[An exclusive interview with George Foss, former general manager of Kayser Nutrition, southern California’s health food store chain to the wealthy and famous for 52 years. George has been called a “walking repository of nutritional supplement research knowledge,” and is a long-time consultant to the nutritional supplement industry. Featured on a variety of television and radio news broadcasts over the past 20 years, he is widely considered by west coast news media outlets to be the nutritional supplement industry’s “go to” guy on natural health topics.]

Steve Barwick: George, I understand you are going to reveal four simple steps readers can take to boost their memory and maximize mental clarity with Vinpocetine. We’ll get to that in just a minute. But first, could you tell us a little bit about the history of Vinpocetine, and help us understand how it works, and what it actually does to enhance brain function and boost memory and mental acuity?

George Foss: Yes, certainly. While Vinpocetine is a popular nutritional supplement here in the U.S., in Europe it has been widely researched and used clinically as a prescription drug for over 25 years, particularly in the prevention and treatment of common senility, as well as for senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been used to help prevent and treat cerebral arteriosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries of the brain. Because it is basically a modified alkaloid from the Vinca major plant, which is the common Periwinkle plant, it qualifies here in the U.S. as a dietary supplement under the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994. And it has been legally sold here without a prescription since shortly after Congress passed the Act. This aggravates the FDA and the U.S. drug companies to no end, of course. But it is wonderful for the American public because it gives them such easy access to this very powerful and beneficial brain-boosting nutrient. I mention its prescription drug status in Europe only because this means it has been widely studied for many years, and its safety and effectiveness have been demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Steve Barwick: How does it work?

George Foss: Vinpocetine dramatically enhances the metabolism, or energy activity, of the brain. It does this in part by increasing blood flow to the brain through vasodilation, which in turn maximizes glucose and oxygen uptake by the brain’s 100 billion neurons. The neurons thrive on glucose and oxygen, which they use to produce prodigious quantities of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. This in turn boosts the energy activity of the entire brain, which of course, is the supercomputer of the human body. This increased energy activity then triggers three crucial functions in the brain: repair or replacement of damaged brain cells, increased electrical activity between the neurons, and enhancement of efficient cell-to-cell communication. In other words, ATP is crucial to all major aspects of brain function. It helps keep the brain healthy and in peak operating condition. And Vinpocetine enhances the process by dramatically increasing the brain’s ability to produce ATP. This is, in large part, why Vinpocetine has been used so successfully in the prevention and treatment of everything from simple memory disturbances to common senility, senile dementia and strokes. It has some very positive effects upon damaged areas of the brain. And its antioxidant properties are believed to help further protect the brain from premature aging, by mopping up free radicals before they can damage brain cells. What’s more, because Vinpocetine helps increase brain levels of ATP quite dramatically, you also get a very pleasant mental lift from it.

Steve Barwick: Wow. That’s a quite a lot of powerful benefits. So how can readers use Vinpocetine more effectively, specifically in terms of boosting memory and mental clarity, and protecting the brain against the ravages of aging?

George Foss: There are a number of steps Vinpocetine users can take to more effectively protect and nourish the brain in order to help maintain cognitive function at peak levels throughout one’s life. They are as follows:

1.) Dosage -- Using Vinpocetine correctly is the single-best strategy. Research suggests that healthy individuals who simply want to use Vinpocetine for its protective anti-aging benefits on the brain, and to boost memory and mental clarity, should take one 10 mg. capsule per day, with food, first thing in the morning. The vast majority of people fit into this category, and will find Vinpocetine to be very helpful. However, if a reader is already experiencing mild memory problems and wants to use Vinpocetine to help restore brain function to more youthful levels, he or she may need to take two 10 mg. capsules per day for maximum benefits. For moderate to severe memory problems, a person may need to use three capsules per day. Of course, you should never self-treat serious health problems, such as senile dementia. And important health care decisions should always be made under the guidance and supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced health care provider.

