Vinpocetine Outperforms the Competition
Superior Memory Enhancement

The first vinpocetine product to hit the market - in June of 1998 - is, in all likelihood, still the best. This is because it is a formulation that contains not only 10 mg of vinpocetine per capsule, but also research-supported amounts of the amino acid arginine (375 mg) and the low-acid, stomach-calming form of vitamin C, calcium ascorbate (200 mg).

When arginine and vitamin C were combined with vincamine, a natural extract of the periwinkle plant (Vinca minor), the memory-enhancement results were dramatically clear. While vincamine and vitamin C were quite beneficial, the addition of arginine significantly enhanced memory.

In a study using vincamine - a close relative of vinpocetine, with similar action in every way, but less so - two treatment regimens were used: Group 1 received 20 mg of vincamine plus 40 mg of ascorbic acid plus 1500 mg of arginine, while Group 2 received 20 mg of vincamine plus 40 mg of ascorbic acid, and no arginine.1 These treatments were administered orally twice daily for 45 days. The subjects were 40 ambulatory adult patients of both sexes (in two groups of 20) with chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency. Tolerance of the products was good in both groups. The study was of parallel double-blind design.

Using a standard geriatric scale of memory-function decline, therapeutic activity was assessed, according to the standards of both physician and patient, at the end of the study. This meant that the patients as well were asked to quantify their responses. Among the findings were the following:

Evaluation of the results showed that both treatment regimens very significantly increased alertness; in Group 1, motivation & initiative and fatigue were very significantly improved; and both treatments produced substantial improvements in the remaining factors, except for appetite, vertigo, sleep, and head noises.

At the end of the study, a global evaluation of therapeutic activity showed better results in Group 1 than in Group 2, according to both physicians and patients.

When our attention was first drawn to the paper described above, it struck us that both arginine and the periwinkle extracts (vincamine and vinpocetine) inhibit the enzymes in the group known as phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which are involved in the action of Viagra in producing erections.2,3 These PDE inhibitors have the potential to exert organ-specific therapeutic effects.

In penile and clitoral tissue, the effect of the PDE inhibitor Viagra causes smooth-muscle relaxation, thereby causing the spongy tissue of the penis to relax in such a way that it impinges the veins, and blood is prevented from flowing out. Thus erection is maintained and, as a consequence, sexual sensitivity is increased.

In neural tissue, the effect of the PDE inhibitors arginine or vincamine or vinpocetine is to "relax" neurons disturbed by, say, oxygen deficiency and to lessen damage, at the same time that neural sensitivity is increased. In this sense, the periwinkle extracts, especially vinpocetine, can be thought of as "Viagra for the brain."

When two PDE inhibitors are combined, such as arginine and vinpocetine, the results are additive.

Although no study has yet been done to demonstrate for vinpocetine what has been demonstrated for its cousin vincamine, all studies comparing these two compounds have shown that vinpocetine is a more active version of vincamine. Our personal experience, augmented by much anecdotal evidence we have heard, supports this conclusion. Try it, and see* if you don't agree.

*Vinpocetine may improve vision also.


  1. Valdes EF, Debian AM. Comparative double-blind study of the association of vincamine plus ascorbic acid plus arginine aspartate vs. vincamine plus ascorbic acid in chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency. Prensa Med Argent 1984;71(15):708-11.
  2. Fauchier JP, Fauchier L, Babuty D, Breuillac JC, Cosnay P, Rouesnel P. Drug-induced ventricular tachycardia. Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss 1993 May;86(5 Suppl):757-67.
  3. Kss B, Karpati E. Mechanism of action of vinpocetine. Acta Pharm Hung 1996 Sep;66(5):213-24.

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