Vinpocetine has acquired its distinct position in the Nootropics supplements sphere because of its ability to reverse age-related cognitive decline and to improve memory and to promote rehabilitation from stroke and epilepsy.
Vinpocetine is a synthetic alkaloid derived from “Lesser Periwinkle” plant. It was isolated first in Hungary by a chemist Csaba Szántay and later manufactured on an industrial scale by Gedeon Richter (A pharmaceutical company). Following its popularity, hundreds of clinical trials were conducted and the following benefits of Vinpocetine were noted:
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Vinpocetine increases blood flow to the brain and prevents the hypoxic neuronal damages that are often associated with these conditions. Further, they retard the Na+- channels and Ca++ – channels to promote better learning, improve cognition and also to strengthen the memory formation pathway.
Effects on Eyes and Ears
Blood-flow to the eye is absolutely essential to prevent loss of vision. Hypoxia and Ischemia due to blocked Optic artery can result in transient and permanent irreversible loss of vision. Vinpocetine is an effective vasodilator that can maintain constant blood supply to the eyes and prevent age-related macular degeneration. Ringing Ears (aka Tinnitus) can be a frustrating condition in which a person experiences “irritating” sounds that can hamper concentration. Vinpocetine when taken orally for atleast a few months has reduced the ringing sound by half and doctors recommend it as a preventive drug to keep Tinnitus at bay.
Vinpocetine is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that neutralizes the effects of free-radicals and other by-products of cellular respiration. Inflammation and its excess can have devastating effects on the body biochemistry and also precipitate leaching of the body resources. Inflammation is the root-cause of many autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout and others. Keeping its anti-inflammatory effects, Vinpocetine shows some real promise in the side-effect reduction associated with Hypertension and Diabetes as well.
It can prevent certain Cancers
Vinpocetine can alter signalling pathways in cancerous breast cells and by inhibiting the successive steps in the hyper-proliferation pathway it can prevent its progression into a more fatal form. This has been especially studied in Breast Cancer.
It improves Heart and Liver Function
It reduces the elevated enzyme levels in the Liver. Also by counteracting the after-effects of alcohol use, Vinpocetine offers the perfect solution for heart health as well, it reduces the cholesterol buildup (Plaque) in arteries and also reduces the LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol) levels in the body. LDL oxidation in excess can exponentially increase the risk of Hypertension and Ischemic stroke in susceptible individuals.
Bed-Wetting and Related Urine Problems
Bed-wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) is a normal condition until 6 years of age, however, when it continues into teenage – It can be socially embarrassing and hamper your confidence. Though the exact mechanism of action, is not known – Vinpocetine reduces the frequency of bed-wetting and with the right psychological counselling it can help kids overcome this problem completely. Vinpocetine can also improve the quality of life in Chronic Diabetics suffer from diabetes insipidus, a condition caused by excessive urination and increased thirst despite drinking water – By the same mechanism of action mentioned above, Vinpocetine can promote proper sleep and decrease the associated stress.
As a painkiller
Anesthetics at the very basis inhibit the transmission of pain signals to the central nervous system. They do this by inhibiting the Na+ channels at a particular site and also by exerting effects at the brain. Vinpocetine provides pain-relief in a very similar manner. It reduces the Na+ channel activity at sites of inflammation.
Further, Vinpocetine has demonstrated its efficacy in treating conditions like Motion Sickness and reducing apathy related with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Recent studies have extrapolated that Vinpocetine can also reduce the White-Blood Cell (WBC) counts in individuals in whom it is elevated. The combined effects of reduced inflammation, anti-oxidant neutralization and improved Gastric health, make it a powerful supplement for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Interestingly, it reduces the reaction times by half in individuals and this effect can be used by Athletes and critical care workers.