Vinpocetine is a synthetic drug that was created during the 1960s. It is made from vincamine, a compound found in the leaves of Vinca minor, more commonly called the lesser periwinkle plant. In the United States, vinpocetine can be found in health food stores and online stores and is mainly used as a dietary supplement. However, in Europe and Japan, the product is sold as a prescription drug.
There have been a number of studies concerning vinpocetine, and it may be useful in several different circumstances. While many of these studies are still in progress or have been inconclusive so far, it is very possible that vinpocetine has a number of medicinal uses in addition to being used as a dietary supplement.
One possible use of vinpocetine is as a complementary treatment for those with Alzheimer’s. Several studies have shown that vinpocetine can increase the amount of oxygen to the brain, increase blood flow to the brain, and help prevent damage to brain cells. It does this by inhibiting the production of phosphodiesterase, an enzyme. However, while initial studies look promising, some studies have shown that vinpocetine may not help patients as much as was originally thought. More studies will have to be performed to gather more evidence.
Vinpocetine may also be useful for those suffering from vascular dementia and stroke. Again, this is because it can increase blood flow and circulation to the brain, which helps to reduce dementia and brain impairment after an ischemic stroke. By keeping the blood flowing, less damage may occur. However, much like its use in Alzheimer’s disease, more studies are needed before we really know how effective vinpocetine is.
One other condition that vinpocetine may help with is tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears when no actual sound is there. This noise can be soft or loud and may be a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, or other type of noise. Tinnitus most often occurs after trauma to the eardrum, such as being near a very loud noise.
As a health supplement, vinpocetine is marketed as a way of boosting your memory and other brain functions. It is said to help a person think better, be more mentally aware, and have improved cognitive processes. According to studies in Europe, vinpocetine is more effective than ginkgo biloba and other brain enhancing supplements. Because of this, vinpocetine may be a very useful treatment for those with thyroid problems. Thyroid patients often have memory issues or have problems concentrating. However, as with many health supplements, no real evidence suggests that vinpocetine actually helps improve mental processes, and more studies will need to be conducted.
There are a number of side effects that one may experience when taking vinpocetine. They include drowsiness, dry mouth, insomnia, facial flushing, nausea, dizziness, headache, anxiety, and indigestion. Using vinpocetine may also result in a temporary drop in blood pressure. If you are scheduled to have a dental or surgical procedure, you should stop taking vinpocetine two weeks prior.
It is unknown how vinpocetine affects people with kidney or liver damage. Likewise, those with low blood pressure should not take vinpocetine because it may drop your blood pressure even more. If you have seizures or bleeding disorders, do not take vinpocetine. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid the supplement.
It’s also possible that vinpocetine will interact with some prescription drugs. If you’re taking any type of medication that may thin the blood, such as Plavix, aspirin, pentoxifylline, garlic, ginkgo, or Vitamin E, you should not take vinpocetine. You should not use it with warfarin (Coumadin). If you have any questions about how vinpocetine will interact with your medication, consult your doctor before you start using it.