My 88-year old mother-in-law takes an herb from a flower. It’s called vinpocetine.
She is as sharp as a tack and has the memory of a 20 year old. She credits this flower pill for it.
I’m only 50 and I can’t remember certain words or events in my own life. Have you heard of vinpocetine, and can it help everyone with memory loss?
–S.S., Newark, NJ
Vinpocetine is one of my favorite memory boosters and it certainly could account for your mother-law’s sharpness.
It’s a semi-synthetic derivative of “vincamine” which comes from the beautiful periwinkle plant and it increases blood flow to your brain.
Vinpocetine improves memory & alertness
There are many ways to increase blood flow in the body, but not many that can get past the brain’s outerwear, termed the “blood brain barrier.”
The fact that vinpocetine can penetrate the blood brain barrier helps it deliver more precious oxygen, glucose and nutrients directly to your brain.
Vinpocetine can improve attention and alertness, and it may even have a positive effect on the damaged brain, like for people who have suffered a stroke for example.
Vinpocetine helps drive production of ATP, an energy molecule. And let’s face it, who couldn’t use a bit more brain energy?!
Plus, some fairly well-designed studies show that vinpocetine can also help with poor night vision, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
And because of it’s blood-flow benefits I think it’s also worth a try for people with some types of hearing loss, vertigo and Reynaud’s.
Vinpocetine boosts blood flow
You may be wondering since vinpocetine is so adept at increasing circulation, whether or not it could help improve blood flow to an ailing heart. Studying the available research I think it very likely can. We do know that vinpocetine dilates blood vessels, it can lower blood pressure and it appears to decrease plaque formation.
However, if you have vascular or cardiac issues you should—of course–check with your physician and cardiologist before trying it.
Keep in mind that since vinpocetine increases blood flow, if you’re on blood thinners including warfarin, clopidogrel (brand Plavix), Lovenox and heparin among others it should be avoided unless directed by your physician. I wouldn’t combine vinpocetine with natural blood thinners either, including ginkgo biloba or ginger, because there really IS such a thing as too much of a good thing.
If you’re scheduled for dental work, or surgery, please stop the herb two weeks before your visit.
Vinpocetine is typically well tolerated at lower doses of like 10 mg per day, but when you get into higher doses then you could begin to experience some unwelcome side effects such as nausea and insomnia.
You’ll find vinpocetine it at any health food store or online.
Start low with 5 or 10 mg daily. Effects are often noticed the first week. You can always adjust higher doses if you want to, over a few weeks.
Most clinical research trials use about 10 mg three times daily, but again, dosing is very individual and should be customized to your personal medical history and drug regimen.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more. .
Read more from Suzy at suzycohen.com
Latest posts by Suzy Cohen, RPh (see all)
- Study reveals “trust your gut” approach more reliable than tests - July 18, 2016
- 8 surprising ways to boost energy and halt thyroid problems - July 9, 2016
- 5 priceless life lessons I’ve learned from older (wiser) folks - July 2, 2016