Cognizin citicoline is a supplement useful for brain function. While it is a prescription medication in many parts of the world, within the United States, you can find citicoline as a dietary supplement. It may be useful in disease processes such as age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as in protecting against damage caused by cardiovascular incidents, such as stroke.
What is Citicoline?
Citicoline goes by numerous names, such as cytidine diphosphate-choline or CDP-choline. It is an intermediate chemical in the biochemical process that converts choline into phosphatidylcholine. This process occurs in cell membranes, and citicoline is found in animal cells, especially in the organs. The chemical phosphatidylcholine is essential for proper brain function, and the chemical citicoline has been linked to decreasing the damage to brain tissue, when the brain undergoes an injury, such as in the case of a stroke.
The main mechanism for many of citicoline’s actions, is that it increases dopamine receptor densities. It has also been linked to amplifying the release of hormones associated with the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, such as growth hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone. In addition to its protective effects on the brain, citicoline may help some people, although it has been linked to undesirable effects in people with excessive cortisol secretion, including major depressive disorder.
Citicoline appears to have benefits in people with brain issues, particularly with memory. As a building block of cell membranes, it is found in many places throughout the body, especially in the brain. Cells within the brain produce acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that has various functions, such as helping with memory. In disease processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, choline levels within the body decrease, so the brain cannot produce enough acetylcholine. The brain’s cells often break down cell membranes in order to produce acetylcholine. By taking supplements or medications with citicoline in them, this break down of cell membranes is believed to be avoided.
Cognizin citicoline is a branded version of citicoline. The medication comes in a variety of brands, such as Cidilin and Startonyl. Cognizin citicoline is considered to help combat the effects of various lifestyle factors, from a lack of proper nutrients to environmental pollution. In addition to helping people continue their cognition, the product is considered to improve both focus and attention. Many people refer to citicoline as Cognizin citicoline.
Uses of Citicoline
Citicoline or CDP-choline is considered to be a nootropic compound, which means that it confers some protective benefits for brain health. Citicoline is a pro-drug, or compound, that allows the body to produce two chemicals, choline and uridine. Both of these molecules can be created when you ingest CDP-choline, as the compound breaks down into choline and cytidine. Cytidine then breaks down further into uridine. There are three different choline-containing phospholipids that can be orally supplemented, and CDP-choline is one of them. The other two are Alpha-GPC and phosphatidylcholine.
The supplement and medication, in certain countries, is marketed to help prevent or treat memory issues commonly associated with aging. Both choline and uridine, are considered neuroprotective compounds, and they may even enhance learning.
In addition to producing neuroprotective compounds in choline and uridine, choline is classified as a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, and it increases the production of not just acetylcholine, but also adrenalin and noradrenalin. Citicoline also leads to an increase in the release of dopamine, because it acts on dopamine transporters, which can make it beneficial in certain health issues where dopamine is decreased.
By producing more phosphatidylcholine, citicoline also helps maintain the integrity of cell membranes. With neuronal membrane integrity preserved, citicoline has also been linked to a reduction in neuronal cell death, according to a study in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
CDP-choline has also been linked to other positive uses related to cognition and memory. Studies have been done on healthy older adults and shown positively that citicoline appears to promote cognition within adults. The supplement has been studied in rodents, but not in people, in relation to being a memory enhancer in youth. In rodent studies, it appears to also confer a benefit to young specimens, as well as older ones.
Low doses of CDP-choline have been linked to an increase in attention. A study of women showed that between 250 and 500mg of citicoline, had attention promoting effects. Interestingly, the improvement in attention was dose-dependent, with more improvement in the group taking 250 mg.
It is also believed that CDP-choline has an anti-addictive role, and may be a compound to use in getting people off of their addictions to food, and even cocaine. Multiple studies on subjects addicted to cocaine have been done that supported this, although each of the studies had relatively small test groups. In addition, supplementing with high doses of citicoline, in the neighborhood of 2,000 mg per day, seemed to suppress the appetite in participants in a study.
What Does Choline Do?
Choline is classified as an essential nutrient, which is required for normal bodily function and health. While the liver is able to make some choline for your body, the majority of the choline that your body uses has to be consumed in your diet or taken as a supplement. Choline is a water-soluble compound, and it is not a vitamin or a mineral, although it often gets clumped together with B vitamin complex, due to its similarities with vitamin B. In addition to promoting healthy brain development, choline aids in proper liver function and muscle movement.
Choline is used to make fats or phospholipids that help maintain the structural integrity of each of your body’s cell membranes. It is also useful for cell messaging, producing different compounds, such as acetylcholine, that are used as cell messengers. Choline is essential in proper fat transport and metabolism; without it, your body cannot make a substance that is used to remove cholesterol from your liver. If your diet is lacking choline, you may have fat and cholesterol buildup within your liver.
