Vinpocetine: A Versatile Invigorating Nootropic
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Vinpocetine is a semi-synthetic nootropic that is derived from extracts of the periwinkle plant (Vinca minor). First synthesised in 1975, this supplement is used extensively in Eastern Europe for the treatment of cerebrovascular disorders that affect blood flow in the brain, as well as for memory deficits associated with old age. However, in the West it is used mainly for off-label nootropic purposes with the ability to improve concentration, memory and energy metabolism, while also providing a range of neuroprotective benefits. This natural nootropic is highly versatile and can be used on its own or as part of a stack. As with any supplement, it is a good idea to learn more about its benefits, effects and usage guidelines before using Vinpocetine.
The Benefits and Mechanisms of Vinpocetine
Many of Vinpocetine’s benefits are linked to the fact that it is a cerebral vasodilator. This mechanism is believed to be related to increased levels of a substance known as cyclic guanosine 3’ 5’-monophosphate, a vasorelaxant that works on the smooth muscle tissue surrounding blood vessels. By allowing blood vessels to relax and dilate, they are able to deliver larger volumes of blood, oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to vital organs like the brain.
All cells in our bodies require oxygen and glucose to produce the energy molecule known as adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), and this is especially true for brain cells (neurons) as they perform a relatively large amount of work. A greater amount of blood flow and generation of ATP means that neurons are able to work more efficiently, and users will find that they feel more alert while cognitive performance is also improved. However this is not the only benefit of increasing blood flow to the brain; as well as increasing the net transport of nutrients to the brain, the amount of toxins and waste products that are removed is also increased. This can help to prevent the build-up of harmful substances such as amyloid proteins which are known to be associated with around 20 severe conditions when abnormal levels are allowed to accumulate.
Vinpocetine’s mechanisms, although not fully understood, appear to affect many of the brain’s major neurotransmitters that include serotonin, acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline. This can result in a broad range of benefits sought after by many nootropic users such as enhancements to learning, memory (both formation and recall), attention, concentration and focus. These cognitive boosting properties make Vinpocetine an excellent choice for students and seniors alike who are looking to improve memory function or overcome “brain fog”. For example, student users have suggested that this nootropic improves their ability to study and retain larger amounts of material when compared to more traditional study aids like caffeine. Individuals that are employed in mentally fatiguing lines work can also benefit from this supplement’s ability to increase mental stamina and perceived energy. Other users have reported that Vinpocetine is able to indirectly increase motivation and mood which can aid in boosting overall productivity.
Of course this supplement’s benefits are not only useful to healthy individuals seeking cognitive enhancement. Research has suggested that Vinpocetine can aid in reducing cognitive impairment, and can even help to reverse the damage caused by strokes. Furthermore, these studies suggest that Vinpocetine decreases the chance of developing disabilities and the risk of further strokes. Vinpocetine has also been implicated as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Vinpocetine can also help to protect your brain from damage in other ways. For example it is known to have anticonvulsant properties that make it a more potent treatment for epilepsy than several other types of antiepileptic medications. While this may be of limited use to individuals who do not suffer from epilepsy, Vinpocetine also has benefits as an antioxidant. Normal cellular function produces a number of molecules known as free radicals as a by-product. These free radicals are characterised by an unpaired electron in their outer atomic shell that causes them to be highly reactive and unstable. When such molecules react with biological structures they are known to cause oxidative damage. Vinpocetine and other antioxidants can help to significantly reduce the chance of this happening by donating an electron to these free radical molecules, causing them to become less reactive and potentially damaging. Such neuroprotective mechanisms can help you to maintain brain function and reduce the inevitable damage and cognitive decline that is seen with advancing age.
Vinpocetine has also been praised for its ability to improve the symptoms of several other conditions. In Europe it has been used in the treatment of hearing problems such as tinnitus that results from trauma to the ear. Additionally, it appears to be effective in treating some cases of urinary incontinence as it is able to relax smooth muscle tissue, thus preventing spasms of the bladder that lead to such problems. Its properties as a vasodilator also serve to improve overall cardiovascular health and can aid in reducing the build-up of plaques in the heart, as well as improving circulation to other vital organs.
Recommended Dosage and Usage Guidelines
Vinpocetine is a highly versatile supplement and the dosage level may vary considerably depending on your body weight, biochemistry and reasons for using it. This supplement is safe to use in dosages ranging from 5 to 60mg although typical dosages usually range between 15 to 30mg a day. This dosage is commonly split into 3 equally sized administrations that are taken throughout the day.
For the purposes of treating memory deficits, including those associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the recommended amount is 5 to 10mg a day. A majority of studies suggest higher dosages between 30 and 45mg may be required to obtain the maximum range of benefits and these ranges are most commonly used by individuals who do not suffer from any form of impaired memory. Of course dosages for this supplement can be altered according to your current needs; you may decide to use 15 to 30mg on a normal day while using higher amounts up to 45mg during periods that require high levels of cognitive performance such as exams.
Although Vinpocetine dosages are safe up to 60mg, most individuals are advised not to exceed 45mg per day without first consulting a physician. This is because the benefits gained from this supplement can actually be reduced at higher dosages. You should also be sure to adjust this dosage based on any other supplements that you may be stacking it with, as Vinpocetine has a synergistic effect.
Potential Side Effects
Although Vinpocetine is considered to be quite safe for use by most individuals, there are some mild side effects and contraindications you should be aware of before using this supplement. For example some users may experience headaches, nausea, stomach problems, dizziness, nervousness and disruptions to sleep. However such negative effects are usually short lived, lasting only a few days. If any side effects continue to persist after this period, you are advised to consult a doctor.
Additionally, certain medications such as blood thinners (including some pain killers) should not be used in conjunction with Vinpocetine. Those with blood clotting problems and individuals who have recently had any form of surgery should also avoid Vinpocetine due to an increased risk of bleeding. You should also discontinue using Vinpocetine for a minimum of two weeks if you are planning to have surgery.