What Is Citicoline?
Citicoline is a cholinergic class compound. Although it’s found naturally within the body, it can also be taken as a nutritional supplement. Citicoline plays a critical role in memory formation because it raises levels of acetylcholine within the brain.
Citicoline is widely available and easy to take, and many consider it to be one of the safest and most effective brain supplements on the market today. When taken on its own, Citicoline can provide a number of powerful cognitive benefits. However, to maximize its power, many people stack Citicoline with an additional nootropic – like a racetam.
When stacked with a racetam, the effects build off each other, creating a positive feedback loop that can have powerful effects on the brain’s cholinergic system.
Citicoline is found naturally within the body, so it’s “history” is as old as humans. However, in 1993, a pharmaceutical company called Ferrer synthesized Citicoline with the goal of aiding stroke victims. In 1993, a nootropic supplement company called Interneuron licensed exclusive marketing and manufacturing rights to Citicoline in the United States and Canada from Ferrer.
By 1997, Interneuron had patented Citicoline for its use in “the reduction of cerebral infarct volume.” In 1998, another patent was issued for Citicoline’s role in protecting brain tissue following a stroke.
Over the years, a number of Citicoline studies have taken place demonstrating its powerful effects on the brain. One MIT study tested Citicoline’s effect on verbal memory. That study concluded by saying: “Citicoline therapy improved verbal memory functioning in older individuals with relatively inefficient memories. Citicoline may prove effective in treating age-related cognitive decline that may be the precursor to dementia.”
That above study featured 47 female and 48 male volunteers between the ages of 50 and 85. All volunteers were screened for dementia, memory disorders, and other neurological problems.
Another 1999 study involved men and women who had recently experienced strokes. Citicoline proved to be effective on some of the participants in improving brain functionality. However, some participants displayed no measureable results.
Citicoline is a relative newcomer to the nootropics world and more research needs to be done to demonstrate a confirmed connection between those with degenerative brain conditions and cognitive improvement. That being said, early results are promising and some believe Citicoline could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, strokes, and other cognitive disorders.
How Does Citicoline Work?
Citicoline works in a very similar way to other cholinergics: it raises acetylcholine levels by providing your body with choline. Your body then turns that choline into acetylcholine, increasing memory functionality.
Taking Citicoline increases the amount of choline in your system. Your brain needs choline to produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is used to transfer new information around the brain and store that information for long-term recall. In short, acetylcholine is an essential compound that allows your brain to create and recall new memories.
One of the traits that makes Citicoline unique is its ability to break into two separate compounds after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Specifically, Citicoline breaks into choline and cytidine after being absorbed through the intestinal tract crossing the blood-brain barrier. Both choline and cytidine have two different functions.
Choline, as we already know, turns into acetylcholine and boosts memory. Cytidine, on the other hand, boosts cerebral energy metabolism and enhances the synthesis of compounds within cell membranes. This ultimately gives you better energy and focus.
In other words, Citicoline is a dual action nootropic supplement: like all cholinergics, it boosts memory retention and increases memory formation. But, unlike most other cholinergics, it also improves focus and enhances overall brain health in other ways.
Some online sources claim that Citicoline boosts dopamine levels in the brain, thereby improving your mood.
However, this claim has not been verified in any peer-reviewed studies.
Citicoline has been linked to a number of valuable cognitive benefits. We’ve hinted at these benefits above, but here’s what you can expect when taking Citicoline as a nootropic supplement:
Improved Memory: This is the primary benefit of Citicoline. The higher levels of acetylcholine in the brain boost memory formation and retention. That means you can easily absorb new information and then recall that information at a later point in time. In scientific studies (see above), Citicoline has demonstrated a significant beneficial effect on the memories of people between the ages of 50 and 85, and on those who have degenerative brain conditions.
Improved Brain Metabolism: Citicoline improves oxygen intake and blood circulation throughout the brain, boosting brain metabolism, which could be linked to better focus and attention.
