Vinpocetine is a supplement originally found in the periwinkle plant Vinca minor and is used as a medicine across the world. Today, it is manufactured in a lab. It is thought to improve blood flow to the brain, enhance memory and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other similar conditions.
It is also used for preventing and reducing the chance of disability and death from ischemic stroke. It is used to treat strokes in many countries around the world, most commonly in Eastern European and Asian countries.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and is also often the cause of disability. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel is blocked from supplying blood to the brain. This causes brain cells to die because they cannot receive oxygen. This is where vinpocetine comes into use. Sometimes, vinpocetine will be used to treat stroke right after it happens because it is though it might help keep blood from clotting, and protect brain cells from oxygen deprivation.
A literature review reviewed various studies on vinpocetine and its effect on acute ischaemic stroke to assess the effectiveness. They reviewed trials where vinpocetine was compared with a placebo in people with acute ischaemic stroke. Unfortunately, the authors conclusions were that there is not enough evidence to evaluate the effect of vinpocetine on survival or dependency in patients with acute ischaemic stroke. This particular literature review was attempting to determine whether giving vinpocetine in the first two weeks after onset of stroke symptoms decrease the number of people who died or became dependent on others for care.
That said, it is still widely given to treat stroke, with the hope that it will allow oxygen to reach the brain. It is also known to boost energy, focus and memory, neutralize free radicals and oxidative damage, and increases the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Read this post to find out all the benefits!