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Vinpocetine: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects

Vinpocetine is a cognitive enhancer that may be good for attention, memory, and longevity. It works by increasing oxygen and blood flow to your brain.

Currently, vinpocetine is a prescription drug in Europe and some Asian countries. However, it’s available as a supplement in the United States, and many people take it as a nootropic.

If you want to boost your mental performance and cognitive speed, vinpocetine may help. Here’s an in-depth look at the benefits of vinpocetine, as well as its dosage and possible side effects.

What Is Vinpocetine?

Vinpocetine is a derivative of the periwinkle plant (Catharanthus roseus). It comes from an alkaloid— the same type of compound as caffeine— and it has a variety of effects on your brain function.

Vinpocetine works by decreasing sodium and calcium levels in specific parts of your brain, which increases blood flow and activates pathways that involve mental speed and cognition.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034523/[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1429914/[3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12044859/

Which cognitive enhancers work with your body and brain? Find out here.

Is Vinpocetine Legal?

Doctors in Europe and parts of Asia prescribe vinpocetine to increase brain blood flow in patients with stroke and dementia.[4]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321305817_An_update_on_Vinpocetine_New_discoveries_and_clinical_implications

In Australia, vinpocetine is banned due to its nootropic properties.[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345962/

In the U.S. and Canada, vinpocetine is sold as a supplement. It’s not approved for any medical use, but many people use it as a cognitive enhancer.

4 Benefits of Vinpocetine

Research is still fairly young when it comes to vinpocetine and cognitive enhancement. However, there are several potential benefits to taking vinpocetine as a nootropic.

Cognitive Longevity

Several studies have found that vinpocetine increases blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain.[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1429914/[7]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12044859/[8]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1037230/

Vinpocetine also increases microcirculation, feeding individual brain cells more oxygen and nutrients,[9]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23971358/ and prevents red blood cells from becoming deformed over time.[10]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3841997/

As a result, vinpocetine may enhance cognitive longevity. In Europe and Asia, it’s prescribed to prevent symptoms of dementia and help reverse damage caused by stroke, keeping elderly patients healthy as they age.[11]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321305817_An_update_on_Vinpocetine_New_discoveries_and_clinical_implications

Enhanced Focus

Vinpocetine may also enhance focus. A 2014 study found that people who took vinpocetine scored higher on a test of concentration,[12]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4160700/ and a 2019 review concluded that vinpocetine improves both learning and attention.[13]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5766389/

Better Memory

A small study on healthy women found that vinpocetine significantly improves short-term memory.[14]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3899677/

In another study, researchers gave healthy people flunitrazepam— a medication that temporarily impairs memory— as well as either vinpocetine or placebo.

The group that took vinpocetine saw no decrease in memory, which suggests that vinpocetine enhances the brain’s memory pathways.[15]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3693872/

Faster Reaction Time

Healthy volunteers who took vinpocetine saw a ~30% improvement in reaction time.[16]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3899677/

Vinpocetine Dosage and Side Effects

The generally suggested dose of vinpocetine is 10 mg, taken twice a day. Vinpocetine is fat-soluble, which means it will absorb better if you take it with food that contains a little bit of fat.

You may want to avoid taking vinpocetine if you’re pregnant, and it can interact with blood thinning medications, making them stronger and potentially causing problems. As always, this is not medical advice; be sure to consult with your doctor before taking vinpocetine as a supplement and always ask your doctor about potential interactions.

Final Thoughts

Vinpocetine is a well-studied nootropic that may help improve your memory, longevity, reaction time, and focus. If you’re looking for better cognition, it may be worth a try.

If you want to learn more about ways to improve your brain function, try taking this nootropics quiz. It will suggest an ideal stack of nootropics based on your unique goals.

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