Citicoline is cytidine 5'-diphosphate choline. Citicoline plays a crucial
role in the Kennedy pathway, by which the body synthesizes
phosphatidylcholine (PC) and, ultimately, other phospholipids, such as
phosphatidylserine (PS). By supporting the body's synthesis of new
phospholipids in youthful, physiological balance, Citicoline supports brain
structure. Extensive research supports the role of Citicoline in supporting
optimal cognitive function. [VCAPS]
New Video! Watch Naturopathic Doctor Paul Hrkal talk about AOR's Citicoline
sorbitol, silicon dioxide, water.
Free of all common allergens, including: no wheat, gluten, corn,
nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, fish or shellfish. Best to avoid if
pregnant or nursing.
Support for nerves of the eye.
Age-associated memory impairment.
Take two to four capsules daily, or as directed by a
qualified health consultant.
Clinical dosage and therapeutic
specialty supplements recommended by practitioners for their purity,
potency, and effectiveness.
What is Citicoline?
Citicoline (cytidine diphosphate choline, or CDP-choline) is not just a source
of choline, the main building block of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Instead, Citicoline is a brain phospholipid booster. The most popular and
well-known brain phospholipid supplement is phosphatidylserine (PS). But brain
function relies on a wide spectrum of phospholipids, and not just PS. Of course,
PS supplements contain small amounts of some of the other key brain
phospholipids, such as (phosphatidylcholine [PC] and phosphatidylinositol [PI]).
But they don't contain these nutrients, in the same proportions as are found in
a healthy, functioning brain. Taking individual phospholipids, such as PS,
forces more of the specific phospholipid that you're taking into the membranes
of nerve and other cells. But it cannot restore the youthful balance of all
By contrast, Citicoline works by enhancing the brain's ability to synthesize its
own phospholipids. Citicoline's real "business end" is its cytidine group.
Taking Citicoline delivers cytidine to the brain, where it is transformed into
cytidine diphosphate (CDP). CDP plays a key role in the body's production of the
brain's phospholipids. Studies show that cytidine itself, or cytidine delivered
as Citicoline, boosts brain and neural PS by 37.2%, PC by 22-30%, PI by 16%, and
PE by 11-13%. By supporting the brain's ability to make its own phospholipids,
Citicoline increases levels of all phospholipids in neural membranes - yet the
healthy, youthful proportions of the various phospholipids are not altered.
At the same time, new research suggests that Citicoline allows the body to make
better use of phospholipids derived directly from the diet or supplements. When
you take phospholipid supplements, the fatty acid "tails" have to be modified as
they are taken from the blood, then brought into the cell's outer membrane, so
that they meet the specific needs of the local tissue. Studies in isolated
neuron precursor cells show that Citicoline selectively enhances the ability of
phospholipids to incorporate a variety of fatty acids into their "tails,"
facilitating this "customization" process. As well, Citicoline increases the
manufacture or release of key neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine,
norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
Studies Show ...
Controlled human studies prove that Citicoline provides effective nutritional
support in a wide range of cognitive disorders - a broader range than other
phospholipids-based nutritional supplements such as PS. Trials have documented
the powerful support provided by Citicoline supplementation in Alzheimer's
disease, stroke, dementia associated with Parkinson's disease, and head trauma,
and that it improves the odds of a good outcome after high-risk brain surgery.
Most importantly for most healthy people looking to maintain, protect, boost, or
restore healthy brain function, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have
also shown that Citicoline significantly improves memory function in persons
with "normal" age-associated memory impairment (AAMI).
In one such trial, older subjects who were experiencing problems with their
memory, but who were not suffering dementia, were tested on a battery of memory
tests, and found to perform more poorly than young controls. Then the subjects
were given each of four treatments, for four weeks each, at different times. All
volunteers underwent three periods with different Citicoline regimens (a high
(1000 mg) or moderate (500 mg) dose of Citicoline, or a lower (300 mg) dose
combined with nimodipine (a blood pressure drug also used to treat some
neurological deficits)). Subjects also underwent a dummy-pill phase. The results
showed that Citicoline significantly improves performance on several memory
tasks, including the free recall of word lists and the ability to remember a set
of objects (either immediately after seeing them or later on). All Citicoline
groups showed some improvement over the course of the trial. The only side
effects were a decrease in blood pressure, and immunomodulatory effects shown as
minor changes in the populations of white blood cells.
