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  • Enhanced cognitive function
  • Supports a healthy brain
  • Promotes longevity and well-being




Citicoline, (cytidine diphosphate-choline (CDP-Choline) or cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine) is a compound that is found in several biochemical pathways in the human body. It is especially important for phospholipid synthesis and membrane repair. When taken as a dietary supplement, CDP-Choline helps to support cognitive function (including memory, learning, and attention). It can also be taken to support a good mood and a healthy brain.

The recommended serving size for this supplement is 250 – 500 mg, taken once to twice daily. Side effects are limited and are generally not considered to be noticeable when used at the recommended serving size. Do not exceed the recommended serving suggestion for this supplement.

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Citicoline Reviews

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  • A powerful natural compound found in the human brain, Citicoline is best known for its effective benefits as a brain-booster 

  • Effects of this supplement may include improved cognitive performance, support for healthy memory and learning capacity, promoting a good mood, and support for a healthy brain.

  • Standard serving size 1 -2 servings of 250 mg, taken once to twice daily. It is not recommended to exceed the suggested serving recommendation.

  • Side effects may include insomnia, headaches, nausea, and diarrhoea at larger servings. 




Citicoline (also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline (CDP-Choline) or cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine) is a naturally occurring compound that is metabolized into both Choline and Cytidine after oral supplementation. It is identical to the natural intracellular precursor of the phosphatidylcholine phospholipid. Choline and Cytidine eventually then enter the brain separately and can be used to resynthesize CDP-choline inside brain cells. [1]

This supplement is especially well-known for its ability to help improve cognition and memory and has been labelled a ‘Nootropic’ supplement by many researchers and vendors. It is useful in improving memory, focus, and attention in both healthy people and people who suffer from attention difficulties. Furthermore, this supplement help to convey highly effective neuroprotective benefits, meaning that it helps to protect the brain from stress. [2]

Although this naturally-occurring compound has been used in several clinical trials for improvements of memory and cognitive performance, it has been labelled as a dietary supplement in the US and EU as a result of its lack of noticeable side effects when taken correctly. Further research has since been conducted on this supplements effects on memory and attention, as well as other other potential benefits. [3]



Citicoline (CDP-Choline) Effects / Benefits


1.     CDP-Choline for Enhanced Cognitive Performance 


Citicoline is a well-known Nootropic supplement (a supplement that has the ability to help support healthy cognitive function). The most common reason why people use this supplement is for its ability to help support and enhance cognition, attention, and focus. CDP-Choline is used by the body to form acetylcholine, which is often referred to as the ‘learning transmitter’ for its importance in supporting healthy learning and attention capacities.

When taken as a dietary supplement, this semi-synthetic compound is metabolized into cytidine and choline, two essential compounds for cognitive health. Choline is the chemical precursor to acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter that is used to transmit signals between neurons in the Central Nervous System (CNS). The role of acetylcholine in learning and cognition cannot be overstated. It is a vital component for the transmission of biochemical signals between neurons, and between the CNS and muscle cells.

By increasing serum levels of choline, this supplement allows for the improved synthesis of acetylcholine by the brain, thereby improving signal transduction and allowing for improvements in attention and focus. Furthermore, CDP-Choline also helps to enhance cellular communication by improving norepinephrine levels and by acting on dopamine receptors.[4] All-in-all, this supplement works to support healthy and improved cognitive performance through three main mechanisms:

-        Enhanced acetylcholine production through greater choline availability

-        Improved cellular communication through enhanced levels of norepinephrine

-        Intensified dopamine receptor communication

In one study, published in 2012, sixty healthy adult women were given Citicoline supplements at a standard serving size of 250 – 500 mg, daily, for 28 days. A proportion of the participants received placebo. At the end of the 28 day period, those who had received active servings of this supplement had a significant improvement in cognitive scores and attention in a number of tests. [5]


2.     Citicoline for a Healthy Brain  


This supplement is a highly effective neuroprotector, meaning that it helps to protect the brain against stress and toxins. Several studies have indicated the ability of Citicoline to act as a potent neuroprotector and to help promote and support a healthy brain.

