If you’ve read any of our nootropic reviews like Geniux, Synagen IQ, or almost any of our other nootropic reviews, then there’s a good chance you’ve noticed a common ingredient added to most of these products. We’re talking about vinpocetine – a natural extract said to improve blood flow.
Is Vinpocetine really a cognitive booster and anti-aging miracle as companies claim it is – or is it just another scam? Let’s learn everything you need to know about vinpocetine.
What is Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine is described as a semi-synthetic derivative of an extract from the lesser periwinkle plant. Hungarian chemist Csaba Szantay was the first person to isolate vinpocetine in 1975 and just three years later it was manufactured into a synthetic drug.
Today, vinpocetine is not approved for pharmaceutical use in the United States. However, it can and is often sold as a dietary supplement. It has been touted as an effective nootropic supplement for the improvement of memory and overall cognition, as well a supplement that improves vasodilation. It has also been identified as an anti-inflammatory agent that might help prevent certain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Benefits of Vinpocetine
There have been several claims made about vinpocetine, but what does science actually say? Believe it or not, there are numerous studies involving vinpocetine, many of which have found this natural extract has several real benefits:
- Improved memory: One study found that 40mg of vinpocetine taken twice per day was able to significantly improve memory in female participants, compared to no improvement in the placebo group. The same study found an improvement in reaction time as well.
- Protection from cognitive decline: Two studies found that vinpocetine could effectively slow or even reverse the effects of cognitive decline in older adults. In this study, balance was the most notable improvement, indicating that vinpocetine has an effect on the part of the brain that controls our motor skills.
- Improvement in speech performance: Another sign of vinpocetine’s effects on the brain can be found in a single study, which suggests that vinpocetine can improve speech performance in the elderly, which is typically a sign of mental decline.
- Improved overall well being: Both studies mentioned above also found that elderly patients taking vinpocetine saw an improvement in their overall well-being. This was measured by a number of areas like overall cognitive performance, how participants felt on a daily basis, and several other measures.
As mentioned above, vinpocetine is often touted as a vasodilator as well. However, from what we could find, there is no actual clinical data to support this.
Instead, we managed to find anecdotal evidence from thousands of bodybuilders all over bodybuilding forums, which claim vinpocetine made their “veins pop” more during and after workouts. This is again unproven – although anecdotal evidence doesn’t totally discount it.
Side Effects of Vinpocetine
For the most part, vinpocetine is generally tolerated very well. From the data in the published clinical trials involving vinpocetine, no serious side effects have been noted. However, none of these trials have been long-term and have generally been between 1-6 months in length.
There have been minor reports of minor side effects, which are fairly typical among dietary supplements. These side effects include headache, dizziness, stomach pain, nausea, and nervousness. In most cases, these side effects are very minor and typically go away on their own. Most users will never experience a side effect while taking vinpocetine, although they are possible.
Vinpocetine even appears to be safe in adults who take blood thinners or diabetes medications. It is still unknown whether or not vinpocetine is safe for children or pregnant or nursing mothers though.
Vinpocetine does not have an official recommended dosage, but it has been studied at various doses. Some of the doses used in studies include:
- 40mg/day split into 2-20mg doses
- 30mg/day split into 3-10mg doses
- 25mg/day split into 2-10mg doses and 1-5mg dose
It is likely in your best interests to start with a smaller dosage and work your way up once you gauge your tolerance.
Where to Buy Vinpocetine
Vinpocetine is readily available at most health retailers, as well as numerous online retailers. Amazon for example has dozens of vinpocetine supplements you can research to check out whether or not vinpocetine is right for you.
While vinpocetine may not be a miracle pill for cognitive enhancement, it does certainly appear like it has some real benefits. And for ten or twenty bucks, it is well worth trying, and may help you boost your cognitive performance a bit.