With a name like Periwinkle, it might be hard to take this neuroprotective nootropic seriously. Upon further look, vinpocetine (a compound derived from the plant) is a cognitive protective agent that has hundreds of scientific references and ample supporting evidence.
European societies have extracted and used variants of vinpocetine for many years in order to act as a neuroprotective agent against toxins and support against inflammation . It is also considered a useful combatant of age-related cognitive decline (such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease etc) .
Most of the studies and evidence of vinpocetine is positive and focuses on cognition via reaction time, processing accuracy, and a variety of similar metrics. All of the studies suggest this potent extract is useful and quite safe as well.
Also Known As
Vincamine, Vinca Minor, Periwinkle Extract, Cavinton (Brand Name), ethyl apovincaminate
Editors’ Thoughts on Vinpocetine
I have never experienced vinpocetine alone, but I have taken it as part of other products. Namely, as part of Alpha Brain, which does not have an adequate dosage (according to sources, it is only half).
I can’t really say whether it was positive or negative, but Alpha Brain was effective (albeit a bit overpriced).
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Vinpocetine
The first and most often touted benefit of vinpocetine is for memory formation and learning. According to studies (measured by Sternberg assessment), patients recorded better working memory and reaction speed when taking various doses of vinpocetine . Unlike many of the other nootropics and studies, this was also done on healthy adults (rather than elderly individuals already suffering from age related cognitive decline).
Vinpocetine benefits also include neuroprotective properties against cognitive decline. One study showed that vinpocetine could help reduce the impact of cognitive decline and concluded the drug did so through enhanced blood flow .
Finally, one of the main benefits of vinpocetine includes subjective well being enhancement. Elderly individuals who are suffering age related cognitive decline found that vinpocetine could help support them in their mood and feeling of happiness . While more studies are needed on healthy adults in all of these vinpocetine benefits, this initial research looks promising.
How Does Vinpocetine Work?
Given the odd name and science of your brain, you may wonder “how does vinpocetine work?” and in scientific terms, this is called the “mechanism of action”. For vinpocetine, there are many mechanisms at play. One is that vinpocetine inhibits an enzyme called PDE1 , which helps improve blood flow to the brain. This has a host of benefits including more oxygen to certain regions that are responsible for cognition.
Another mechanism is that vinpocetine is able to influence neurotransmitter release through specific channels in the brain . These neurotransmitters are useful for creating memories, learning, and a host of other benefits.
Side Effects of Vinpocetine
Unlike many other nootropics that don’t need much warning, vinpocetine is potentially dangerous depending on your personal biochemistry. After all, this is an extract of a plant that is synthetically derived and used at high potency for cognitive enhancement.
The number on side effect of vinpocetine to be concerned with is the blood pressure drop you might experience if using vinpocetine via I.V. However, most people take vinpocetine orally, which is not thought to create the reduction of white blood cells that is sometimes cited.
In general, vinpocetine side effects are few and far between. It is a well tolerated substance and is found in the most popular nootropic on the market (Alpha Brain by Onnit).
The daily recommended range for vinpocetine is around 15 – 60 mg, which is a large variation given the potency. It is probably best to start with 15 – 20 mg of the supplement before starting to get into higher doses. Keep in mind that this is over the course of 3 doses throughout the day, which are to be taken with meals.
The low dose of 5 mg each with your three meals for the day will be a great place to start, but 20 mg at each meal would be considered the dose for efficacy and neuroprotection. Like other nootropics, the dosage depends on your goals. 30 – 45 mg is considered a good dosage for cognition and memory formation while the lower range is for neuroprotective properties.
How and Where to Buy Vinpocetine
Periwinkle might be easier to find than vinpocetine in some brick and mortar locations, but there are many options online. Because it has grown in popularity as research has been published, vinpocetine has become a hot commodity included in many popular products, such as Alpha Brain. Their dosage includes 5 mg, but you may want to purchase vinpocetine in a higher volume.
For that, there are many vendors online that you can buy vinpocetine. Typically, it is best to find 5 – 10 mg capsules so that you can dose out as you need it throughout the day. While this nootropic does not require as much stringent testing (such as assay and heavy metals), we recommend you find a vendor that is willing to do these tests on at least some of their products.
Even if a company doesn’t produce the testing for these products specifically, the fact that they are doing any testing at all shows their level of transparency.
Selected Community Experiences
“The Vinpocetine that I got comes in 30mg tablets, which is a higher dose than I had intended for my stack, but I suspect I will survive. ANYWAY, took my dose, and about half an hour later, I felt like my head was going to explode for a while. It wasn’t even a bad headache, really, but it was certainly uncomfortable. About an hour after taking it, though, my headache was completely gone, and I felt great.”  – djeik
“I love the effects of Vinpocetine, but it always lowers my immune function. I start to get sick 4-5 days after using it daily. The immune lowering effects are pretty well documented.” - MisterYouAreSoDumb
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