Health & Wellness Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine: Cognition enhancer and vasodilator

Bodybuilder Ronny Coleman - strong big veins - Vinpocetin

Vinpocetine is extract from the periwinkle plant (known as Vinca minor, Lesser Periwinkle, Common Periwinkle,… ). It is clinically used drug for cerebrovascular disorders (brain dysfunction related to disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain) as well as age-related memory impairment [1] and is a semisynthetic derivative alkaloid of vincamine. It is promoted as a vasodilator (widening of blood vessels) and as a nootropic supplement for the improvement of memory and cerebral metabolism. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers that are neuroprotective or extremely nontoxic.

Vinpocetine Dosage

Typical recommended dose by manufacturers ranges from 5 to 40 mg per day.

Effects of Vinpocetine on Cognitive Enhancement

Vinpocetine, a synthetic ethyl ester of apovincamine, has the most clinical promise for the management of vascular insufficiencies involving the brain [2]. It is marketed as an effective “memory booster“. Some double-blind clinical trials have shown benefits from vinpocetine supplementation on memory, learning, and enhance performance on cognitive tests [3-5]. In a study from 1991 [4] where two hundred and three patients (suffering from mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes) were given either 3 x 10 mg or 3 x 20 mg doses of vinpocetine, or 3 x placebo, statistically significant improvements were found in favour of both active treatment groups compared to placebo. Another study using 10 mg of vinpocetin together with 40mg of Ginkgo Biloba improved short-term memory processing in 24 normal adults [12].

Vinpocetine doesn’t seem to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s Disease [6]. However, the use of vinpocetine is still under investigation for potential use in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease as continuous use of anti-inflamatory agents is required to treat these conditions [7]. In 56 cognitively impaired patients with with either epilepsy or dementia, vinpocetine (at a dose of 5 mg twice a day) was minimally effective in improving memory and concentration [13].

Vinpocetine as Vasodilator

Vinpocetine is widely used in bodybuilding as a vasodilation agent. Studies are showing increased blood circulation after vinpocetine ingestion [8]. No studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of vinpocetine as performance enhancer.

Other Uses of Vinpocetine

Studies are suggesting vinpocetine may be a therapeutic candidate for treating atherosclerosis [9]. Vinpocetine has also been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory agent [7]. Its anti-inflammatory action is caused by a direct inhibition of the IκB kinase complex (enzyme complex that is involved in propagating the cellular response to inflammation) rather than phosphodiesterase inhibition. As mentioned before, vinpocetine shows promise in treatment/prevention of Alzheimer’s disease as prolonged treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the risk this condition [10]. Vinpocetine has also been shown to significantly suppressed the tumor growth without observed toxicity [1].

Vinpocetine Side Effects and Warnings

No serious side effects have been reported in any of the clinical trials. However, there might be an interaction with blood-thining agents such as Aspirin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine, or pentoxifylline. Their combination might cause bleeding problems. [11]

(Other common names: Cavinton, Eburnamenine-14-carboxylic acid, Ethyl Apovincaminate, Ethylapovincaminoate, Cognitol)


  1. Huang, Er-Wen, et al. “Vinpocetin inhibits breast cancer cells growth in vitro and in vivo.” Apoptosis 17.10 (2012): 1120-1130.
  2. Kidd, Parris M. “A review of nutrients and botanicals in the integrative management of cognitive dysfunction.” Altern Med Rev 4.3 (1999): 144-61.
  3. Balestreri, Roberto, Luigi Fontana, and Federico Astengo. “A double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of vinpocetin in the treatment of patients with chronic vascular senile cerebral dysfunction.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 35.5 (1987): 425.
  4. Hindmarch, Ian, Hans-Hermann Fuchs, and Hellmut Erzigkeit. “Efficacy and tolerance of vinpocetin in ambulant patients suffering from mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes.” International clinical psychopharmacology 6.1 (1991): 31.
  5. Nicholson, C. D. “Pharmacology of nootropics and metabolically active compounds in relation to their use in dementia.” Psychopharmacology 101.2 (1990): 147-159.
  6. Thal, Leon J., et al. “The safety and lack of efficacy of vinpoketine in Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 37.6 (1989): 515.
  7. Medina, Alexandre E. “Vinpoc as a potent antiinflammatory agent.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107.22 (2010): 9921-9922.
  8. McDaniel, Mark A., Steven F. Maier, and Gilles O. Einstein. ““Brain-specific” nutrients: a memory cure?.” Nutrition 19.11 (2003): 957-975.
  9. Cai, Yujun, Jian-Dong Li, and Chen Yan. “Vinpocet Attenuates Lipid Accumulation and Atherosclerosis Formation.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications (2013).
  10. Imbimbo, Bruno P. “The potential role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in treating Alzheimer’s disease.” Expert opinion on investigational drugs 13.11 (2004): 1469-1481.
  11. FoundHealth. “Vinpocetin Side Effects and Warnings”. Retrieved from at 10. June 2013.
  12. Polich, John, and Rebecca Gloria. “Cognitive effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Vin compound in normal adults: systematic assessment of perception, attention and memory.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 16.5 (2001): 409-416.
  13. Ogunrin, A. O. “Effect of vinpocetine (cognitol™) on cognitive performances of a Nigerian population.” Annals of medical and health sciences research 4.4 (2014): 654-661.