Why is it that we believe that aging = memory loss?
This belief is so prevalent that it seems that we just accept that at around our 30’s we will begin to forget where we put our keys, in our 40’s names of people we meet again, in our 50’s what we came into a room for, in our 60’s family birthdays and in our 70’s what day of the week it is.
What we learned?
Memory loss is:
- not inevitable
- can be improved
- can be reversed
- is strongly tied to our lifestyle choices
- and….can be improved with new nootropics targeted at improving blood flow and oxygen to our brains
What is Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine is a compound from the Periwinkle plant that has been used for centuries as a cognitive protective (memory) and anti-aging agent. One of the more common of the nootropics.
Nootropics are drugs, substances or supplements that improve memory, creativity and motivation. The most common are supplements such as caffeine, krill oil, resveratrol, and ginko biloba, or prescription drugs used for diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or substances such as nicotine found in cigarettes.
How does Vinpocetine work?
Vinpocetine is a powerful memory enhancer. It achieves this by stimulating cerebral metabolism and improving blood flow in the brain. It works by causing mild dilation of blood vessels, thereby allowing for increased blood flow in the brain, which results in increased oxygenation and glucose utilization.
In addition to more efficient brain circulation, Vinpocetine has been found to increase brain-cell energy through its effect on the production of ATP (the cellular energy molecule). ATP is your energy source within your neurons and other bodily cells. All of the energy you consume from foods – whether in the form of sugars (glucose) or fat (lipids) – ultimately is converted into ATP to power the fundamental operations of your cell organelles.
Vinpocetine is in the supplement category. Numerous recent studies conducted all conclude that Vinpocetine increases the blood flow to your brain through the dopamine centers. This improves memory and dispositions (moods) in test subjects.
Research on NFL Players
Dr Amen, a brain surgeon and researcher, is credited with recently bringing Vinpocetine to the forefront through his vast brain studies of NFL football players who had suffered concussions. His studies demonstrated that brain function could be restored and improved, disproving the prior theory that damage to the brain was irreversible.
How it Help Athletic Performances?
One of the surprising benefits of Vinpocetine is its ability to improve endurance and reaction times with athletic performances. It is especially beneficial to athletes who perform at higher altitudes. Vinpocetine does this because it increasing brain oxygenation, thereby decreasing the altitude-induced fatigue experienced by athletes such as skiers, mountain climbers, and high-altitude hikers.
How it Helps Stroke and Dementia Cases?
The anti-inflammatory role of Vinpocetine in tandem with its cognitive improvement properties have made it of particular interest in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
Since 1978, Vinpocetine has been commonly used in many countries to treat cerebral vascular diseases. The evidence for its use is strongest in the treatment of chronic cerebral vascular ischemia, though growing evidence suggests that it may be beneficial in treating or preventing acute ischemic strokes and various forms of dementia.
Currently studies are being conducted for use of Vinpocetine with Alzheimer’s cases. The results are promising, but inconclusive until further testing is completed.
What benefits can I expect?
- Improve memory, long- and short-term
- Enhance alertness, awareness, and preparedness
- Act as a neuroprotector
- Prevent or reverse ischemic (lack of oxygen) damage to brain, muscle, liver, and elsewhere
- Diminish senile cerebral dysfunction
Improve Hearing Function
- Prevent or relieve hearing loss due to various causes
- Prevent or relieve tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in the ears)
- Prevent or relieve vertigo (dizziness)
Improve Visual Function
- Improve night vision
- Improve wound healing of eyes due to burns
- Prevent or relieve glaucoma
- Prevent or improve age-related macular decline
Improve Cardiovascular Function
- Diminish atherosclerotic plaque
- Improve cardiac output and nutritive blood flow to various organs
- Improve dilation of blood vessels
- Increase the flexibility of red blood cells
- Scavenge toxic metals in the body, such as aluminum and lead
How Much Vinpocetine Should I Take?
Most studies showing positive benefits from Vinpocetine have been done at amounts of 10 to 30 mg/day, and some at 40 mg/day.
All studies done at 30 mg/day showed additional benefits compared with lesser daily amounts (it’s dose-dependent curve). Depending on your body chemistry, you could start with 10 mg/day and work up, or you could start with 30 mg/day.
For an immediate cognitive boost, to be taken on demand, anecdotally users report the best results when taking 20-30 mg in one dose. Like many other nootropics, Vinpocetine has frequently been shown to follow a dose-response curve in which benefits decline when too-large doses are taken; benefits peak at maximum dosages of about 40 mg daily, though results vary from user to user.
Another user-dependent variable is the amount of time it takes for the benefits of Vinpocetine to be observable. Many users report feeling an improvement in cognitive abilities, energy, and mood within hours of taking Vinpocetine, while others say the benefits only become noticeable over weeks or even months of regular dosage.
Does it have any side effects?
Vinpocetine is extracted as a single specific substance from the periwinkle plant and is not the whole of the plant. Vinpocetine in some studies has been found to have fewer side effects than placebo, making it essentially side-effect-free. There are some reports in the literature, however, of mild gastrointestinal upset at 60 and 180 mg/day.
Our Results After Taking Vinpocetine
We started taking with 10 mg/ day and very quickly noticed a clarity of thought and slight improvement of memory.
We have since increased our dosage to 40 mg/ day and have noticed:
- a distinct improvement in memory and retention of information
- an increased learning capabilities
- an untiring brain that does not tire or fatigue
- an increased in energy and vitality
…..that continues to amaze both us and those around us.
I’m sure we have reaped additional benefits. but in that we take a variety of supplements, we are unable to isolate any other improvements to this one supplement.
We have had no negative side effects, but still caution that science is continuing to learn about this supplement so it should be taken with caution and awareness of the reactions in your own body.
Love to hear how it works for you, and/or your thoughts and questions on it!