CDP Choline in capsules or powder

CDP-Choline

David Tomen
Author:
David Tomen
11 minute read
CDP-Choline is known to increase cognition and brain function, improve focus and motivation, and reduce fatigue

CDP-Choline (Cytidine Diphosphate Choline or cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine) is also known as Citicoline. This naturally occurring choline source is present in every cell in your body.

CDP-Choline is unique as a choline source. Once it’s digested it separates into cytidine and choline. When it gets to your brain it converts back to CDP-Choline.

This choline is needed to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is a primary neurotransmitter released by neurons. This electrical signaling between neurons is involved in memory, learning, cognition and recall.

Cytidine is a component of Ribonucleic acid (RNA). This molecule is involved in coding, decoding, regulation and the expression of genes. But once it gets into the brain, it converts to uridine.

The signaling going on between neurons tends to grab choline molecules from cell membranes when choline is in short supply. This is where uridine steps in. It repairs those same cell membranes. To maintain neuron integrity.

 CDP-Choline helps:

  • Brain Optimization: CDP-Choline provides uridine once it enters in the brain. Uridine repairs, rebuilds and re-supplies the components needed for neuron repair. To keep signaling between neurons optimized for memory, learning, cognition and recall.
  • Neurotransmitters: CDP-Choline enhances the release of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine in the brain.[i] [ii]
  • Brain Energy: CDP-Choline increases Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in brain cells. ATP is produced in your mitochondria and your main source of cellular energy.

Overview

CDP-Choline is a type of choline that is present in every cell in your body. You can also get it from eating organ meats like liver.

CDP-Choline
CDP-Choline

Choline is considered an essential nutrient because your body uses it faster than it can produce it. So you need to supplement choline either from food or a supplement.

You need choline for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. And to form phosphatidylcholine (PC), used in building cell membranes.

In fact, choline is so vital to cognition and nerve function that, without it, we couldn’t move, think, sleep or remember anything.

CDP-Choline has the unique ability to convert to cytidine and choline once it passes through your digestive system. After it crosses the blood-brain barrier, it converts back to CDP-Choline.

The left-over cytidine in your blood can convert into uridine in your brain. Uridine is necessary for repairing cell membranes.

CDP-Choline is involved in memory and cognitive functions. And provides energy for the brain to conduct sustained mental effort.

CDP-Choline provides mental energy

CDP-Choline vs. Alpha GPC vs. Choline Bitartrate: What’s the Difference?

Choline is a water-soluble nutrient similar in composition to B-vitamins. CDP-Choline, Alpha GPC, Choline Citrate and Choline Bitartrate are all sources of choline.

CDP-Choline (cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine): Is about 18% choline by weight and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Your body naturally synthesizes choline into CDP-Choline (Citicoline) in your brain.

Taken as a supplement, it’s then converted to cytidine and choline in your gut. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier it’s converted back to CDP-Choline. The choline then assists cell membranes, and helps create acetylcholine.

CDP-Choline vs. Alpha GPCThe added benefit of CDP-Choline is with cytidine. Cytidine can convert into uridine which is critical in the brain. Uridine is needed to synthesize the phosphatidylcholine (PC) in neuron membranes. It helps repair neurons.

Choline Bitartrate: An economical form of choline, and about 40% choline by weight. So 1 gram of Choline Bitartrate offers 400 mg of actual choline. It does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier. So you won’t experience the same level of nootropic benefits as with Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.

Alpha GPC: About 40% choline by weight and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Alpha GPC naturally occurs in your brain as a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC). When your brain needs more choline, and the choline floating around in your brain is running low, it breaks down PC from cell membranes. And turns it into Alpha GPC.

Your body and brain loves it when you use Alpha GPC. Because it doesn’t have to cannibalize its own cells to get more choline.

How does CDP-Choline Work in the Brain?

CDP-Choline boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. CDP-Choline is metabolized in the gut wall and liver to form choline and cytidine. Once choline and cytidine cross the blood-barrier they re-synthesize back into CDP-Choline (Citicoline).[iii]

In the brain choline aids in the synthesis of acetylcholine. And the release of dopamine.[iv] Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter associated with memory and learning.

  1. CDP-Choline helps repair neural membranes. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain. ACh carries nerve impulses across synapses. And then is broken down by enzymes.

ACh is then reassembled for reuse. But this breakdown/reassembly process isn’t foolproof. Some ACh gets lost in the process. So your brain goes looking for more choline to make ACh.

If there isn’t enough choline in your blood, it gets it from the phosphatidylcholine (PC) that makes up the outside of the cell membrane of your neurons. The PC in the cell membrane releases choline to help make acetylcholine.

