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Vinpocetine: A word of caution.

Vinpocetine is a human-made synthetic compound from vincamine, and not found in plants.

Many dietary supplements that claim to enhance your mental capacity, memory and improve your focus proudly list Vinpocetine in their supplement facts. It is highly praised as a reducer of “brain fog,” “mental fatigue,” “inflammation in the hypothalamus,” and “increases cerebral circulation,” “improves cognitive function” and similar. Many “experts” add/cite scientific publications along with their claims. However, there are several dangerous aspects of Vinpocetine that are overlooked by these brain hacking or neurohacking “experts”:

The FDA no longer considers Vinpocetine a safe dietary supplement:

On September 6, 2016, the FDA announced its tentative conclusion that vinpocetine (1) does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient, and (2) is excluded from the definition of a dietary supplement in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The agency is accepting comments on this tentative conclusion until November 7, 2016.

The FDA had to issues with Vinpocetine:

  1. It is a synthetic compound and is not a part of plants or other botanical, but a derivative of vincamine or tabersonine. Therefore, it is a “synthetic botanical” and does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient.
  2. Vinpocetine was the subject of an Investigative New Drug application in 1981 and clinical trials until mid-1980’s. According to the Federal law, a chemical can only first classified as a dietary supplement and then developed into a drug, no vice versa. Since Vinpocetine already gained “drug” status, it can no longer be labeled dietary supplement.

However, as of this writing (Nov. 19, 2019), several “nootropics” containing Vinpocetine are still sold on the internet, and I am sure there are many more, less prominent nootropics.

It’s up to you if you want to wait for FDA’s final ruling about Vinpocetine or continue using it by buying illegal products.

PS: Vinpocetine is sold as a prescription drug to treat menopausal complaints, tonic-clonic convulsions in epilepsy and chronic fatigue, at doses ranging from 10 to 30 mg per day, less than found in the nootropics containing vinpocetine.


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