Citicoline was also tested in AAMI in a randomized, double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial run by MIT in conjunction with US Army Research
Institute of Environmental Medicine. In the first phase, ninety-five older
volunteers with no active psychiatric or neurological disorders, and who were
within the normal range on tests of mental status, were randomly assigned to
take either a dummy pill or Citicoline for three months. The subjects with
poorer memory at baseline showed improvements in recall (remembering details of
a story heard one half hour previously). Subjects who began the study with
poorer memories were then used in an additional study, in which they received
one of two high doses of Citicoline for two months each. The higher dosage of
Citicoline was "clearly associated with improved immediate and delayed logical
memory." And while some side effects were reported, the incidence of side
effects was actually higher in the placebo group than in people taking
A team of researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont recently tested the effects
of a six week supplementation of Citicoline. Volunteers were given an MRI at the
beginning and end of the six week period to observe any changes. They found that
supplies of brain energy were increased in critical regions of the brain.
Does "PS" Even Work?
All of the original trials documenting the benefits of "PS" supplements
used a phosphatidylserine concentrate derived from cow brains. This product
nearly vanished from the marketplace a decade ago when BSE ("mad cow disease"
swept through Britain and threatened to create an epidemic across Europe. It was
replaced by a form of "PS" derived from soy - a supplement fundamentally
different in its biochemical structure from the original, mammalian
brain-derived material. Until recently, there were only two small,
nonrandomized, low-power, uncontrolled studies available to tell us about what
this vegetal PS might do for a person.
Now, the first proper, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using soy-derived
PS has been performed. The results clearly show that unlike the original
brain-derived PS supplements, the soy-based "PS" you can buy in capsules or
softgels at health food stores today actually doesn't work any better than dummy
pills at supporting memory or other aspects of brain function.
Neurons Beyond the Brain
Of course, the proper functioning of neurons is required for a lot more
than just the workings of the brain. The final word isn't in, but preliminary
evidence suggests that Citicoline is helpful with many non-brain conditions
grounded in neurological dysfunction. Glaucoma, for instance, is most commonly
the result of a buildup of pressure from the fluid in the eye (intraocular
pressure), which literally squeezes the nerves that leave the eyeball, causing
them to lose their supply of nutrients and slowly starve. In an open trial, 36
patients with glaucoma were given one gram of Citicoline daily for ten days.
While the study was too short to assess any improvement in symptoms, the
researchers did find that Citicoline "acts positively on the glaucomatous optic
nerve damage" and led to "favorable neurotrophic [nerve-nourishing] effects."
Likewise, amblyopia, or "lazy eye," is ultimately a neurological disorder,
although always associated with some other problem with visual function (such as
a misalignment of the focus of the two eyes). Amblyopia develops when the nerve
cells, which connect one eye to the brain are literally turned off, because the
sensory messages the poorer eye is sending don't match up with those being sent
by the dominant eye. After years of being deactivated, the nerves leading to the
amblyopic eye can ultimately cause that eye to go fully blind.
Again, Citicoline may offer hope. Italian researchers have performed several
trials in patients with amblyopia, which have confirmed that Citicoline
significantly improves both symptoms and neurological function, and can be used
to increase the effectiveness of occlusion (the standard therapy for "lazy
With ongoing research, we may expect the fulfillment of some present promises,
and the discovery of new applications for this remarkable nutrient.
Bring the Balance Back
Our minds are what make us who we are. Memories are our connection to
our history, and the foundation of who we are today. The workings of the mind
reflect the structure of the brain, and phospholipids play a vital part in that
structure. Citicoline restores more youthful levels and balance of brain
phospholipids, carrying us from our past into a clear future.