Natural Vinpocetine Extract
for Retrieving Old Memories and . . .

Creating Mental Clarity

IF I KNEW BACK THEN, WHAT I KNOW NOW . . . How many times have you said that? There is a powerful human-potential exercise that calls on the wisdom of our future self—who we will become in the future—to help us with our current life problems by imagining that we can know now, what we will know in the future. Visualize yourself as a child reclining under a tree on a gentle hilltop on the loveliest day of spring. Envision that your head is being stroked by a grown-up in whose lap your head rests, someone who looks much like you, only older. Imagine that the grown-up is you, and that you have returned, from the future to the present, to help yourself. Made wise by time, seasoned by experience, poignant with knowledge of the bright future, your future self tells you and your child within that the key to life's problems and the future are within the memory process.

Your future self explains that you will never get to the future unless you maintain and improve your memory, so that you can recall the distant past as readily as you remember yesterday. Paraphrasing Santayana, "those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it" and, like Alzheimer's patients, spend all their time on such simple "reinvent-the-wheel" tasks that they never get on to their future development. Fortunately, there is a newly available herbal extract to help you use the knowledge of your past to advance to the future. The name of that extract is vinpocetine and the promise of what it can do will invigorate you in the present while it gratifies your future self.

WHAT IS VINPOCETINE?
Vinpocetine is an extract from periwinkle seeds. Periwinkle (vinca major) is a common vine-like evergreen ground cover. The vinca roots creep along, blooming abundantly in the spring and sporadically throughout the rest of its season of growth. Known by its violet-like color, vincas have been planted in gardens for hundreds of years and have a long history of use as a traditional tonic to refresh weariness, especially the type associated with advanced age, and also as an astringent, for excessive menses, bleeding gums, mouth sores, and more.

There are many active ingredients in the vinca major, but vinpocetine is the one about which the most interesting and promising research papers exist; there are hundreds of studies with lab animals and human subjects, especially in recent European scientific literature.

Vinpocetine is a derivative of the alkaloid vincamine and, like vincamine, is found in small amounts in the seeds of vinca as well as other plants such as the voaconga and the crioceras longiflorus. Throughout the world, vincamine has been used to treat senile dementia with significant degrees of success. Studies have found vinpocetine to demonstrate many of the same functions as its sister molecule, vincamine, but without the side effects including hypotension, dry mouth, weakness, and tachycardia, excessively rapid heartbeat. Moreover, it has been shown to be at least two times (and up to three or four times) more potent than vincamine for improving cerebral circulation, memory and other uses in humans (see chart below). No interactions with pharmaceutical drugs have been reported.

WHAT DOES VINPOCETINE DO?
In broadest terms, vinpocetine is a powerful enhancer of memory function. Principally, it improves cognitive function by facilitating cerebral metabolism and improving blood flow in the brain. It does this through its inhibition of a calcium channel dependent enzyme. Calcium ions are intimately involved in cellular activity regulation throughout the brain.

In addition to more efficient cerebral microcirculation, vinpocetine has been found to increase brain cell energy through its effect on ATP (the cellular energy molecule) production. Vinpocetine also increases your brain's ability to function through more efficient utilization of glucose and oxygen while at the same time providing increased protection against ischemia (cut off blood flow) and hypoxia (reduced levels of oxygen). Glucose has been shown to enhance certain types of memory in humans.1

Since many brain disorders have been found to be caused by poor circulation, neuronal damage due to lack of oxygen, and insufficient amounts of energy, it makes sense that anything that helps brain function in these ways would also help memory and cognitive function.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Acclaim for vinpocetine's use is widespread throughout the world, in Europe, Japan, Korea, China and elsewhere.

Dr. Ward Dean, a cognitive investigator and noted nootropic gourmand said this about vinpocetine, "It's one of the few cognitive enhancers that I actually notice a [positive] difference when I take it."2

For sure, vinpocetine has some extraordinary characteristics. Here, at last, is something for everyone. There is strong evidence indicating that vinpocetine can help . . .

