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Citroline cd - a dietary choline sticker.

Citicoline: Better Than Dietary Choline?

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Citicoline: Better Than Dietary Choline?

Citicoline, also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline (or CDP-Choline, to its friends, or cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine if it wants to get fancy) is a dietary supplement that the stomach can metabolize easily for all the brain’s choline needs. What are those needs?

Choline is an essential nutrient. We technically can synthesize it, but only in minute amounts, far less than we need. Choline is a key part of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, as well as having other functions in other parts of the body.

As for citicoline specifically… it appears to do the job better than dietary sources of choline:

❝Intriguing data, showing that on a molar mass basis citicoline is significantly less toxic than choline, are also analyzed.

It is hypothesized that, compared to choline moiety in other dietary sources such as phosphatidylcholine, choline in citicoline is less prone to conversion to trimethylamine (TMA) and its putative atherogenic N-oxide (TMAO).

Epidemiological studies have suggested that choline supplementation may improve cognitive performance, and for this application citicoline may be safer and more efficacious.❞

~ Synoradzki & Grieb

Source: Citicoline: A Superior Form of Choline?

Great! What does it do?

What doesn’t it do? When it comes to cognitive function, anyway, citicoline covers a lot of bases.

Short version: it improves just about every way a brain’s healthy functions can be clinically measured. From cognitive improvements in all manner of tests (far beyond just “improves memory” etc; also focus, alertness, verbal fluency, logic, computation, and more), to purely neurological things like curing tinnitus (!), alleviating mobility disorders, and undoing alcohol-related damage.

One of the reasons it’s so wide in its applications, is that it has a knock-on effect to other systems in the brain, including the dopaminergic system.

Long version: Citicoline: pharmacological and clinical review, 2022 update

(if you don’t want to sit down for a long read, we recommend skimming to the charts and figures, which are very elucidating even alone)

Spotlight study in memory

For a quick-reading example of how it helps memory specifically:

Citicoline and Memory Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Keeping dementia at bay

For many older people looking to improve memory, it’s less a matter of wanting to perform impressive feats of memory, and more a matter of wanting to keep a sharp memory throughout our later years.

Dr. Maria Bonvicini et al. looked into this:

❝We selected seven studies including patients with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease or post-stroke dementia

All the studies showed a positive effect of citicoline on cognitive functions. Six studies could be included in the meta-analysis.

Overall, citicoline improved cognitive status, with pooled standardized mean differences ranging from 0.56 (95% CI: 0.37-0.75) to 1.57 (95% CI: 0.77-2.37) in different sensitivity analyses❞

Source: Is Citicoline Effective in Preventing and Slowing Down Dementia?-A Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis

The researchers concluded “yes”, and yet, called for more studies, and of higher quality. In many such studies, the heterogeneity of the subjects (often, residents of nursing homes) can be as much a problem (unclear whether the results will be applicable to other people in different situations) as it is a strength (fewer confounding variables).

Another team looked at 47 pre-existing reviews, and concluded:

❝The review found that citicoline has been proven to be a useful compound in preventing dementia progression.

Citicoline has a wide range of effects and could be an essential substance in the treatment of many neurological diseases.

Its positive impact on learning and cognitive functions among the healthy population is also worth noting.❞

Source: Application of Citicoline in Neurological Disorders: A Systematic Review

The dopamine bonus

Remember how we said that citicoline has a knock-on effect on other systems, including the dopaminergic system? This means that it’s been studied (and found meritorious) for alleviating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

❝Patients with Parkinson’s disease who were taking citicoline had significant improvement in rigidity, akinesia, tremor, handwriting, and speech.

Citicoline allowed effective reduction of levodopa by up to 50%.

Significant improvement in cognitive status evaluation was also noted with citicoline adjunctive therapy.❞

Source: Citicoline as Adjuvant Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review

Where to get it?

We don’t sell it, but here’s an example product on Amazon, for your convenience 😎


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