Vinpocetine is derived from the periwinkle plant, from a molecule bearing the name vincamine. The periwinkle plant has a history of being used to reduce the pain of headaches, so the lineage already suggests that vinpocetine should have something to do with the brain.
In fact, Vinpocetine does play a part in reducing neural inflammation and increasing neuroprotection. This is not, however, the principal reason it is added to nootropic formulae. It is a cerebral vasodilator, and as such increases the amount of blood, oxygen, nutrients and other helpful agents getting to the brain, while flushing the toxins quicker.
This vasodilator is added to quality nootropic supplements because it not only increases oxygen and nutrient traffic, but it shuttles the other compounds within the supplement’s formula to the receptors there also.
How Does Vinpocetine Work?
Vinpocetine widens the blood vessels within the brain and central nervous system to increase the blood flow therein.
At first, this might seem contradictory to the neural anti-inflammatory properties it possesses, but widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) does not result in the same mechanical responses as vasodilation within working muscles do.
Though you have more than likely heard of this process being beneficial to muscle growth, the mechanics are different with the brain. Muscles move and contract, bear load and extend, the brain does not.
Allowing more blood flow in and around the brain allows for more oxygen and nutrients in and speeds up the disposal of waste, free radicals and leftovers of oxidation. Not only that, but the acetylcholine boosters, nerve growth stimulators, antioxidants and stress reducers that are present in the nootropic blend along with it will get to work quicker and with more efficacy as well.
Vinpocetine interacts with ion functions; those of sodium, potassium and calcium specifically and exerts its neuroprotective qualities by suppressing unnecessary releases of oxidative compounds like glutamate. It also has some direct cognitive benefits, although the main reasons for its supplementation is definitely for the cerebral vasodilation and neuroprotective elements.
Are There Other Benefits?
As partly discussed in more detail above, there are other benefits of Vinpocetine aside from increasing brain blood flow and neuroprotective behaviour:
- Prevention of Cognitive Decline
- Enhanced Stroke Recovery
- Reduction to Epileptic Seizure
- Pain Relief from Headache
Where Does Vinpocetine Come From?
Vinpocetine is an alkaloid, synthesized from a molecule known as vincamine. The origin of the molecule is a plant called the Periwinkle. It has been used traditionally to treat cognitive decline mostly in Europe as far as researched sources indicate.
Cerebral vasodilators are a valuable addition to any nootropic blend, and Vinpocetine is highly regarded in the industry, as it has other benefits to cognitive function as well as that of increasing the entire supplement’s efficacy (when part of a comprehensive recipe).
Vinpocetine should definitely be a part of a complete formula, as it may not reach its full benefit as a singular product. Most manufacturers use it like a turbo booster to the rest of the ingredients within their product. It could almost be regarded as the mechanical aspect of the formula.
It has neurprotective and antioxidant properties as well, which makes it particularly useful as it will even assist the flushing of toxins from the brain as it itself improves the blood flow in order to do so.