YOU FEEL SMARTER

  • Improve long and short term memory 
  • Enhance alertness 
  • Serve as a neuroprotector 
  • Improve the delivery and utilization of glucose and oxygen to your brain  
  • Improve blood flow in your brain  
  • Act to enhance dopaminergic, serotonergic, noradrenergic functions 
  • Prevent ischemic damage in the brain, muscle tissue, liver and elsewhere 
  • Prevent epileptic seizures 
  • Diminish senile cerebral dysfunction 
  • Prevent excitotoxic (excessive receptor excitement) cell death in the brain 
  • Reduce cerebral anoxic (absence of oxygen) damage

PROTECT HEART FUNCTION

  • Diminish atherosclerotic plaque
  • Improve cardiac output and nutritive blood flow to various organs
  • Improve vasodilation
  • Enhance lipoprotein structure in the blood
  • Increase red-blood cell flexibility
  • Scavenge toxic metals in the body such as aluminum and lead

IMPROVE VISUAL FUNCTION

  • Protects and enhances eye functions 
  • Decrease retinal degeneration by increasing blood circulation in the retina and the optic nerve

IMPROVE HEARING FUNCTION

  • Prevent or relieve dizziness (vertigo)
  • Lessen space motion sickness

AND MUCH MORE

  • Prevent high altitude sickness
  • Improve joint function
  • Relieve arthritic discomfort
  • Alleviate asthma
  • Ameliorate climacteric conditions
  • Improve GI functions by operating as a gastroprotective agent 
  • Operate as a high level antioxidant scavenging hydroxyl free radicals 
  • Act as a muscle relaxant 
  • Enhance mood

CLEARER MEMORY
Over several decades, many studies have been carried out on healthy subjects to determine vinpocetine's effects on memory, both short and long term. The conclusions have been clear: vinpocetine improves memory function and amplifies intelligence. In a randomized double-blind crossover study, 12 healthy female volunteers were given either 10, 20, or 40 mg of vinpocetine or placebo twice daily for two days and then tested on day three, one hour after their morning dosage.3 The women then changed their dose regimens (they "crossed over") and on the third day were tested again as before. Double-blind means that neither the scientists giving vinpocetine (or placebo) nor the subjects knew what they were receiving.

The testing consisted of a complete battery of psychological tests. While no significant changes occurred for those receiving placebo, memory was found to be significantly improved following treatment with vinpocetine with higher benefits found at the highest levels of ingestion of 40 mg. Subjects receiving vinpocetine could store and recall more serialized information than those receiving placebo. Examples of serialized would be multiple items on a list, or telephone numbers.

In another memory study, eight healthy volunteers were given 40 mg of vinpocetine, and thereafter given a dose of flunitrazepam, a drug that induces memory impairment.4 When tested, the drug effects of flunitrazepam were found to be far less memory-impairing than expected, thus confirming that vinpocetine was associated with improvements in short-term memory processes.

Significant improvement in memory was measured, in yet another memory study, when 12 volunteers were given either 40 mg of vinpocetine or placebo for two days.5 A variety of tests were administered using memory tasks, for example, in which the subjects had to react rapidly when recently learned digits or words were flashed. The results indicated a clear benefit of vinpocetine's short-term memory enhancement.

Vinpocetine was found to increase the activity of the brain's noradrenergic (excitatory) pathways at a dose range proportionately corresponding to the memory-enhancing effects of the compound.6 The higher the dose, the better the effects on memory function. From the results of another study, vinpocetine was shown to affect the brainstem, enhancing the activity of the ascending noradrenergic and, perhaps, serotonergic (inhibitory) pathways, both of which are involved in memory. This enhancement is thought to explain, in part, vinpocetine's cognitive improving functions at the same time that it normalizes oxygen conditions and helps to prevent the brain damaging effects of hypoxia.7

When vinpocetine was given in a single oral dose of 10 mg, vinpocetine increased the red blood cell flexibility of 5 healthy male volunteers.8 High red blood cell flexibility increases the brain's response-ability and decreases stroke vulnerability. Indeed, cerebral disorders affecting memory are accompanied by low red-blood cell flexibility. Vinpocetine appears to offer neuroprotective properties in this regard.

In Japan, dementia patients were given 15 mg of vinpocetine for three weeks after which analysis showed increased concentration of ATP, the universal energy transfer molecule, along with enhanced oxygen released from hemoglobin and enhanced vasodilation within the brain.9 Vasodilation occurs in the brain when the microvascular blood vessels relax and blood flows more easily and rapidly.

