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Clayton's Health Facts: Vinpocetine.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.

What is it and where does it come from?

Vincamine is found in the leaves of Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle) plant, and is a precursor to vinpocetine - potent pharmaceutical that has many positive effects on the brain and body.

What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

The benefits observed from vincamine supplementation are attributable to the substance to which it converts in the body: vinpocetine.

Vinpocetine increases blood circulation1,2 and oxygen flow to the brain.3,4 Animal studies have demonstrated that vinpocetine can reduce brain cell death that can result from decreased blood flow to the brain.5

Vinpocetine is a powerful antioxidant6 and it also enhances the delivery of glucose to the brain.7 Glucose is the brains primary fuel source, and without it the brain will shut-down. If glucose delivery to the brain is terminated or severely decreased, one can lose consciousness and fall into a coma.

Clinical research has demonstrated that vinpocetine can help treat the early stages of cerebrovascular disorder8 - a disorder of the brain characterized by blood flow irregularities. This disease can result in decreased brain function, personality disorders, and mental retardation.

Because of its ability to protect the brain and enhance brain function9,10, vinpocetine and its precursor vincamine are effective at treating patients with early-onset dementia.11 They can also help treat some cases of clinical and situationally dependant depression.12

In research, the clinical results of administration pointed to continuous improvement in individual symptoms of depression. Continued supplementation led to high remission percentages. Most importantly, and unlike many commercial pharmaceuticals, very few cases of side-effects were reported.13

Not surprisingly, athletes who supplement with vincamine report significant improvement in visual acuity, memory and focus. Vincamine supports the brain and improves its function.

Athletes also report that vincamine is extremely thermogenic. It causes rapid losses in bodyfat, and it accomplishes this by stimulating the release of the hormone norepinephine. It is, not surprisingly, a popular ingredient in over-the-counter weight loss supplements.

Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Vincamine supplementation can prove incredibly efficacious for elderly persons who are experiencing a decline in cognitive function, and athletes and bodybuilders who need to be lean and focused for competition.

Persons suffering from depression may benefit from vincamine supplementation although, as noted above, its ability to be an effective treatment for depression is situationally dependant. Persons with depression should consult their physician prior to making health treatment choices or changing their behavior.

Persons suffering from vertigo and Alzheimer's may also find vincamine supplementation to be of benefit. Again, these persons should consult their physician prior to making health treatment choices or changing their behavior.

No physiological requirement exists, and there are no symptoms of deficiency.

How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Strictly adhere to label dosing guidelines.

Vincamine administration is most effective when the product is taken with food.14

Side-effects are rare, and clinical research has demonstrated that few adverse side-effects were noted at the dosages used during study.15,16

Side-effects are reported only at very high doses and can include blood thinning.17

Although research has shown that vincamine does not interact with blood medications18, persons with blood or blood-related disorders should consult their physician prior to vincamine supplementation.


1. Miyazaki M. The effect of a cerebral vasodilator, vinpocetine, on cerebral vascular resistance evaluated by the Doppler ultrasonic technique in patients with cerebrovascular diseases. Angiology 1995;46:53-8.

2. Solti F, Iskum M, Czako E. Effect of ethyl apovincaminate on the cerebral circulation. Studies in patients with obliterative cerebral arterial disease. Arzneimittelforschung 1976;26:1945-7.

3. Bonoczk P, Panczel G, Nagy Z. Vinpocetine increases cerebral blood flow and oxygenation in stroke patients: a near infrared spectroscopy and transcranial Doppler study. Eur J Ultrasound. 2002 Jun;15(1-2):85-91.

4. Depresseux JC. The effect of vincamine on the regional cerebral blood flow in man. Eur Neurol. 1978;17(2):100-7.

5. McDaniel MA, Maier SF, Einstein GO. "Brain-specific" nutrients: a memory cure? Nutrition. 2003 Nov-Dec;19(11-12):957-75.

6. Santos MS, Duarte AI, Moreira PI, Oliveira CR. Synaptosomal response to oxidative stress: effect of vinpocetine. Free Radic Res 2000;32:57-66.

7. Bonoczk P, Gulyas B, Adam-Vizi V, Nemes A, Karpati E, Kiss B, Kapas M, Szantay C, Koncz I, Zelles T, Vas A. Role of sodium channel inhibition in neuroprotection: effect of vinpocetine. Brain Res Bull. 2000 Oct;53(3):245-54.

8. Hadjiev D. Asymptomatic ischemic cerebrovascular disorders and neuroprotection with vinpocetine. Ideggyogy Sz. 2003 May 20;56(5-6):166-72.

9. Krieglstein J, Rischke R. Vinpocetine increases the neuroprotective effect of adenosine in vitro. Eur J Pharmacol 1991;205:7-10.

10. Novis SP, Moretto M, Fenelon SB, Barbosa CS, da Graca Torres J. Vincamine in patients with cerebral vascular insufficiency. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 1975 Mar;33(1):25-32.

11. Fischhof PK, Moslinger-Gehmayr R, Herrmann WM, Friedmann A, Russmann DL. Therapeutic efficacy of vincamine in dementia Neuropsychobiology 1996;34(1):29-35.

12. Crispi G, Di Lorenzo RS, Gentile A, Florino A, Pannone B, Sciorio G. Psychoactive effect of vincamine in a group of subjects affected by recurrent depressive syndrome. Preliminary note. Minerva Med. 1975 Oct 20;66(70):3683-5.

13. Treatment of initial cerebrovascular insufficiency with vincamine. Polycentric research on 828 cases Minerva Med. 1978 Jun 23;69(31):2095-113.

14. Lohmann A, Dingler E, Sommer W, et al. Bioavailability of vinpocetine and interference of the time of application with food intake. Arzneimittelforschung 1992;42:914-7.

15. Szatmari SZ, Whitehouse PJ. Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003(1):CD003119.

16. Bereczki D, Fekete I. Vinpocetine for acute ischaemic stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000(2):CD000480.

17. Osawa M, Maruyama S. Effects of TCV-3B (vinpocetine) on blood viscosity in ischemic cerebrovascular diseases. Ther Hung 1985;33:7-12.

18. Hitzenberger G, Sommer W, Grandt R. Influence of vinpocetine on warfarin-induced inhibition of coagulation. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1990;28:323-8.