Citicoline and choline are two compounds known primarily for their effects on the brain. But which one is better for cognitive function?
The answer appears to be citicoline. (1)
What is Citicoline?
Citicoline is a brain chemical occurring naturally in the body. It is also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline (CDP-Choline) or cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine.
What is the Difference Between Citicoline and Choline?
Citicoline and choline are similar compounds. However, choline is not as effective at raising brain levels as citicoline.
That's because choline cannot readily cross the blood-brain barrier, something that is incredibly easy for citicoline to do.
How Does Citicoline Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier?
When you ingest citicoline, it is broken down (hydrolyzed) into cytidine and choline.
Cytidine is then converted into uridine, a compound crucial for brain health.
Then they enter the brain as two separate compounds.
Once inside your brain cells, they merge to re-form citicoline, thus increasing choline levels within the brain. (2, 3)
What Is Citicoline Used For?
Citicoline uses vary, but most people take citicoline to improve brain health. (It's no accident that citicoline is the main ingredient in many brain-boosting supplements.)
Indeed, citicoline is a brain health compound and supplement that has been medically used to treat cognitive impairment, dementia, traumatic brain injuries, age-related memory loss, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and ADHD. It is also used to improve visual function in those with glaucoma.
Indeed, according to one study on stroke patients, researchers concluded:
"Citicoline is the only drug that in a number of different clinical stroke trials continuously had some neuroprotective benefit." (4)
Does Citicoline Actually Work?
Yes, it does work.
Numerous clinical trials and research studies attest to citicoline's effectiveness. Studies suggest it works by increasing phosphatidylcholine, a choline phosphate, in the brain.
Citicoline also helps create acetylcholine, a MAJOR neurotransmitter essential for speech, memory, information processing, focus, and emotion regulation.
It also supports cell-membrane signaling, which is crucial for brain cell communication.
Is Citicoline Safe to Use?
YES! Citicoline is not only safe to use but has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on numerous health conditions, especially those affecting the brain.
What Are the Health Benefits of Citicoline?
Many clinical research studies show a variety of positive health benefits from taking citicoline. Let's start with the most common health effects -- the brain.
Stroke: Doctors in Japan were the first to investigate the medical usage of citicoline.
When they used it on ACUTE stroke patients, they were stunned at the positive cognitive results they witnessed.
For example, they discovered that administering citicoline to patients within 24 hours of a stroke significantly increased the likelihood of full recovery within three months. (5)
Subsequent studies have supported this benefit of citicoline.
Vascular dementia. Impaired blood flow to the brain, as occurs in stroke, is a common cause of dementia.
Numerous studies show that citicoline treatment "enhances neurological and functional recovery," including vascular dementia. (6, 7)
Memory disorders. A body of research shows that citicoline may also effectively treat memory disorders. (8)
And then there are the vision benefits…
Glaucoma: In glaucoma, increased eye pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness if left untreated. Incredibly, research suggests that citicoline may help.
For example, two clinical trials suggest that oral citicoline can repair nerve damage in the eyes, slowing glaucoma progression. (9, 10)
Optic neuropathy: Caused by damage to the optic nerve, optic neuropathy can be disabling. Citicoline to the rescue! Researchers found that citicoline repaired optic nerve damage and improved vision in one clinical trial. (11)
Amblyopia (lazy eye): Those with amblyopia are plagued by a blurry vision in one eye caused by a lack of communication between the brain and the eye. It is typically treated by wearing a patch over the good eye, strengthening the "lazy" one.
Studies have shown that oral citicoline supplementation with citicoline can boost the effects of this treatment in children. (12, 13)
There are numerous other health benefits of citicoline covered in separate sections below.
Does Citicoline Increase Dopamine?
Yes, it does.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals between brain cells.
It is a "feel-good" chemical and is crucial in mood regulation. Research shows that citicoline can boost dopamine levels and other neurotransmitters, which in turn can brighten your mood. (14)
Does Citicoline Improve Mood?
Yes! Due to its ability to increase dopamine and acetylcholine levels, citicoline can improve mood.
Does Citicoline Help with ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition marked by inattention, poor memory, brain fog, and impulsivity. And yes, studies suggest that oral citicoline treatment may help reduce symptoms of ADHD.
In a 2019 study published in theJournal of Attention Disorders, researchers found that adolescent males with ADHD showed improved attention and reduced impulsivity when given 250 to 500 mg of Cognizin citicoline for 28 days. (15)
Does Citicoline Help With Depression?
There is little research on the possible effects of citicoline on depression. However, there is some scientific evidence that citicoline in combination with the antidepressant drug citalopram enhances the effectiveness of this drug. (16)
Are There Any Citicoline Side Effects?