In a Japanese study conducted at a geriatric hospital, the brain damaging effects from cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral arteriosclerosis and transient ischemic attacks were studied in 207 patients.10 For four weeks, these patients participated in a crossover study using either vinpocetine at 5 mg three times daily or one of two drugs, ifenprodil tartrate (IT) or dihydroergotoxine mesylate (DM).

Vinpocetine provided more infarction or hemorrhage improvements than the two drugs, edging out IT by 67% to 60% and significantly defeating DM 78% to 59%. Even the attending physicians judged vinpocetine to be superior to the two control drugs. In another trial of six months or more involved 288 patients, at the same level of treatment (5 mg three times daily), vinpocetine achieved a 77% improvement. Unlike the drugs—IT and DM—there were no notable side effects.

ANTI-AMNESIA—ENHANCED RECALL
Brain hypoxia (reduced oxygen levels) can induce amnesia, forgetting some of what would normally be remembered. Senile dementia and age-related cognitive impairment are also characterized by amnesia. Vinpocetine has been found to be an anti-aging, anti-amnesic agent owing, in part, to its anti-hypoxic activity.11 Amnesia is also specifically related to long-term potentiation (LTP), the ability to remember things over longer period of time. The anti-amnesia effects of vinpocetine are clearly also pro-LTP, helping to embed memories better and, as well, to recover or retrieve them.12

The endurance of a memory may be measured in the laboratory by the presence of electrical potentials. In lesioned brains of rats, reduced long-term memory was completely restored by vinpocetine as measured by the normalization of electrical potentials.13 In another rat study, about the influence of cognitive enhancing anti-amnesiacs, vinpocetine produced a significant improvement of long-term memory.

MENTAL ALERTNESS AND QUALITY OF LIFE
One of the possible concerns regarding nutrients affecting brain function is their cumulative effects on brain tissue. An accumulation of too much of anything in the brain is undesirable and can result in interference with important brain functions. A study in five healthy male volunteers given either 5 mg or 10 mg of vinpocetine three times daily for seven days found there was no accumulation.15

One double-blind placebo study gave 20 mg of vinpocetine, twice daily, to 40 ambulatory adult patients of both sexes with chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency (long-term inadequate circulation in the brain). After oral administration for 45 days, the scientists found improved mental alertness and reduced confusion, enhanced recall of recent memory, diminished anxiety and fear, and even lessened depression and fatigue while positively affecting emotional stability.16

In an English Hospital at the University of Surrey, orally administered vinpocetine was investigated  in  patients  suffering from primary dementia as well as mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes.17 Lasting for 16 weeks, the study followed 203 patients given either vinpocetine at 10 mg or 20 mg, three times daily. Compared with placebo, both vinpocetine groups were found to have increases in cognitive performance and improvements in quality of life. Depressive illness and "illness severity" ratings were also lower in the vinpocetine groups. Curiously, there was no significant difference between the results of the two vinpocetine doses, indicating a possible peak in the dose-response curve.

ANTIOXIDANT POWER
Not surprisingly, vinpocetine has also been shown to operate as an antioxidant, intracellularly protecting neuronal cells from internal toxicity (cytotoxicity), comparably to vitamin E.18 The antioxidant scavenging capacity of vinpocetine to inactivate hydroxyl free radicals was actually ranked on par with vitamin E.19 Vinpocetine may even be able to help repair neuron damage due to its antioxidant capability.20

In a study measuring the potencies of several compounds for antioxidant activity including their effect on deadly hydroxyl free radicals, vinpocetine was shown to protect hyaluronic acid, the major component of synovial fluid and the lubricator of joints.21 Is it any wonder that vinpocetine has shown benefits for arthritis?

ANTI-AGING FOR THE BRAIN
There is a great fear, with advancing age, of falling prey to some highly degenerative cognitive disease such as Alzheimer's. But there are other lesser cognitive concerns, the ultimate severity of which cannot be dismissed, that have been termed age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI). ARCI may mean no more than losing, year after year, the edge of mental acuity or mental sharpness. It may also mean something worse. Some researchers argue that ARCI begins quite early in life and that we don't notice it until we get on in years. Whatever the case, vinpocetine may be of help in preserving and/or recapturing mental lucidity.

