Vinpocetine is a unique supplement that enhances memory, mood, and cognition in a variety of ways. It improves cerebral blood flow and circulation, it increases the absorption of oxygen and nutrients, it boosts the production of crucial neurotransmitters, and it acts as an antioxidant, protecting the brain from the negative effects of stress, environmental toxins, and the aging process.
A semisynthetic derivative of the Periwinkle plant, vinpocetine was first isolated in Hungary in 1975. It has been mass produced there as a prescription drug since 1978 and is used throughout Eastern Europe as a treatment for cerebrovascular disorders and age-related memory impairment. It is not regulated as a pharmaceutical in the US, where it is sold as a dietary supplement.
Though there have been limited clinical trials of vinpocetine, it has proven to be an effective vasodilator with direct and specific effects on the brain. It has also been shown to improve cerebral metabolism, and these factors are the basis of vinpocetine’s nootropic capabilities. It has also been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent and is believed to have potential as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other age-related neurodegenerative conditions.
Vinpocetine is usually very well tolerated, and it works efficiently both on its own and in combination with other supplements. Though it’s less well-known than many other supplements, it has tremendous potential for both anti-aging and cognitive enhancement and is gaining a positive reputation as a safe and effective nootropic.
Benefits and Effects
Vinpocetine’s actions as a vasodilator and anti-inflammatory agent make it a powerful and effective nootropic, enhancing cognition by improving the overall health and efficiency of the brain.
- Memory Improvement: Vinpocetine is widely recognized for its ability to sharpen memory, and it is in fact prescribed throughout Eastern Europe as a treatment for memory disorders. A series of clinical trials suggest that vinpocetine can improve memory formation in older users with memory impairments, and users report that vinpocetine helps them recall learned information more quickly and accurately. Studies also demonstrate its memory boosting abilities in healthy individuals.
- Better focus and concentration: Vinpocetine has been shown to act as a limited-action vasodilator, increasing blood flow and circulation in the brain without affecting blood pressure in the rest of the body. This action is at the heart of vinpocetine’s nootropic capabilities; increased blood flow and circulation improve the overall health and efficiency of the brain, which in turn creates better focus and concentration and lengthens attention span.
- Faster learning and better mental clarity: Vinpocetine is also believed to improve the body’s ability to convert dietary glucose and lipids to adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the cellular coenzyme that transports chemical energy for metabolism. The more ATP available for use in the brain, the better the intellectual capacity, and the faster learning can take place. The presence of ample ATP in the brain reduces feelings of mental fatigue or “brain fog” and enhances feelings of mental clarity.
- Mood enhancement: Studies suggest that vinpocetine encourages increased production of many essential neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that enable the transfer of nerve impulses. Making more neurotransmitters available for use in the brain not only enhances learning and cognitive abilities but may also improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase perceived well-being.
How it Works
Early studies indicate that vinpocetine has a number of effects on the brain, the most important of which is enhancing blood circulation and oxygen utilization. Unlike ephedrine and other general stimulants that act as whole body vasodilators, vinpocetine increases blood flow in the brain without affecting circulation or blood pressure throughout the rest of the body. It has even been shown to specifically target damaged brain cells and areas of poor circulation within the brain.
The increased blood flow and related oxygenation of the brain tissue make the brain more tolerant of ischemia and hypoxia, states of reduced and insufficient oxygen related to stroke and other brain pathologies and injuries. In healthy brains, the increased blood flow and related oxygenation are believed to have a significant nootropic effect.
In addition, improved circulation and oxygenation in the brain tends to improve overall brain function with increased production of the coenzyme ATP, which is essential for cerebral metabolism. By creating a sufficiency of ATP vinpocetine increases the efficient usage of glucose and other brain nutrients and thus improves mental clarity.
Vinpocetine has also been shown to interact with sodium, calcium, and potassium ion channels in the brain, modulating the release of various neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. By increasing the availability of these neurotransmitters vinpocetine not only affects memory and overall cognition but may improve mood by alleviating feelings of anxiety and enhancing the sensation of energy and well-being.
Vinpocetine also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the brain, reducing the expression of the proinflammatory and vascular cell adhesion molecules that can lead to neuronal death in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The anti-inflammatory properties of vinpocetine make it a promising neuroprotectant that could potentially have significant anti-aging benefits.
Dosages of 15 to 30 mg, divided into three daily doses, are typical, with most users reporting maximum benefits with doses at the upper end of that range. Like many other nootropics, vinpocetine has frequently been shown to follow a dose-response curve in which benefits decline when too-large doses are taken; benefits peak at maximum dosages of about 40 mg daily, though results vary from user to user.
For an immediate cognitive boost, to be taken on demand, anecdotally users report the best results when taking 20-30 mg in one dose.
Another user-dependent variable is the amount of time it takes for the benefits of vinpocetine to be observable. Many users report feeling an improvement in cognitive abilities, energy, and mood within hours of taking vinpocetine, while others say the benefits only become noticeable over weeks or even months of regular dosage.
Vinpocetine can be an effective nootropic taken alone, but it is known to work very well in combination with other nootropics and is often found in preformulated supplements. If you prefer to make your own nootropic stack, here are some ideas for a good starting point.
Vinpocetine and Ginkgo Biloba Stack for Long-Term Cognitive Enhancement
Vinpocetine and Ginkgo Biloba act as potentiators for each other, with the combination of the increasing the overall potency and effectiveness of both. This simple stack will boost cognitive abilities, improve mood, and increase motivation and productivity.
Vinpocetine and Racetam Stack for Studying
This stack will make the most of intensive study time; the piracetam will work with the vinpocetine to improve general cognition, the aniracetam will boost memory, and the Alpha GPC will ensure sufficient high-quality choline for transformation to acetylcholine, the “learning neurotransmitter.”
Vinpocetine is extremely well tolerated, and no significant adverse side effects have been reported. New users may experience a mild version of a caffeine “buzz” that subsides as tolerance to vinpocetine increases. Increasing daily dosage to more than 40 mg may diminish noticeable benefits.
Where to Buy
Luckily, vinpocetine is quite easy to get your hands on and conveniently can be ordered online. We recommend Life Extension Vinpocetine from Amazon for its beneficial effects on the brain’s memory abilities.
Vinpocetine can also be purchased from AbsorbYourHealth.com, our recommended source for specialty nootropics.
Vinpocetine’s unique mechanisms of action, powerful cognitive enhancement capabilities, and promise as a brain protectant are sparking interest throughout the nootropic community.
It’s a reliable brain booster on its own, and it works very well with other supplements, making it an excellent addition to most stacks; it’s also safe, affordable, and readily available.
If you’re interested in thinking and feeling your best while keeping your brain working at maximum efficiency, vinpocetine is a supplement worth considering.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.