Choline and other vitamins are also useful in making DNA. These compounds, such as folate and B12, along with choline, help with the process that is required for DNA synthesis. As previously mentioned, choline also has neuroprotective benefits, and is used to make acetylcholine, which has important neurotransmitter functions. The compound is useful for everything from memory, to regulating your heart beat.
Cognizin Citicoline Dosage
Citicoline is dosed on a wide scale. The standard dosage is between 500 and 2,000 mg, generally taken in two divided doses separated by at least 8 hours. For some people, a single dose is sometimes used. After a certain point, it does not seem to matter how much of the supplement is taken, as there doesn’t appear to be any major changes in the blood. As such, taking 4,000 mg does not appear to be any different than taking 2,000 mg, so you don’t need to take such as large amount.
Some rough approximations, for taking citicoline, are to dose it between 1,000 and 2,000 mg per day for a decline in thinking skills, as a result of age. If it is being used to treat a stroke related to a blood clot, citicoline is dosed at an amount of 500 to 2,000 mg per day, and it should be started within 24 hours of the stroke. With diseases of the blood vessels that are around the brain, which is considered a chronic cerebrovascular disease, you should take 600 mg of citicoline each day.
For many people, studies have shown that taking lower dosages, such as in the 250 mg per dosage range, promotes attention and improves bioenergetics. If taking the supplement to help with addiction to foods, or appetite suppression, the supplement needs to be taken at the higher end of the dosage range. Your goal for taking citicoline will affect how high of a dosage you need to take.
Forms of Citicoline
Citicoline is generally taken as an oral compound, but it is also available as an injectable formulation that is sometimes used for its brain protecting benefits. Of the oral compounds on the market, there are two forms of citicoline. Citicoline sodium is a prescription formulation of citicoline that is used in numerous countries to treat neurologic disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as protecting against damages from cardiovascular issues such as strokes. Within the United States, the free-base formulation of citicoline is commonly taken as a dietary supplement, where it has been available for decades with use as a nootropic, or memory protecting medication.
The injectable form of citicoline is used intravenously as a way to combat age-related decline, or a chronic cerebrovascular disorder. It can also be given as an injection to help fight chronic cerebrovascular problems.
Citicoline vs. Alpha GPC
Citicoline and alpha-GPC are two different choline-containing phospholipids. The third type that can be supplemented for people orally is phosphatidylcholine. Citicoline appears to be more effective than phosphatidylcholine at preventing or treating memory issues, likely because in addition to producing choline and uridine, it increases the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in the brain.
Citicoline and alpha-GPC are considered relatively similar in their potency and effects. Both are also more effective than supplementing with choline or phosphatidylcholine. These supplements are nootropic on their own, and they tend to have fewer side effects than supplementing with just choline, which can cause issues, such as headaches and depression.
Citicoline and alpha-GPC have different mechanisms of action. Alpha-GPC is almost opposite of the mechanism for citicoline in that it is broken down itself into acetylcholine. Citicoline is broken down in the digestive tract into choline, which is then converted back into citicoline when it passes through the blood brain barrier in the brain. Its action is to increase the rate that choline gets synthesized, and also replenishes low levels of phospholipids which affects cell membranes. The phospholipids also have positive effects on acetylcholine synthesis and release.
You might be wondering if citicoline or alpha-GPC is better. For many people, the best thing to do is to try both, but citicoline is often the more affordable option, especially in the long term. It also has a variety of health benefits separate from producing acetylcholine, making it an ideal supplement for those wanting all of the benefits of choline.
Cognizin Citicoline Side Effects
Citicoline appears to be safe when taken by mouth, although the longest it has been studied is up to 90 days. The safety in using it long-term has not been studied, so you should consult your doctor before taking it.
While most people that take citicoline don’t have any noticeable side effects, some people can have issues, such as trouble sleeping or insomnia. The supplement may also cause headaches and high or low blood pressure, which can also affect the headaches. Gastrointestinal signs may also be experienced, such as diarrhea and nausea. Finally, some people experience more serious issues, such as chest pains and blurred vision.
Things to Keep in Mind When Using Cognizin Citicoline
There is little in the way of reliable information about taking citicoline if you are pregnant. As such, you should avoid taking the supplement if you are pregnant, or could become pregnant. You should also avoid taking citicoline if you are breastfeeding, as there is no research about it being passed through breast milk.
There are no known drug interactions with citicoline. It appears to be pretty safe, and well tolerated, when taken with other medications. It is commonly taken with other supplements such as racetams.
Citicoline appears to be a very beneficial nootropic supplement that can help with improving memory and attention, particularly in older adults. It may be useful with stroke victims, and should be started immediately after a stroke for the most benefit in that regard. The supplement may also be helpful in other aspects related to the brain, such as an addiction to things ranging from food to cocaine.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.