Vinpocetine given to old rats in low doses twice a day for 3 weeks caused a significant decrease in the age-dependent decline of dopamine release.22 The survival time of mice subjected to anoxia (absence of oxygen) was significantly prolonged with vinpocetine.23 Vinpocetine's sister molecule vincamine has been shown to increase the firing rate of noradrenergic neurons in an area of the brain associated with age-related memory decline, the locus coeruleus.24 This also is thought to be true for vinpocetine, helping to explain its de-aging qualities.

When rats were given vinpocetine before researchers induced ischemia (decreased oxygen supply due to decreased circulation),25 cerebral glucose utilization was more efficient and local cerebral blood flow increased, both indicative of cerebral repair. These data support the presumption that vinpocetine is protective against ischemic damage.

Twenty-two elderly subjects with central nervous system degenerative disorders, were given vinpocetine in a double-blind clinical trial.26 Patients received 10-mg vinpocetine three times/day for 30 days, and then 5 mg three times/day for another 60 days. Placebos were given to another 18 elderly patients for the 90-day trial. At the end of the trial vinpocetine-treated patients were tested and scored using geriatric tests such as the Sandoz Clinical Assessment and the Mini-Mental Status Questionnaire. The researchers found that severity of mental impairment decreased in 73% of the patients using vinpocetine at day 30 and 77% at day 90. At the end, improvement registered in all but 13% of the patients taking vinpocetine. There were no serious side effects and 59% of the vinpocetine-treated patients were physician rated as "good" to "excellent."

A similar vinpocetine regimen as that of the above study was given to 42 elderly patients with chronic cerebral dysfunction in a study published in The Journal of the American Geriatric Society.27 There were another 42 patients taking placebo for the duration of the 90-day trial period. Those subjects taking vinpocetine scored consistently better in all effectiveness evaluations including measurements on same tests used in the prior study. Side effects were minimal.

RETURN OF THE SELF
Beyond the objectivity of a well conducted study is the concern for quantification of human experience. In other words, what is the subjectivity; eg, "How do you feel?" After years of scientific research on DHEA—mostly with animals and some with humans—from which the benefits could clearly be seen, it wasn't until Yen et al28 published their watershed study showing that DHEA improved the "quality of life," that the immediacy of DHEA became apparent. Are there such studies out there for vinpocetine? A few to date. But before long you can be sure that there will be many more.

Vinpocetine is one of the few substances studied which can offer multiple cognitive benefits as well as a remarkable number of benefits for the body. It turns up your mind and keeps your lights bright at the same time that it helps your cardiovascular and GI systems, along with muscles, joints, and sensory organs to function better.

Our concept of self and mind/body evolves as we continue to live our lives. What we will be in the future depends to a great deal on what we do in the present. Do we take every reasonable advantage to preserve or restore our health including our perceptual and cognitive abilities or do we surrender to the "dying of the light"? Do we give in to the aging process or do we take whatever action necessary to prolong life? With the advent of dietary supplements and herbs such as vinpocetine, the choice is yours. See you in the future.