For example, a study published in 2002 found several mechanisms by which this supplement helps to support a healthy brain. Neuroprotective mechanisms may include:

“(i) preserving cardiolipin (an exclusive inner mitochondrial membrane component) and sphingomyelin; (ii) preserving the arachidonic acid content of PtdCho and phosphatidylethanolamine; (iii) partially restoring PtdCho levels; (iv) stimulating glutathione synthesis and glutathione reductase activity; (v) attenuating lipid peroxidation; and (vi) restoring Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity.”[6]

Studies have indicated that CDP-Choline supplements can help to improve circulating levels of brain phosphatidylcholine concentrations.[7] Phosphatidylcholine is used to build and repair cellular membranes in neurons and other cells in the body. When Choline levels are low, this function runs at below optimal levels. Increasing serum choline through taking choline supplements can help improve cell membrane repair. [8]

Another way in which this supplement helps to support a healthy brain is through its ability to destroy hydroxyl radicals (free-radicals) in the brain – that is, as a potent antioxidant. This helps to protect the brain against toxic reactive chemical species. [9]

Finally, evidence shows that Citicoline supplements may help to reduce glutamate levels in the brain, especially after injury.[10] Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that can be toxic at high levels. Glutamate concentrations usually increase in the brain after injury or in response to various forms of stress.


3.     Citicoline for Improved Memory


In 1997, a promising study came out looking into the effects of this supplement on memory enhancement in elderly people. After 4 weeks of supplementation at a standard serving size, results indicated an overall improvement in memory (by acting on mechanisms of brain neurotropism and cerebrovascular regulation). [11]

In a 2005 meta-analysis, fourteen clinical trials that used CDP-Choline (cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine) as a memory-boosting supplement were examined. All these studies had looked into the effects of this supplement on memory in elderly people. The results showed significant evidence that this supplement can help to support healthy memory and as positive effects on behaviour, in the short to medium term. [12]

In a more recent study, published in 2015, researchers again examined previous clinical trials conducted using this supplement. Their results showed that CDP-Choline helps to potentiate neuroplasticity and is a natural precursor of phospholipid synthesis, making it a powerful supplement to help support memory and a healthy brain.[13]

Overall, studies have pointed to positive effects on memory from using Citicoline supplements, especially when used for up to 4 weeks at a time. The mechanisms behind this may be due to its ability to help promote neuroplasticity and to support healthy phospholipid membrane structures, among others. There is room for more research into this supplement’s effects on memory in younger people.


4.     Citicoline for Mood  


One of the lesser-known benefits of this great supplement is its ability to help support a healthy mood. This may be linked to its actions on dopamine receptor transmission, or due to a different underlying mechanism. Several studies have indicated that CDP-Choline supplements can be taken to help support a healthy mood.  

For example, in a 2014 study, researchers looked into the facts and doubts about the use of this supplement as a neuroprotector. They found that there is currently not yet a sufficient biochemical explanation/understanding of exactly how this supplement produces its effects. However, its use as a neuroprotective supplement is not challenged. The authors suggest that this supplement is unique in that it not only conveys neuroprotective effects but also helps to support a healthy mood. [14]


5.     Citicoline for Longevity  


Citicoline, when used correctly, is metabolised into Cytidine and Choline, two natural compounds of essential importance for the proper functioning of many physiological processes in the body. If we look into the body’s use of Choline, we can see that this supplement helps to provide an essential nutrient that can help promote longevity and well-being.

In a recent article, researchers examined the important functions of Choline as an essential nutrient for supporting health and well-being. It is needed for neurotransmitter synthesis (acetylcholine), cell-membrane signalling (phospholipids), lipid transport (lipoproteins), and methyl-group metabolism (homocysteine reduction). Furthermore, at least 50 biochemical reactions in the human body are dependant on the presence of Choline-sponsored methyl-groups. Choline also plays a vital role in support of memory and cognition. [15]

Choline deficiency has several unwanted effects and can be a major risk to your health. There are a number of factors influencing Choline requirements for different people, in different stages of life. For example, men seem to require more Choline than women and tend to be more negatively affected by diets with low Choline. Choline requirements are also higher in pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as for elderly people. [16]


6.     CDP-Choline as a Precursor to Cytidine


When taken as a supplement, Citicoline is also converted to Cytidine, which is then metabolised further into Uridine (also known as UDP or UMP). This naturally-occurring compound has a number of benefits in the body, especially for supporting a healthy mood.[17] Furthermore, Uridine is also an important part of the process of synthesizing phospholipids, which are used to build and repair cellular membranes (in a process called the Kennedy cycle). This helps to convey further neuroprotective effects and to support a healthy brain. [18]



Citicoline (CDP-Choline) Recommended Usage


The recommended serving size for Citicoline is 1 -2 servings of 250 mg Citicoline, taken once to twice daily. For optimum efficacy, these servings should be separated by around 8-12 hours. Taking larger serving sizes may not improve the effects of this supplement.

