7 Impressive Brain Protecting Benefits of Citicoline

You may have seen citicoline in on and offline health food stores under names like CDP-choline, alpha GPC (A-GPC), choline, or even as some form of bitartrate, which is choline plus a salt. It’s a natural chemical compound produced by the body, but it’s also a dietary supplement. Research findings indicate that it’s mostly associated with brain health and activities. Since our bodies produce very little of this important chemical, supplementation is often required. It can be administered orally, by injection or intravenously (x).  

Citicoline is also an ingredient in several food sources, placed there by mother nature or humans. It is referred to as a novel food(x). So, what is it really? A stimulant? An enzyme? A mineral? An antioxidant? 

What is Citicoline? 

Pre-1970s, the word “citicoline” was nonexistent. The chemical was called 5-cytidine diphosphate choline, cytidine diphosphate choline, cytidine 5-diphosphocholine among other name variations. It became citicoline when medical professionals began to prescribe it (x)(x). It appears to function as a stimulant, involved with boosting or initiating the synthesis of essential compounds that affect our mental (and physical) health and wellness. Studies reveal that it may trigger protection against oxidative stress in cardiovascular patients, and in individuals with cognitive disorders and vision problems (x)(x)(x). As a matter of fact, the Japanese first manufactured citicoline as drug for stroke. One could say that the chemical functions as a nootropic as well as a protector and manager/supervisor of certain processes in our body. 

What are the Benefits of Citicoline? 

In the mid-20th century, scientists at Harvard University discovered that the naturally-occurring citicoline was a precursor in the production of phospholipids. These fatty acid compounds are necessary for producing and regenerating cell membranes (x). Other research indicate that citicoline protects the brain and nerve cells from stroke damage, while increasing oxygen levels and glucose metabolism;  boosts cognitive functions in patients with brain and nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease as well as in the elderly; is a mood enhancer/ neurotransmitter; may benefit athletes; improve vision and perhaps reduce substance dependency  (x), (x)(x). Always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements. There’s no medical evidence to support citicoline or choline supplements in any form curing, treating or preventing disease. 

Builds/ Regenerates Cell Membranes 

Scientists have cited the process by which intravenous citicoline triggers the development and regeneration of cell membranes. It begins with the separation and release of cytidine and choline, parts of the citicoline compound, into the bloodstream. They are then absorbed into the nervous system and neural membranes, where they activate the synthesis of the phospholipids, necessary for the building and repairing cell and mitochondrial membranes. This process shows that citicoline may benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease by improving their motor functions (x)

Stroke and Cerebrovascular Protector 

Some studies present citicoline as an excellent protector of the brain from damage that occur after a stroke or cerebral episodes that affect blood flow to the brain. It enables a supply of more oxygen and increased glucose metabolism. It may also help patients of non-trauma-causing cerebral hemorrhage regain muscle strength (x)(x)(x)

Boosts Cognitive Functions 

Citicoline may help improve cognitive functions such as memory, concentration and learning in individuals with brain injury or trauma, the elderly and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to researchers. The chemical, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, seems to increase the phospholipids and metabolites in the regions of the brain that is responsible for cognitive activities. When communication between the brain’s neurons improves, so too memory lapses, dementia, concentration, ADHD and learning ability (x)(x)

Mood Enhancer 

Scientists believe that citicoline may increase levels of the neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and noradrenaline, all of which affect our moods, anxiety, cognition, sleep, and even digestion. The supplement could offer help to bipolar patients (x)(x)

Improves Vision 

Research also cites citicoline’s ability to help patients with glaucoma by improving their vision. It may also help those suffering from optic nerve disease or optic neuropathy (x)(x)(x)(x)

Reduces Substance-Dependency/Addiction 

Some studies indicate that citicoline may reduce the craving for cocaine and marijuana in addicted individuals, especially those suffering from bipolar disorder (x)(x)(x)

Benefits Athletes 

Clinical trials indicate that Alpha GPC has the potential to increase growth hormone levels, which may help strengthen and build muscle mass, and promote quick recovery from weightlifting (x)

What Foods Contain Citicoline? 