2.) Exercise and Rest -- You can increase the beneficial effects of Vinpocetine through mild daily exercise, such as walking. Exercise boosts brain power significantly, particularly in the elderly, as just about every study on this subject has shown. That’s because mild daily exercise increases blood flow to the brain. And of course, increased blood flow provides the brain with additional oxygen and glucose, the brain’s two primary fuel sources. Since Vinpocetine acts as a potent vasodilator, which means it increases the capacity of the arteries in the brain to carry increased blood flow, a nice long walk in the morning or afternoon will help dramatically maximize its well-known brain-boosting benefits. What’s more, you should never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest for maximizing mental clarity. For most people, the single-greatest robber of brain function is lack of sleep. Study after study has confirmed that planning, problem-solving, learning, memory, concentration and alertness are all dependent upon getting plenty of rest. The brain needs it. So you should always do your very best to get at least eight hours of sleep per day. No amount of Vinpocetine, or any other nutritional supplement for that matter, can overcome the deleterious effects of long-term sleep deprivation on the brain. And a well-rested brain is more receptive to the energy-boosting actions of Vinpocetine.

3.) Proper Nutrition -- From the moment you awake each day, your brain craves nourishment. It is literally the most greedy organ in your body. And while Vinpocetine increases the brain’s capacity to receive and effectively utilize vital nutrients, it is not a substitute for those nutrients, any more than it can substitute for the brain’s need for plenty of daily rest. So be sure to start each day with a good healthy breakfast that includes a high-quality protein such as eggs, cheese, meat, or even nuts and seeds, to supply your body with plenty of brain-boosting amino acids, choline, and essential fatty acids. Taking a good omega-3 fish oil supplement with breakfast will help supply the brain with specific essential fatty acids such as DHA, EPA and ALA, which have long been linked to a healthy mental outlook and increased cognitive function. Finally, be sure to include some healthy glucose-producing carbohydrates with breakfast, such as oats, whole wheat bread, milk or whole fruit. Then, throughout the day, make sure you get more of the same, including a balanced combination of simple and complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, peas, beans, potatoes, fruits and milk. These will help your body maintain healthy blood glucose levels, so that Vinpocetine can effectively do its job of delivering glucose and oxygen to the brain for the production of ATP.

4.) Nutritional Supplements – There appears to be a dramatic beneficial synergism between Vinpocetine and other nutritional supplements. So be sure to take a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement daily. Use one that contains plenty of B-vitamins, including niacin, folic acid, biotin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6 and B-12, plus trace minerals such as selenium, potassium, boron, zinc and others. Trace minerals are crucial for proper brain function. For example, low selenium levels have been correlated with poor cognitive function in numerous studies. And low zinc levels have been correlated with faulty memory. Minerals such as potassium and boron dramatically influence the electrical activity of the brain, and skimping on either can significantly decrease mental alertness. What’s more, the brain-boosting benefits of B-vitamins have been demonstrated in study after study. In part, that’s because all B-vitamins are used by the body to more effectively convert carbohydrates into glucose, the main fuel of the brain. So B-vitamins actually aid Vinpocetine in getting more glucose to the brain for conversion into ATP. As I have mentioned, this in turn boosts repair or replacement of damaged brain cells, facilitates electrical activity to and from the neurons, and enhances efficient cell-to-cell communication in the brain. In short, it turns a lazy brain into a beehive of efficient activity. And it can help keep the brain functioning at more youthful levels literally for the rest of your life!

Steve Barwick: George, that’s absolutely fascinating. Vinpocetine is obviously a very powerful and effective supplement, and we appreciate your tips on maximizing its benefits. As always, it’s a real pleasure talking with you. We very much appreciate your insights and advice. Thank you once again for taking the time to visit with us.

George Foss: Thank you, Steve. It’s been my pleasure. For more information on the proven memory-boosting qualities of Vinpocetine, see the "Unique Nutritional Supplements" link at www.thesilveredge.com.

Copyright 2007. No reproduction with the expressed written permission of the publisher. Life & Health Research Group, Inc., PO Box 1239, Peoria AZ 85380.

Important Notice: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and the materials and products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Self-treatment is not recommended. All health care decisions should be made under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable health care practitioner.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Barwick is a natural health journalist and author of The Colloidal Silver Manual, The Immune Manual, The Beta-Glucan Manual and other books on vital alternative health and survival topics published by Life & Health Research Group, Inc., and available at http://www.lifeandhealthresearchgroup.com