Though most people taking citicoline supplements experience no side effects, a few have been reported. Side effects of oral citicoline supplementation may include headache, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, blurred vision, chest pain, blood pressure issues, and more. (17)
Consult your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms while taking citicoline.
Is Cognizin® the Same as Citicoline?
Cognizin® is a patented form of citicoline that scientific research suggests boosts brainpower. In a study at Harvard, Cognizin® increased brain activity in just six weeks! It also led to a 50% increase in attention and motor speed. (18, 19)
How Much Citicoline Should I Take
The therapeutic dosage is 500 to 2000 milligrams of citicoline daily for most people. (20)
If you want to use it to treat ischemic stroke, Alzheimer's disease, ischemic brain injury, cerebral ischemia, traumatic brain injury, acute ischemic stroke, mild vascular cognitive impairment, glaucoma, or other severe cognitive or visual condition, please consult your healthcare provider.
What Foods Contain Citicoline?
There are no foods that contain citicoline. Instead, if you want to boost your citicoline levels -- and your brainpower -- you'll want to consume foods that contain choline
Rich food sources of choline include:
But the best way to get enough citicoline is to take it in supplement form.
How Do I Take Citicoline?
You can take citicoline orally, intravenously, or via injection. (The latter two are usually administered by a healthcare professional.)
There is a wide variety of citicoline oral supplements available over the counter.
They come in the form of capsules, powder, gummies capsule, powder, including:
The label may say citicoline or CDP choline, but if it doesn't, look at the ingredient list of any brain health supplement, and you'll likely find it there.
What is the Best Form of Citicoline To Take?
The best form of citicoline to take is patented Cognizin®.
Clinical trials show that Cognizin® may:
Improve overall memory when taken for 12 weeks in those with age-related memory impairment (21)
Increase motor speed in adolescent males (22)
Improve attention in adult females (23)
Significantly increase brain energy in healthy adults (24)
What is the Best Brand of Citicoline to Take?
The best brand of citicoline to take is SANE Vitaae™!
Vitaae™ contains Cognizin®, the superior patented form of citicoline. We covered some of this information earlier, but to review...
In double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials (aka the most potent form of clinical trials available and the exact kind used to prove the effects of prescription medications), Cognizin® showed a 3.6% increase in brain energy utilization and an almost 70% decrease in errors of omission, also known as “memory errors.” (25)
And though incredible, Cognizin® isn't the only effective natural ingredient in this brain-boosting clinical research formulation.
Vitaae™ also contains optimal levels of:
Bioavailable folate: Folic acid is essential for brain development and function, yet most lack the enzyme needed to absorb it.
Numerous research studies show that folate affects mood and cognitive performance, especially in older people, and that folate deficiency may contribute to cognitive dysfunction! (26, 27)
Vitaae™ contains the specific patented form of folate clinically proven to be up to 7 times more bioavailable than the folate supplements found on store shelves. (28)
L-Carnitine and Acetyl- L-Carnitine: Both of these natural chemicals can improve mood, cognition, and learning -- and promotes fat burning and weight loss!
CoQ10: Often called the “universal antioxidant,” CoQ10 exists in your mitochondria… the tiny energy centers in your cells. Among other things, CoQ10 sparks energy production in every cell of your body, especially the brain!. Talk about powering the brain!!!
Shortly after you start taking Vitaae™, you will be surprised and delighted by the improved mental clarity, deeper concentration, better moods, and improved weight loss you'll experience.
So, get ready to reclaim your youthful energy and sharp mind from the inside out with new, patented, and clinically proven ingredients that have never been put together into a single, easy to take formula before.
But don’t take our word for it. Here is a sampling of what real Vitaae™ fans have emailed us:
3 Real Customer Five-Star Reviews
At 62, Vitaae™ is the one thing that has really helped me to have a better attitude, a better outlook, and a sharper mind.
I feel like I have more energy and have lost 5 pounds already, as I am definitely more active. I have been so disappointed with the mental focus products out there because none have worked until trying Vitaae.™
I was a nurse for 30 years. So I pay a lot of attention to what I put into my body, and I am always hesitant about supplements. But I have to say, after doing my own in-depth research on the formulation, the ingredients, especially the well-studied patented versions, are really top-notch.
I have been taking this as well as my husband, and we notice a big difference in our moods and ability to focus. Also, as someone who is well aware of how important proper folate levels are and how hard it is to absorb, I’m impressed by the 7 times improved absorption of this formula.
I just love this! I have been taking it for 2 months now, and my brain fog is nearly gone, I have more energy, I exercise more, and I feel very vibrant all over, not just mentally.
I always felt so tired because I never felt like I got enough sleep, but I have been sleeping much better and feel refreshed when I wake up. My memory is much sharper, and I don’t feel as forgetful as before. And I am down 7 pounds, so that is a bonus :)