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What is Vinpocetine?

Vinpocetine is a derivative of an extract taken from the periwinkle plant, an evergreen undershrub. The shrub is native to Europe, where it has been under examination since the 1950s for combating stroke and age-related decline in brain function.

Poor blood circulation in the brain is one of the most significant mechanisms responsible for the cognitive decline that accompanies aging typically, problems remembering names, directions, appointments, etc. Memory lapses and episodes of disorientation are also frequently experienced.

Research indicates that Vinpocetine can guard against such developments by increasing blood circulation in the brain. This benefit is most likely with those already experiencing mild age-related cognitive impairment.

Only recently has Vinpocetine become available in the United States, and not as a prescription drug like in Europe, but as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.

Benefits & Uses:
Vinpocetine also enhances the brains use of oxygen by increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the bodys cellular fuel). People suffering from dementia caused by numerous tiny strokes appear to benefit from an increased oxygen-rich brain environment. This condition can cause memory problems that closely resemble those of Alzheimers disease. Vinpocetine may be able to protect the brain from damage caused by strokes.

Extensively studied in Europe, Vinpocetine has also been used to treat symptoms of acute stroke, motor disorders, and dizziness. Some studies indicate a possible value for improving visual acuity and hearing as well. Even otherwise healthy people experienced improved short-term memory with Vinpocetine.

In addition, research indicates that Vinpocetine may also:
Increase ATP (energy) levels in the brain
Enhance use of glucose by brain cells
Stop or prevent blood from becoming sticky
Enhance memory and learning
Increase levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters
Increase the tolerance of the brain to lack of oxygen supply to the brain
Enhance cerebral metabolism
Improve vision
Help with depression/mood changes/sleep disorders
Aid with tinnitus and other causes of hearing impairment

** The long term benefits of using Vinpocetine as a nutritional supplement may outweigh the short term benefits, by enhancing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to ones brain over several regenerative cycles.

Side effects:
Vinpocetine is nontoxic even in doses several times higher than those used normally (Vinpocetine is 50 times less toxic than a cup of coffee at recommended doses) and has a low risk of side effects especially when taken with food.

Vinpocetine supplements should be avoided by women who are pregnant or who are nursing, and by those with a history of hypersensitivity or allergic reactions. Also, prolonged use of Vinpocetine may lead to slight reductions in blood pressure. Reported adverse reactions include dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, facial flushing, dizziness, transient hypotension and tachycardia, headache and insomnia.

Overall Vinpocetine seems a useful nutritional supplement for promoting the proper cognitive functioning of the brain a supplement that may well increase in use and popularity as its attributes are more widely recognized by our aging American public.

Vinpocetine's benefits do not stop at the brain. Elsewhere in the head, it can prevent or relieve hearing loss due to various causes, as well as tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) and vertigo (an illusion of movement). It can also improve night vision, prevent or relieve glaucoma, and prevent or improve age-related macular decline. Farther down the body, it improves cardiovascular function in a number of ways, including enhanced blood circulation and reduced atherosclerotic plaque.

And, farther down still, it has recently been discovered that vinpocetine is effective in bladder control. A new study from Germany indicates that vinpocetine may be effective in bladder control, even when standard prescription drugs have failed.

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