In fact, some properties of this supplement like supporting healthy memory and attention as well as improving bioenergetics may respond better to smaller serving sizes. Always start by using the smallest serving size with noticeable effects.


Citicoline (CDP-Choline) Side Effects and Warnings


Most people who use Citicoline do not experience any negative side effects. WebMD lists this supplement as being POSSIBLY SAFE for up to 90 days of consecutive use. Some possible side effects from larger serving sizes may include trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, diarrhoea, low or high blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision, chest pains, and others. [19]

To avoid a chance of experiencing negative side effects, do not exceed the recommended serving size for this supplement. Furthermore, make sure to consult with your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking any medication, BEFORE using this supplement. It may interact with medicines. There is not enough information about safety for pregnancy and breastfeeding women, speak to your doctor before using this supplement.




In summary, Citicoline supplements are a fascinating and exciting new dietary supplement product. CDP-Choline is a naturally-occurring compound that plays an important role in numerous biochemical pathways in the body. It is especially important as a methyl-group donator, a cofactor for a variety of enzyme systems, and for phospholipid synthesis.

When taken as a dietary supplement, the major benefits include noticeable improvements in attention, focus, and memory. These effects have been researched in several clinical trials and systematic reviews. People also use this supplement to help promote a good mood, to support a healthy brain, and to promote longevity and well-being.

One of the most important benefits of this supplement is the noticeable lack of side effects when used at the recommended serving size. This makes it a brilliant brain-booster for anyone looking to use natural cognitive enhancement supplements.





[1] Weiss, GB. “Metabolism and actions of CDP-choline as an endogenous compound and administered exogenously as citicoline.” Life Sci. 1995;56(9):637-60.

[2]CDP-Choline”, Examine.com, available online from https://examine.com/supplements/cdp-choline/

[3] Grieb P, Jünemann A, Rekas M, Rejdak R. “Citicoline: A Food Beneficial for Patients Suffering from or Threated with Glaucoma.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2016;8:73.

[4] Secades JJ. “Citicoline: pharmacological and clinical review, 2010 update.” (Article in English, Spanish). Rev Neurol. 2011 Mar 14;52 Suppl 2:S1-S62.

[5] McGlade E, et al. “Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult WomenFNS. Vol.3 No.6, June 2012 PP. 769-773

[6] Adibhatla RM, Hatcher JF, Dempsey RJ. “Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia.” J Neurochem. 2002 Jan;80(1):12-23.

[7] López-Coviella I, Agut J, Savci V, Ortiz JA, Wurtman RJ. “Evidence that 5'-cytidinediphosphocholine can affect brain phospholipid composition by increasing choline and cytidine plasma levels.” J Neurochem. 1995 Aug;65(2):889-94.

[8] D'Orlando KJ, Sandage BW Jr. “Citicoline (CDP-choline): mechanisms of action and effects in ischemic brain injury.” Neurol Res. 1995 Aug;17(4):281-4.

[9] Rao AM, Hatcher JF, Dempsey RJ. “Does CDP-choline modulate phospholipase activities after transient forebrain ischemia?Brain Res. 2001 Mar 2;893(1-2):268-72.

[10] Hurtado O, et al. “Neuroprotection afforded by prior citicoline administration in experimental brain ischemia: effects on glutamate transport.” Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Mar;18(2):336-45.

[11] Alvarez XA, et al. “Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects.” Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;19(3):201-10.

[12] Fioravanti M, Yanagi M. “Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD000269.

[13] Gareri P, Castagna A, Cotroneo AM, Putignano S, De Sarro G, Bruni AC. “The role of citicoline in cognitive impairment: pharmacological characteristics, possible advantages, and doubts for an old drug with new perspectives.” Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2015;10:1421-1429.

[14] Grieb P. “Neuroprotective Properties of Citicoline: Facts, Doubts and Unresolved Issues.CNS Drugs. 2014;28(3):185-193

[15] Zeisel SH, da Costa K-A. “Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health.” Nutrition reviews. 2009;67(11):615-623. e lack of side effects, (also knom m good mood, support for a healthy brainort for healthy memory and learning capacity, support

[16] Sanders LM, Zeisel SH. “Choline: Dietary Requirements and Role in Brain Development.” Nutrition today. 2007;42(4):181-186.

[17] Kondo DG, Sung Y-H, Hellem TL, et al. “Open-Label Uridine for Treatment of Depressed Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder.” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2011;21(2):171-175.

[18]Uridine”, Examine.com, available online from https://examine.com/supplements/uridine/