Here in the United States, citicoline is used more as a dietary supplement. Clinical trials conducted in the 1990s with citicoline from a Japanese pharmaceutical and biotechnological firm indicated that the chemical may not benefit strokes. It did, however, exhibit low toxicity, prompting them to promote it as a dietary component, supplementing cytidine and choline in food and beverages (x)(x). What foods contain citicoline as a natural ingredient? 

Citicoline occurs naturally as choline in foods. It is often in the form of the fat molecules phosphatidylinecholine, phospholipids, or lecithin, and is associated with the B-vitamins (x)(x). Foods containing choline include dairy (especially cheeses and butter), eggs, seafood (fish, shrimp), meat (liver), peanut butter, nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), beans (kidney, navy, chickpeas), avocados, brussels sprouts, rice (brown, white), wheat germ and molasses (x).  

How to Take Citicoline 

What is the suggested or recommended dosage for citicoline? As a food or dietary supplement, citicoline may be sold as Alpha GPC (L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) powder (x). The suggested dosage is 600 mg (about ¼ tsp) once or twice a day with water. It’s also sold as Choline DL-Bitartrate powder (x) or Choline L-Bitartrate powder (x), both salt forms of choline. The suggested dosage for Choline DL-Bitartrate is 750 mg once or twice a day with food. For Choline L-Bitartrate, it’s 600 mg once or twice a day, also with food. These suggested dosages are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Daily values are not established, and no more than 8 grams a day should be consumed. Doctors’ recommendations for all three supplements take precedence over the suggested dosages.  

Always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements. There’s no medical evidence to support citicoline or choline supplements in any form curing, treating or preventing disease. 

Safety Concerns and Possible Side Effects of Citicoline 

Taken short-term, citicoline seems safe. However, long-term use is unknown (x). As with any other supplement, some individuals may have adverse effects after consuming this product. Symptoms may include headaches, blurred vision, insomnia, nausea, low/ high blood pressure and diarrhea (x). Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid use (x)

Again, always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements. There’s no medical evidence to support citicoline or choline supplements in any form curing, treating or preventing disease. 

Citicoline VS Choline 

Is there a difference between citicoline and choline? Not much. When citicoline is consumed, one of the compounds it provides is choline, the precursor to acetylcholine, which is the nootropic neurotransmitter. Choline is also involved in heart health (x)(x).  

Citicoline VS Alpha GPC 

What is the difference between citicoline and alpha GPC (alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine)? They are both dietary supplements and precursors to acetylcholine, supplying and increasing the body’s choline level, so that it adequately supports and stimulates brain health and overall wellness (x)(x)(x)

Where to Buy Citicoline 

You can purchase citicoline in a variety of forms at The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices. 

Are you interested in trying citicoline as a dietary supplement for its potential ability in improving and maintaining cognitive functions, vision, muscle recovery and decreased substance abuse? Contact to place an order today. 

Bottom Line 

The word citicoline was coined in the 1970s when it was first used as a stroke drug by the Japanese.  Prior to that it was known by its chemical names: 5-cytidine diphosphate choline, cytidine diphosphate choline, cytidine 5-diphosphocholine. Notice they all contain the word choline. That’s because the chemical compound occurs naturally in our bodies as choline.     

Choline is the precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and like all neurotransmitters, it sends messages across our brain and network of nerves to targeted cells in our bodies. These particular cells boost and protect our cognitive functions, including in patients with brain disorders and the elderly. Choline is also associated with certain B-vitamins and occurs naturally in certain foods like nuts, beans, avocados, seafood, dairy and eggs. Sometimes, it is used as an added ingredient in food products. 

Citicoline is offered as a dietary supplement, sometimes as alpha GPC or alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine. It can be taken orally, intravenously, or as an injection. When it enters the body, it separates into choline and cytidine. Besides stimulating cognitive functions, studies show that citicoline/ choline has the potential to build/ regenerate cell membranes by producing phospholipids, protect the brain and nervous system from stroke damage, enhance our happy mood, allow quick muscle recovery in athletes, improve vision and possibly decrease substance dependency. Always consult your healthcare provider for diagnoses, accurate medical information and permission before taking any supplements.

Author: James D