What Is Vinpocetine?

Vinpocetine is a unique supplement that enhances memory, mood, and cognition in a variety of ways. It improves cerebral blood flow and circulation, increases the absorption of oxygen and nutrients, modulates levels of crucial neurotransmitters, and acts as a neuroprotective antioxidant.‍[1]

Vinpocetine is a semisynthetic derivative of the Periwinkle plant, first isolated in Hungary in 1975. It used throughout Eastern Europe as a prescription 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.

Clinical trials have proven vinpocetine to be an effective vasodilator with direct and specific effects on the brain.‍[2] It has also been shown to improve cerebral metabolism, and together 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.‍[3]

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 real potential for both anti-aging and cognitive enhancement and is gaining a positive reputation as a safe and effective nootropic.

Benefits and Effects of Vinpocetine

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 is prescribed throughout Europe under the name Cavinton or Cavinton Forte as a treatment for memory disorders.‍[4]

A series of studies and clinical trials suggest that vinpocetine can improve memory formation in users with memory impairments‍[5] as well as healthy individuals.‍[6]

User self-reports confirm that many find vinpocetine provides a substantial memory boost.‍[7]

Better Focus and Concentration

Studies show that vinpocetine supplementation may enhance focus and concentration, benefits that may be largely attributable to its capability as a limited-action vasodilator.‍[8]

The ability to decrease blood viscosity and increase blood flow and circulation in the brain without affecting blood pressure in the rest of the body is considered central to 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.‍[9]

Faster Learning and Better Mental Clarity

Vinpocetine may enhance mental clarity, reducing or eliminating brain fog and increasing the speed of learning.

Studies on stroke patients suggest vinpocetine may do this by improving the body’s ability to convert dietary glucose and lipids to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cellular coenzyme that transports chemical energy for metabolism.‍[10]

The presence of ample ATP in the brain is known to reduce feelings of mental fatigue and enhance mental clarity; the more ATP available for use in the brain, the better the intellectual capacity, and the faster learning can take place.‍[11]

Both clinical research and anecdotal reports by users‍[12] confirm that vinpocetine may help banish “brain fog.”

Mood Enhancement 

Studies suggest that vinpocetine may improve mood, reduce anxiety, and increase perceived well-being.‍[13]‍[14]

This effect is believed to be due in part to its ability to increase blood flow and circulation, enhance glucose metabolism, and reduce inflammation, but it is also thought that vinpocetine may impact certain neurotransmitters that affect mood.

While vinpocetine does not actively impact the baseline release of neurotransmitters, it may effectively modulate their levels through other means. Animal studies show that supplemental vinpocetine can offset toxins that normally reduce dopamine levels.‍[15]

It is also believed to act as an alpha-adrenergic receptor agonist, stimulating the receptors for adrenaline and norepinephrine, and has shown protective effects against glutaminergic excitotoxins.‍[16]

Though user reports vary on vinpocetine’s effectiveness as a mood lifter, many say it does make them feel happier, less anxious, and more cheerful.‍[17]‍[18]

How It Works

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.

Vinpocetine has even been shown to specifically target damaged brain cells and areas of poor circulation within the brain.‍[19]

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.‍[20]

The increased blood flow and related oxygenation are believed to have a significant nootropic effect on healthy brains,‍[21] and studies suggest it could improve mild cognitive impairment.‍[22]

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.‍[23] By creating a sufficiency of ATP vinpocetine increases the efficient use 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 levels of various neurotransmitters including noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. By increasing the availability of these neurotransmitters vinpocetine not only affects memory and overall cognition but may improve mood by 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.‍[24]

Dosage

The standard daily dosage of vinpocetine is from between 15–60 mg, split into three doses and taken with meals.

For the purpose of cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals, a daily dose of 40 mg of vinpocetine may be ideal.‍[25]

Vinpocetine’s absorption rate is improved when taken with food.

Stacking

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 have mechanisms that work together synergistically. This simple stack is designed to boost cognitive abilities, improve mood, and increase motivation and productivity.

3x per day

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.”

2x per day

Side Effects

Vinpocetine is generally well tolerated, and no significant adverse side effects have been reported. The most common side effects are headaches and mild gastrointestinal upset, both of which are often relieved by lowering dosage.

Vinpocetine interacts with medications that slow blood clotting, including aspirin, ibuprofen, Warfarin, heparin, naproxen, and others. Taking vinpocetine in combination with those drugs may increase the change of bruising and bleeding and is not recommended.‍[26]

Where to Buy

Luckily, vinpocetine is readily available for purchase and 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 PureNootropics.net, our recommended source for specialty nootropics.

Closing Thoughts

Vinpocetine is a lesser-known nootropic, but its 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 well in combination with other supplements, making it a worthy addition to most stacks.

If you’re interested in thinking and feeling your best while keeping your brain working at maximum efficiency, vinpocetine is a supplement worth considering.

References   [ + ]

Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.

This page was last updated on April 8, 2019.