Excerpted from Smart Drugs & Nutrients by Ward Dean, MD and John Morgenthaler
Vinpocetine is a powerful memory enchancer. It facilitates
cerebral metabolism by improving cerebral microcirculation (blood
flow), stepping up brain cell ATP production (ATP is the cellular
energy molecule), and increasing utilisation of glucose and oxygen.
What all this means is that vinpocetine shares many of the effects
of several other cognitive enchancers. In the above graph from a
piece of drug company literature, vinpocetine is shown to compare
favourably to: placebo, vincamine, papaverine, DHT (Hydergine),
xanthinol nicotinate, meclophenoxate, cinnarizine, niacin,
cyclandelate, difenidol, and ifenprodil.
Vinpocetine is often used for the treatment of cerebral circulatory
disorders such as memory problems, acute stroke, aphasia (loss of
the power of expression), apraxia (inability to coordinate movements),
motor disorders, dizziness and other cerebro-vestibular (inner-ear)
problems, and headache. Vinpocetine is also used to treat acute or
chronic ophthalmological diseases of various origin, with visual
acuity improving in 70% of the subjects.
Vinpocetine also is used in the treatment of sensorineural hearing
The Gedeon Richter company of Hungary markets vinpocetine as Cavinton
in Europe. They have funded more than one hundred studies on vinpocetine,
often comparing its effect to other smart drugs. The incidence of side
effects in humans using the drug orally is usually less than 1% of
a study's participants, with the unwanted effects usually disappearing
with continued use. One series of studies that Gedeon Richter conducted
involved 882 patients with neurological disorders ranging from stroke
to cerebral insufficiency. Significant improvements were found in 62%
of the patients. In one of the studies, cerebral insufficiency patients
were asked to memorize a list of 10 words. Without vinpocetine the
subjects were able to memorize an average of 6 words. After a month
of treatment the average went up to 10 words. Gedeon Richter promotes
vinpocetine as the only drug that improves cerebral metabolism
(glucose and oxygen uptake), tolerance of hypoxia (deficient blood
oxygenation), ATP concentration, norepinephrine and serotin turnover,
and cerebral microcirculation. Gedeon Richter also claims that
vinpocetine selectively increases blood flow to the brain, improving
blood flow to the impaired area without lowering blood flow to other
parts of the body.
As if the medical uses of vinpocetine were not amazing enough, in one
double-blind crossover study normal, healthy volunteers showed
incredible short-term memory improvement an hour after taking 40mg
of vinpocetine. The volunteers took a computer-administered short-term
memory test called a Sternberg Memory Scanning Test. The volunteers
(all women between the ages of 25 and 40) were shown one to three
digits on a computer screen, then a moment later were shown a long
string of digits. The volunteers then indicated whether any of the
first strings appeared in the second long string. The time the
volunteers took to remember was then assessed. On a placebo the women
took an average of 700 milliseconds to response when the first set
contained 3 digits. With vinpocetine they averaged under
Vinpocetine is a derivate of vincamine, which is an extract of the
periwinkle. Although they have many similar effect vinpocetine
has more benefits and fewer adverse effects than vincamine.
Precautions: Adverse effect are rare, but include hypotension, dry
mouth, weakness, and tachycardia. Vinpocetine has no drug interactions,
no toxicity, and is generally very safe.
Dosage: One or two 5 mg tablets per day.