What is Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline)?
Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline), also known as citicoline, is a nootropic compound that enhances
cognitive function, focus, and motivation. It also reduces mental fatigue. As the scientific name implies,
it converts into choline and cytidine once ingested. These components cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)
and reform into citicoline. CDP choline is one of the most effective forms of choline supplements.
What is Choline?
Choline is an essential nutrient for preserving the structural integrity of cells, producing acetylcholine
neurotransmitters, modulating gene expression, metabolizing lipids, and more. Humans can synthesize small
amounts of choline in the liver, but they must obtain the bulk of their dietary choline needs from foods and
supplements. Choline shares many properties with several B vitamins. Choline and Folate (vitamin B9) interact with vitamin B12
(cyanocobalamin) to act as methyl donors. They donate methyl groups to homocysteine and methionine, which are necessary to form s-adenosyl methionine (SAMe).
What is Cytidine?
Cytidine is a nucleoside and component of RNA. It becomes uridine once ingested, which is necessary for
converting galactose sugars into energy via glycolysis. Uridine also enhances cognition by supporting the
proliferation of synapses and synaptic connections, which are essential for learning and memory. Uridine
synergizes with choline and fish oil for
better synaptic function and formation.
Potential CDP Choline Benefits
CDP Choline and Cognition
CDP choline is an intermediate involved in the biosynthesis of phospholipids called phosphatidylcholine (PC).
PC is also a member of the lecithin group of fatty
substances that are rich in choline. PC is a significant structural element of cell membranes and a
precursor to acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator that interacts with both
the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). It supports cognitive function in
several areas of the CNS, including the basal forebrain, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus.
Within the PNS, acetylcholine neurotransmitters activate and control muscle contractions. They also play an
essential role in the autonomic nervous system as the primary neurotransmitter in the parasympathetic
nervous system. In addition to memory formation, acetylcholine is also critical for attention, motivation,
mood, and arousal.
CDP Choline and Resveratrol
Research shows that taking CDP choline and resveratrol
together provides even better
neuroprotective effects. Resveratrol is an antioxidant that enhances longevity.
CDP Choline and Inositol
Like CDP choline, inositol
is a B
vitamin-like supplement. It also supports cell membranes structures and cognition. Taking CDP choline with
inositol enhances these effects.
CDP Choline for Neuroprotection
CDP choline exerts neuroprotective effects as well. It has shown significant promise in improving learning
capabilities and memory formation in the aging brain. It restores ATPase activity in the mitochondria, which
is essential for normal mitochondrial function. Sustaining this functionality also supports cognitive
function with age. It also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels in the brain. ATP is the body’s
primary source of energy necessary for optimal cognitive function.
Potential CDP Choline Side Effects
Studies show that citicoline has exceptionally low toxicity. Side effects are rare and mild, such as a
stomachache or diarrhea. However, excessive choline intake can lead to the formation of trimethylamine
(TMA). TMA oxidizes to TMAO and can cause serious health risks. However, the choline in CDP choline is not
prone to converting into TMA like some other choline supplements. Even so, individuals should not exceed the
recommended dosage, as it does not convey additional benefits and can cause unwanted side effects. Signs of
overconsumption include sweating, nausea, vomiting, a fishy body odor, and a decrease in blood pressure.
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