When your neurons lose too much choline, they lose integrity. Nerve impulses break down, and cognitive abilities decline.[v]

CDP-Choline prevents cognitive declineScientists in the lab at MIT showed that this is where uridine steps in. The cytidine in CDP-Choline converts to uridine in your body. And it works as a bridge between choline and neuron membrane synthesis.

Uridine is needed to synthesize the PC in neuron membranes. It is first converted to CDP-Choline. Which is then synthesized into new PC. This new PC can then repair damaged neuron membranes. Membranes that were raided to make acetylcholine.[vi]

How things go bad

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes. This can happen at any age once we enter our adult years.

↓ Brain cell membranes degenerate

↓ Recall, reaction time and mood diminish

↓ Acetylcholine levels decline[vii]

All of these changes can happen at any age. And our bodies are influenced by the food we eat, what we drink, lifestyle habits, the air we breathe and more.

So CDP-Choline can help for age-related cognitive decline, as well as a student looking to do better in school. By boosting acetylcholine and dopamine. And rebuilding neurons in the brain.

CDP Choline restores brain health

CDP-Choline benefits

Research from hundreds of studies have shown that CDP-Choline will:

  • Boost cognition[viii]
  • Increase brain energy and speed up formation of brain membranes[ix]
  • Boost production of acetylcholine[x]
  • Increase blood flow to the brain[xi]
  • Offset the harmful effects of stroke[xii]
  • Improve memory and learning ability[xiii]
  • Boost cognitive performance and memory in Alzheimer’s patients[xiv]

CDP-Choline is water-soluble and quickly enters your brain after you take it. In fact, studies show it has nearly 100% bioavailability in your body. Take it orally or intravenously and your body absorbs the same amount.

Once in your brain it boosts signal transmission, and repairs neurons. CDP-Choline improves your brain function and memory by directly increasing levels of acetylcholine and dopamine. And repairs neurons at the same time.

How does CDP-Choline feel?

The most profound indication of the power of this supplement is with those who have suffered a stroke.

Stroke survivors report that after continued usage of CDP-Choline, most of the noticeable effects of the stroke are gone. Including muscle paralysis and weakness.

CDP Choline helps memory and focusNeurohackers report they are better able to concentrate and focus. And experience a significant boost in cognition.

You can feel more mentally alert. And you may even ease the fatigue associated with clinical depression by using CDP-Choline.

Some use CDP-Choline as an alternative to the stimulants prescribed for ADHD.

CDP-Choline Clinical Research

In a study at the University of Utah, 75 healthy males were given 250 mg, 500 mg of CDP-Choline, or a placebo. Tests were recorded after 28 days of supplementation.

The adolescent males receiving 250 or 500 mg of CDP-Choline showed improved attention and psychomotor speed. And reduced impulsivity compared to adolescent males who received placebo.

This study indicates CDP-Choline is effective even in younger age groups. And can be particularly helpful to those dealing with ADHD.[xv]

CDP-Choline Enhances Cognition

A study published in Food and Nutrition Sciences assessed the potential cognitive-enhancing effects of Citicoline (CDP-Choline) in healthy, adult women.

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial worked with 60 healthy women from 40 – 60 years old. Each volunteer was given a daily dose of 250 mg or 500 mg of Citicoline, or a placebo for 28 days.

The women who took either dose of Citicoline for 28 days showed a significant improvement in cognition.

The researchers suggested that Citicoline may improve attentional performance in middle-aged women. And it might eliminate the attention deficits associated with central nervous system disorders (i.e. ADHD).

CDP-Choline Improves Memory

Researchers in Japan studied 16 men and women who were given either 500 mg or 2000 mg of Citicoline for 6 weeks. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to study the brains of the participants at the end of the study.

The research team found ATP in the neurons of those in the study increased by over 14%. And membrane phospholipids were boosted by over 32%. These finding were in specific areas of the brain associated with cognition. And the effect was even more pronounced in the group that received the lower dose of Citicoline.

The researchers concluded that Citicoline supplementation could help prevent cognitive decline associated with aging. Along with an increase in brain energy reserves and utilization. And an increase in the components needed to synthesize and maintain cell membranes.

CDP-Choline Recommended Dosage

Recommended CDP-Choline dosage is 250 – 500 mg per day. Taken no more than twice per day. Two daily doses would be one CDP-Choline dose in the morning, and one in the early afternoon.

If you’re adding CPD-Choline to your stack with a racetam, a typical ratio would be 250 mg of Citicoline to 1 gram of Aniracetam or 4 grams of Piracetam.

