My brother did some research and sent me LifeExtension's Cognitex w/brain shield that has vinpocetine. Normally, I don't try blends because it's hard to figure out what does what, especially it something causes a problem. I ofen try each ingredient separately and then try the blend, but I muscle tested both Jett and Oliver (his baby brother w/mild cerebral palsy, not DS) and since they both tested fine for it, I tried it. And, I must say, I like it and will stick with it. I have seen overall cognitive benefits in Jett on it. He just seems overall more aware with better speech and just seems more like a kid his age... A bit more mature than he was...
Is Vinpocetine the Answer to Brain Fog, Cognitive and Memory Problems?
By Mary Shomon, About.com Guide
Updated December 03, 2003
It might be, says Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD, a Florida-based board-certified family physician who specializes in the application of herbal remedies and nutritional supplements. Dr. Wollschlaeger is also the associate editor of the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (JANA).
Vinpocetine (pronounced vin-poe-ce-teen), is a nutritional supplement derived from the periwinkle plant. It has just recently become available in the U.S. through food, drug and mass market retailers as a nutritional supplement. The supplement is already very much in use in Europe, where physicians believe it is far more effective than other supplements -- such as ginkgo biloba -- used for memory and brain function. Vinpocetine actually contains many of the same cerebral-enhancing effects as ginkgo biloba, but has been shown to be more effective in much shorter time.
Vinpocetine has been extensively studied in Europe. These clinical studies have found it to provide several advantages for the human brain, including memory enhancement, increased cognitive performance, improved cerebral circulation and higher mental acuity and awareness.
In his book, Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements that Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood, Ray Sahelian, M.D. has written, "Experiments with vinpocetine indicate that it can dilate blood vessels, enhance circulation in the brain, improve oxygen utilization, make red blood cells more pliable, and inhibit aggregation of platelets."
According to Dr. Wollschlaeger, "all of the studies focus on improvement of cognitive function. Several peer- reviewed, double-blind studies looked at cognitive performance of normal subjects, seeing how vinpocetine would improve their cognitive performance. The researchers found a significant improvement with vinpocetine. Until vinpocetine, we physicians have had nothing to prevent cognitive decline. We only have drugs to treat after the fact."
No studies have been to date been performed specifically using vinpocetine with thyroid patients -- who frequently complain of memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and that particular fuzzy-thinking described as "brain fog." However, it's thought that the reduced metabolism of hypothyroidism may reduce blood flow to the brain, or slow down brain metabolism slightly, which may account for the cognitive and memory-related symptoms. Vinpocetine has been proven to increases brain blood flow and brain cell metabolism, so, by providing more oxygen to the brain, brain-cell energy increases and it is in that capacity that the supplement may be a help for some people with hypothyroidism.
"According to clinical data, consumers will see improvement in memory functions as well as enhancement of learning and recall and overall alertness," says Dr. Wollschlaeger.
How much Vinpocetine would typically be a good dosage to help with brain fog and memory problems? The standard recommended dose is 1 tablet, 3 x a day (which is 15 mg a day total, taken as 3 5-mg tablets per day.) But, according to Dr. Wollschlaeger, some researchers have doubled the dose, but the extra dose did not make any difference in terms of results, or side effects.
If you started taking vinpocetine, how soon should you see results? "In seven to ten days," according to Dr. Wollschlaeger. "We don't have to wait 4 or 6 or 8 weeks, like with gingko, to see results."
Some researchers also have found that vinpocetine has additional benefits, such as:
* protecting the retina against the hepatitis B virus
* helping alcoholics recover from ethanol-induced toxicity.
* dealing with space motion sickness
Side effects of vinpocetine may include indigestion, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, facial flushing, insomnia, headache, drowsiness and dry mouth. Vinpocetine may also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Vinpocetine may temporarily deplete the monoamines serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine by inhibiting VMAT, thus preventing them from reaching the synapse. Vinpocetine may therefore induce or exasperate depressive symptoms as an adverse effect.
Vinpocetine shouldn’t be taken by pregnant or nursing women. The safety of vinpocetine in people with liver or kidney damage isn’t known. People with bleeding disorders, low blood pressure or seizure disorders shouldn’t use vinpocetine. It also shouldn’t be used two weeks before or after a surgical or dental procedure.
There is one case report of agranulocytosis associated with the use of vinpocetine.
Vinpocetine shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking drugs or herbs that “thin” the blood (anticlotting or antiplatelet medications), such as aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), Ticlid (ticlopidine), (Trental) pentoxifylline, vitamin E, garlic or ginkgo. It should not be used with Coumadin (warfarin).
Szatmari SZ, Whitehouse PJ. Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1):CD003119.
Dr. Wollschlaeger is a private practice family physician in North Miami Beach. Phone: 305-940-8717.
Website [link url=http://www.complemed.com]www.complemed.com.
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