References

  1. Korol DL, Gold PE. Glucose, memory, and aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;67:764S-771S. 
  2. Dean W. Q&A: Vincamine? Smart Life News. 1998;6(4):12. 
  3. Subhan Z, Hindmarch I. Psychopharmacological effects of vinpocetine in normal healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1985;28:567-571. 
  4. Bhatti JZ, Hindmarch I. Vinpocetine effects on cognitive impairments produced by flunitrazepam. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1987;2:325-331. 
  5. Coleston DM, Hindmarch I. Possible memory-enhancing properties of vinpocetine. Drug Dev Res. 1988;14:191-193. 
  6. Gaal L, Molnar P. Effect of vinpocetine on noradrenergic neurons in rat locus coeruleus. Eur J Pharmacol. 1990;187:537-539. 
  7. Kiss B, Szporny L. On the possible role of central monoaminergic systems in the central nervous system actions of vinpocetine. Drug Dev Res. 1988;14:263-279. 
  8. Hayakawa M. Effect of vinpocetine on red blood cell deformability in vivo measured by a new centrifugation method. Arzneim-Forsch Drug Res. 1992;42:281-283. 
  9. Tohgi H, Sasaki K, Chiba K, Nozaki Y. Effect of vinpocetine on oxygen release of hemoglobin and erythrocyte organic polyphosphate concentrations in patients with vascular dementia of the Binswanger type. Arzneim-Forsch Drug Res. 1990;40:640-643. 
  10. Otomo E.; Atarashi J.; Araki G.; et al. Comparison of vinpocetine with ifenprodil tartrate and dihydroergotoxine mesylate treatment and results of long-term treatment with vinpocetine. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 1985;37:811-821. 
  11. Kaneko S, Takahashi H, Satoh M. The use of Xenopus oocytes to evaluate drugs affecting brain Ca2+ channels: Effects of bifemelane and several nootropic agents. Eur J Pharmacol Mol Pharmacol. 1990;189:51-58. 
  12. Satoh M, Ishihara K, Katsuki H. A pharmacological profile of LTP in CA3 region of guinea-pig hippocampus in vitro. Biomed Res. 1989;10(Suppl 2):125-129. 
  13. Molnar P, Gaal L, Horvath C. The impairment of long-term potentiation in rats with medial septal lesion and its restoration by cognition enhancers. Neurobiology. 1994;2:255-66. 
  14. Molnar P, Gaal L. Effect of different subtypes of cognition enhancers on long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus in vivo. Eur J Pharmacol. 1992;215:17-22. 
  15. Miskolczi P, Kozma K, Polgar M, Vereczkey L Pharmacokinetics of vinpocetine and its main metabolite apovincaminic acid before and after the chronic oral administration of vinpocetine to humans. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1990;15:1-5. 
  16. Valdes EF, Debian AM. Comparative double-blind study of the association vincamine plus ascorbic acid plus arginine aspartate vs. vincamine plus ascorbic acid in chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency. Prensa Med Argent. 1984;71:708-711. 
  17. Hindmarch I, Fuchs HH, Erzigkeit H. Efficacy and tolerance of vinpocetine in ambulant patients suffering from mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1991;6:31-43. 
  18. Miyamoto M, Murphy TH, Schnaar RL, Coyle JT. Antioxidants protect against glutamate-induced cytotoxicity in a neuronal cell line. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1989;250:1132-1140. 
  19. Olah VA, Balla G, Balla J, Szabolcs A, Karmazsin L. An in vitro study of the hydroxyl scavenger effect of Cavinton. Acta Paediatr Hung. 1990;30:309-316. 
  20. Uchiyama-Tsuyuki Y, Okuyama S, Araki H. VA-045, a novel apovincamic acid derivative attenuates neuronal injury induced by hypoxia or by excitatory amino acids in cultures of rat cortices. Life Sci. 1996;59:1571-1578. 
  21. Orvisky E, Soltes L, Stancikova M. High-molecular-weight hyaluronan—A valuable tool in testing the antioxidative activity of amphiphilic drugs stobadine and vinpocetine. J Pharm Biomedical Analysis. 1997;16(3):419-424. 
  22. Schmidt J, Wustmann C, Rudolph E, Zschorn E.M, Fischer HD. Effect of nootropic drugs on age dependent changes in transmitter release. Drug Dev Res. 1988;14:293-295. 
  23. Yamamoto M; Shimizu M; Kawabata S. Cerebral vasodilators potentiate the anti-anoxic activity of indeloxazine hydrochloride, a new cerebral activator. Neuropharmacology 1989;28:313-317. 
  24. Boulat O, Waldmeier P, Maitre L. 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (Dopac) as an index of noradrenaline turnover: effects of hydergine and vincamine. J Neural Transm Gen Sect. 1990;82:181-95. 
  25. Rischke R, Krieglstein J. Effects of vinpocetine on local cerebral blood flow and glucose utilization seven days after forebrain ischemia in the rat. Pharmacology 1990;41:153-160). 
  26. Manconi E, Binaghi F, Pitzus F. A double-blind clinical trial of vinpocetine in the treatment of cerebral insufficiency of vascular and degenerative origin. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 1986;40:702-709. 
  27. Balestreri R, Fontana L, Astengo F. A double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of vinpocetine in the treatment of patients with chronic vascular senile cerebral dysfunction. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1987;35:425-430. 
  28. Yen SS, Morales AJ, Khorram O. Replacement of DHEA in aging men and women. Potential remedial effects. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1995;774:128-142.

FREE Subscription

  • You're just getting started! We have published thousands of scientific health articles. Stay updated and maintain your health.

    It's free to your e-mail inbox and you can unsubscribe at any time.
    Loading Indicator