CDP-choline

Background

CDP-choline, also known as Citicoline or Cytidine Diphosphocholine, is a nutritional supplement and source of choline and cytidine with potential neuroprotective and nootropic activity.[1] It is known as an endogenous organic molecule that helps enhance membrane maintenance, membrane repair, and neuronal function in conditions such as ischemic and traumatic injuries. It also has beneficial effects in Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, aging, Alzheimer’s disease, learning and memory, and cholinergic stimulation.[2]
This nootropic compound is essentially a prodrug for both choline and uridine, conferring both of those molecules to the body following oral ingestion of CDP-Choline. It is one of the three choline-containing phospholipids that can be orally supplemented (the other two are Alpha-GPC and phosphatidylcholine). CDP-Choline is used for improving cognitive function, enhancing memory and learning in youth as well as in the elderly, and increasing focus and attention. It may have roles as an anti-addictive compound against both cocaine and food as well. It appears to be more effective than phosphatidylcholine (PC) at times, partly due to also increasing PC synthesis in the brain, its potency is somewhat comparable to that of Alpha-GPC.[3]

Benefits

CDP-choline (citicoline) has shown cholinergic and neuroprotective actions. It is a great nootropic supplement best known for its ability to enhance memory. It’s true that choline may not be one of the most superb or popular topics in the media today regarding health and wellness. It is, actually, a nutrient that is vital for overall health.
CDP-choline has been shown as a prodrug used for improving brain power. Besides improving memory, it helps people with a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. CDP-choline has been used for, particularly in relation to ischemic stroke, head trauma, age-related cognitive deterioration and Alzheimer’s Disease.[4] CDP-choline is hydrolyzed in the small intestine to form choline and cytidine, which are easily absorbed and dispersed throughout the organism. It is shown in a study that choline and cytidine can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB), where they are re-synthesized into CDP-choline. Experience on human shows that, cytidine is metabolized into the amino acid uridine, which can also cross the BBB and help support the biosynthesis of phospholipids.[5]
The common health benefits include:

  • Improves cognitive performance [6]
  • Improves learning and memory [7]
  • Enhances concentration [8]
  • Increases mental energy [9]
  • Shown to have an effect on people who have attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) [10]
  • Increases working memory [11]
  • Shown to have an effect on Alzheimer’s disease [12]
  • Shown to have an effect on patients with cerebral insufficiency, chronic cerebrovascular disease, and dementia [13]
  • Shown to have an effect on Parkinson’s disease [14]
  • Shown to have an effect on acute ischemic stroke [15]
  • Improves visual evoked potentials in some glaucoma patients [16]

CDP Choline is a powerful nootropic supplement and supplementing with a choline source such as CDP Choline can help amplify and enhance the effects of other nootropic supplements. It works synergistically with racetam class nootropics, knowingly strengthening the effects of memory enhancers such as Piracetam.[17]

How it works

CDP-choline, or citicoline, is an intermediate in the synthesis of phospholipids, which are essential components in the assembly and repair of cell and mitochondrial membranes. Therefore, CDP-choline may have neuroprotective qualities as well as therapeutic effects in some neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. CDP-choline seems to enhance a brain element called phosphatidylcholine which is important for brain function. It may also reduce brain tissue damage when the brain is injured. Several studies have investigated using CDP-choline as a supplement to levodopa. CDP-choline may enhance dopaminergic therapy in Parkinson’s disease through multiple mechanisms, including decreased reuptake of dopamine leading to increased levels at the synaptic cleft. In addition, CDP-choline activates tyrosine-hydroxylase and induces increased dopamine production. [18]
CDP choline is also known as a psychostimulant nootropic which works in several ways: it renovates and repairs neuronal membranes, boosts the levels of dopamine in the central nervous system (CNS), and increases the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.[19]

Considerations

CDP choline or Citicoline is generally safe when taken by mouth for short-term (up to 90 days). The safety of long-term use has not been well studied, although there are thousands of users that have been taking it continuously for long periods of time. Most people who take CDP choline or Citicoline don’t experience problematic side effects. But some people can have side effects such as trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, diarrhea, low or high blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision, chest pains, and others. Again, there is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking CDP choline or Citicoline. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, stay on the safe side and avoid use.[20]

Recommendations

There is no standard dosage of CDP choline and it depends on your goals and desires. some studies recommended that a dosage level from 500 mg up to as much as 2 g per day has been used for memory formation and learning ability. Again, on the other hand, some researchers also recommended that as high as 2000 mg per day can be taken but in two split doses. Some experts also recommended taking between 250 and 500 mg of CDP choline twice a day. However, you are strongly recommended to consult your physician or healthcare provider to determine the best dosage for you.

Sources