In a previous article about vincamine, we touched the topic of natural nootropics which are derived from plants and are mostly preferred by those who are sceptical when it comes to synthesized products. We have mentioned that a vincamine derivative, called vinpocetine, is more popular than its predecessor, when it comes to effectiveness and benefits. In this article, the reader will get to know whether this herbal supplement is the right choice for him/her, by introducing vinpocetine’s benefits and side effects, as well as the mechanism of its action.
Like vincamine, vinpocetine represents an indole alkaloid which is extracted from Vinca minor, or Periwinkle plant. Even though both of these compounds are found naturally in this plant, vincamine is the one which was used the most as a brain enhancing compound in the past. Lately, studies about vinpocetine have shown that this substance has a more potent activity than vincamine, as well as rare manifestation of side effects, which are more common in vincamine. Because alkaloids are found in lower concentrations in plants, laboratories nowadays synthesize vinpocetine from vincamine and other similar alkaloids, ensuring the purification of this natural derivative and higher quantities available to consumers.
Along with the mentioned effects in various therapies, vinpocetine also deals with neurological impairments by providing increased brain blood flow. Like vincamine, it boosts cognitive functions and has a general effect on brain health when used for a longer time period. It has a neuroprotective activity and treats memory loss, mental decline related to age and reduces mortality in patients who have suffered from ischemic stroke.
How Does Vinpocetine Work?
Vinpocetine is considered to be an anti-inflammatory substance, causing brain blood vessels to relax and dilatate so that additional blood flow may come to the brain. One of the proposed mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is the neuroinflammation which causes the neurons to die off. The anti-inflammatory effect of vinpocetine prevents such neuroinflammation and helps neurons to renovate. Vinpocetine prevents the excessive stimulation of neurons, a dangerous effect which could lead to excitotoxicity and premature death of neurons.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that vinpocetine has a vasodilatatory effect on peripheral blood vessels of brain. This vasodilatator increases brain circulation, without a significant change of total blood pressure in other parts of the body. By increasing blood flow to the brain, neurons receive additional oxygen, as well as glucose and other essential nutrients, required for generating energy through brain metabolism. Enhanced brain metabolism affects cognitive processing, including motoric skills, memory and general response. Another great effect of an increased blood flow is the elimination of toxic products from the brain, which supports the preservation of brain cells and their maintenance and growth.
Vinpocetine, as a natural product, is becoming more and more popular among the senior population, as well as students, who want to enhance their cognitive and studying capabilities. Students usually say that this natural nootropic gets rid of brain fog, helps them with studying specific material. It improves mental stamina, bringing higher mood and motivation necessary for endurance. When it comes to elderly people, vinpocetine lessens the risk related to Alzheimer’s disease including similar neurological forms of the disease. It helps with reduction of brain aging and improves the memory of seniors. Additional non-nootropic benefits are effect on menopausal symptoms, prevention of motion sickness, seizure disorders, and CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Vinpocetine Side Effects
This supplement has few side effects which should be taken in consideration. Most individuals react quite well, without any serious side effects. Mild side effects include headache, nausea, nervousness, gastrointestinal symptoms, sleep problems and dizziness. These side effects are often resolved within couple of days, but if any of the side effects prolong, a consultation with a medical professional is necessary so that the right treatment could be processed. As with any supplement, stop use until it is possible to consult with the appropriate health professional.
When taking vinpocetine, it is necessary to take drug interactions into consideration because specific combinations of medicine could prove to be dangerous to ones health. Vinpocetine does have some vasodilation properties that could be a problem for people with related conditions. Combination with analgetics, or pain relievers, should also be avoided, as well as combination with agents that lead to blood thinning. It is not recommended for use by a person who has heart problems, hemophilia or low blood pressure. Pregnant women, or those who are breastfeeding, should avoid the use of vinpocetine, as well as children under the age of 18. Patients have had a recent surgery should avoid the vinpocetine use because it could increase the risk of bleeding and antagonize the effects of blood thickening drugs.
Vinpocetine is considered to be among the most used natural nootropics in the world. Its benefits and possibility of side effects are significant, which makes this supplement acceptable for wider masses. It enhances cognitive effects and increases activities linked to learning, memory, clarity of thought, speed of recall and alertness. For those who would like to start a nootropic treatment, vinpocetine is a good call. Certain people who suffer from blood clotting should avoid the use of this substance, as well as children, pregnant women and those who breasfeed. It should be taken orally, with 5-10 mg three times a day, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Please consult a medical professional if you decide to use this nootropic, because it is important to take in consideration all the current conditions which could affect your health.