodiesterase 1 inhibitor has been linked to increased neural plasticity and increased levels of cGMP. cGMP is very important in cognitive health. It acts as a messenger in the brain and combined with increased neural plasticity, can be an effective learning-enhancer.
How Does Vinpocetine Improve Focus?
Vinpocetine increases the levels of neurotransmitters in our brains. Increased levels of neurotransmitters lead to an overall increase in not only memory performance, but also learning capacity, recall speed, attention span and levels of concentration.
The cherry on top, however, is that with proper dosage your level of stress and anxiety can be greatly reduced. This positive side effect is not very common with supplements or stimulants that increase your focus.
Generally, when using nootropics you need to make a choice between elevated levels of stress or improved concentration and recall speeds. Vinpocetine, however, makes it possible to get both!
Its unique structure and function can benefit many people suffering from the inability to focus without creating an unpleasant environment filled with increased stress and anxiety.
Recommended Vinpocetine Dosage
In order to stay safe and get the most from this brain-booster, it’s important to follow the appropriate dosage.
When taking vinpocetine on a regular basis, most people have found a dose of 15 – 30 mg to be effective. It’s recommended that you stick to this ballpark figure and only increase the dosage when you really need it.
Students, for example, might take 45 mg a few days prior to an exam to help with focus.
Although doses between 45 – 60 mg have been found to be safe, it’s commonly recommended that you do not exceed 45 mg a day unless under the care of a physician.
To wrap up, vinpocetine is a naturally sourced chemical extracted from the periwinkle plant.
In addition to its use as a nootropic – or brain-booster – it’s also been helpful to those suffering from senile dementia.
Students may find that vinpocetine is a great study partner.
Vinpocetine is very different from stimulants such as Adderall or Concerta, which don’t work as vasodilators.
Besides having fewer side effects compared to Adderall, vinpocetine is also completely natural.