Improved Mental Energy: Unlike some other nootropics, Citicoline is not a stimulant. However, the improved cerebrovascularity and brain metabolism can build focus, attention, and mental energy, which provides stimulant-like effects. That’s why you should avoid taking Citicoline in the late afternoon or evening – you might not be able to fall asleep at a normal time.
These benefits make Citicoline a popular nootropic for a wide range of situations. It’s popular among college kids, for example, who are in competitive programs. It’s also valuable for high-stress workplaces, or in any environment where you can use brain power to get ahead.
How to Use Citicoline
Citicoline, like most cholinergics, is well-tolerated and relatively easy to use. It can be purchased in the form of a powder or tablet. Some people even take it intravenously – although this isn’t recommended.
Tablets are the most convenient way to use Citicoline. A typical Citicoline tablet has a dosage of 500mg. The two main downsides of tablets are that they are a) more expensive and b) difficult to customize your dose.
After a few weeks of taking Citicoline tablets, you may want to increase your dose as your body gets more accustomed to the effects. When you’re taking a powder, it’s easy to add a little more to your scoop. That’s not the case with tablets or capsules. Powders are also the most cost-effective option.
Whether you’re taking a capsule or a powder, the recommended dosage starts at 500mg per day. As you get more experience with the nootropic, you can increase the dose to as much as 2 grams per day – although most experts recommend staying below 1 gram per day.
The most popular Citicoline dose is taking 250mg to 500mg, twice per day. You might take one dose with breakfast and another with lunch, for example, to provide strong cognitive benefits during normal working hours.
Citicoline can be taken with or without a meal. You should avoid taking it in the late afternoon or evening, however, to avoid sleeplessness.
One of the most popular ways to take Citicoline is as part of a stack. Stacking Citicoline is an effective way to maximize its benefits. You can stack Citicoline with a racetam like Aniracetam or Oxiracetam, for example.
Just like with any nootropic, you should cycle on and off Citicoline to avoid developing a tolerance. Some people recommend cycling to another cholinergic – like Alpha GPC – every week or so, while others cycle off cholinergics entirely before cycling back on.
Interestingly enough, when Citicoline is used within 24 hours of having an ischemic stroke (which is any stroke involving a clot), patients are more likely to make a full recovery than those who did not take Citicoline. Those who have recently experienced a stroke are typically given a 500mg daily dose.
Citicoline Side Effects
As mentioned above, Citicoline is well-tolerated and non-toxic. It’s a mild nootropic supplement and most people will never notice any Citicoline side effects.
Scientific and clinical studies have demonstrated 90 continuous days of Citicoline use with no safety issues or reported side effects. Research has not extended past the 90 day period. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Citicoline is unsafe to use past 90 days – it’s just that it’s never been studied in a scientific setting.
The majority of Citicoline users will not experience side effects. Those who do experience side effects, however, report feeling headaches, diarrhea, nausea, low or high blood pressure, and problems sleeping. If you’re concerned about any of these side effects, consult a physician before using Citicoline.
So far, there are no recorded instances of interactions with other drugs. That being said, you should absolutely talk to your doctor if you’re already taking medication or if you have any type of existing disease or illness. Those who are pregnant or breast-feeding are also advised not to take Citicoline or any other nootropic compound.
Ultimately, the most important scientific study on Citicoline’s side effects involved 2817 patients between the ages of 60 and 80. In this study, side effects were only seen in 5% of patients. Over half of those 5% of patients with side effects experienced mild digestive issues, and no serious side effects were reported during the study.
How To Buy Citicoline Supplements Online
If you’re ready to try Citicoline, then I’ve got good news for you: thanks to the wonders of the internet, it’s ridiculously easy to buy Citicoline (and most other nootropics) online. Ordering Citicoline online is safe, easy, and convenient. It’s also typically cheaper than the nootropics you would find at a local drugstore or pharmacy (although finding nootropics at these stores is rare).
Citicoline is legal throughout most of the world and is actively sold in over 70 countries. It’s typically sold under brand names like Ceraxon, Cognizin, NeurAxon, Synapsine, and Somazina. Whether you’re an experienced nootropic user or you’re trying Citicoline for the first time, there’s never been a better time to order Citicoline than today.