Vinpocetine Fights Dementia
If you’re suffering from a fuzzy brain, you may want to know about vinpocetine. This semi-synthetic substance is a derivative of vincamine, an alkaloid of the periwinkle plant. It has been used in Europe, Japan and Mexico for the treatment of cerebrovascular and cognitive disorders. Here in the US, vinpocetine is a dietary supplement that is sometimes called a nootropic, meaning cognition enhancer.
Vinpocetine has been widely used in the treatment of different blood-brain (known as cerebrovascular) diseases and dementias. The chronic decrease of blood flow to the brain plays an important role in the development of certain types of dementia. As the consequence of complex set of actions, vinpocetine has been found to play a significant role in improving these conditions.
What’s new: Recently, Hungarian researchers found that vinpocetine may help improve cognitive functioning. They set out to investigate the characteristics of blood flow in those with mild cognitive impairment. Then they examined those patterns and cognitive functions while the subjects took vinpocetine for 12 weeks. Using psychometric tests, they found a significant improvement of cognitive functions after the 12-week vinpocetine therapy. In addition, the general condition of patients improved significantly according to both the investigator’s and the patients’ opinion. The researchers concluded that the vinpocetine improved the reserve capacity of the cerebellum and the blood vessels that supply it and that it favorably influenced the cognitive status and general condition of patients with chronic decrease of blood flow through their brains. As a result, they recommended the use of vinpocetine for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment.
What this means: This study adds to the scientific evidence that vinpocetine may increase brain blood flow and metabolism, and work as a cognition enhancer, neuroprotectant and antioxidant. Previous studies have been small-scale clinical trials that use that use PET scans and verify that vinopocetine, when taken orally, does pass through the blood-brain barrier and increases blood flow to the brain.