CDP-Choline Side Effects

Recommended dosages even for extended periods are considered well-tolerated and safe. While CDP-Choline is considered non-toxic, it is possible to experience toxicity with too much choline in your body.

If you experience trouble sleeping, headache, diarrhea, low or high blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision or chest pain – you should stop using CDP-Choline.

Type of CDP-Choline to Buy

CDP Choline in capsules or powderCDP-Choline is sold in capsule and powder form. Capsules are usually 250 – 500 mg each. 500 mg of CDP-Choline in powder form is equivalent to 2-level 1/8 tsp scoops.

Cognizin® is a patented, allergen-free, and water-soluble form of CDP-Choline shown in clinical trials to boost brain cell membrane formation by 26%. And increase brain energy by 13.6%.[xvi]

CDP-Choline is often found in pre-formulated nootropic stacks. But as Cognizin® is only offered in premium stacks.

For example, Mind Lab Pro® includes effective doses of 11 brain enhancing nootropic compounds including 250 mg of Citicoline. And Performance Lab® Mind includes 250 mg of Cognizin®.

I recommend Mind Lab Pro® because it addresses all aspects of anxiety, memory and cognitive enhancement, stabilizes mood, brain repair, and maintenance. See my full Mind Lab Pro review for more.

A great alternative is the Performance Lab® Mind supplement which is made to be used with the Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi. Which supplies the core essential vitamins and minerals for overall brain and body health.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedCDP-Choline 250 – 500 mg per day

I recommend using CDP-Choline as a nootropic supplement.

CDP-Choline is brain food. And is a natural substance found in every cell in your body.

You can get choline from some of the food you eat. But adequate levels of CDP-Choline are only found in organ meats like liver. So to get its benefits you must take it as a supplement.

CDP-Choline is vital to maintaining optimal brain health. And has been shown to increase cognitive energy, boost brain function, enhance communication between neurons, and protect neural membranes from free radical damage.

Cognizin® is a patented, allergen-free, and water-soluble form of CDP-Choline available in premium nootropic stacks like Performance Lab® Mind. And you’ll get 250 mg Citicoline in Mind Lab Pro®

I suggest starting with a dose of 250 – 500 mg daily. And CDP-Choline is a great compliment to a stack including any nootropic from the racetam-family. Anything that causes an increase in uptake of acetylcholine in your brain.

You need to provide your brain with the CDP-Choline it is demanding. Or it starts cannibalizing your own brain cells to make more acetylcholine. Signs that you’re lacking adequate choline are headaches.

When using CDP-Choline with one of the racetams start with a ratio of 1:4. For example, 250 mg of CDP-Choline to 1,000 mg of Aniracetam.

Stroke survivors may want to up the dose to 2,000 mg per day.

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Petkov V.D., Stancheva S.L., Tocuschieva L., Petkov V.V. “Changes in brain biogenic monoamines induced by the nootropic drugs adafenoxate and meclofenoxate and by citicholine (experiments on rats).” General Pharmacology 1990;21(1):71-5. (source)

[ii] Agut J., Coviella I.L., Wurtman R.J. “Cytidine (5’) diphosphocholine enhances the ability of haloperidol to increase dopamine metabolites in the striatum of the rat and to diminish stereotyped behavior induced by apomorphine.” Neuropharmacology 1984 Dec;23(12A):1403-6. (source)

[iii] Rao A.M., Hatcher J.F., Dempsey R.J. “CDP-choline: neuroprotection in transient forebrain ischemia of gerbils.” Journal of Neuroscience Research 1999 Dec 1;58(5):697-705. (source)

[iv] Adibhatla R.M., Hatcher J.F., Dempsey R.J. “Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia.” Journal of Neurochemistry 2002 Jan;80(1):12-23 (source)

[v] Wurtman R.J. “Choline metabolism as a basis for the selective vulnerability of cholinergic neurons.” Trends in Neuroscience 1992 Apr;15(4):117-22. (source)

[vi] Wang L., Pooler A.M., Albrecht M.A., Wurtman R.J. “Dietary uridine-5′-monophosphate supplementation increases potassium-evoked dopamine release and promotes neurite outgrowth in aged rats.” Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2005;27(1):137-45. (source)

[vii] Cohen B.M., Renshaw P.F., Stoll A.L., Wurtman R.J., Yurgelun-Todd D., Babb S.M. “Decreased brain choline uptake in older adults. An in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.” JAMA 1995 Sep 20;274(11):902-7. (source)

[viii] De Bruin N.M.W.J., Kiliaan A.J., De Wilde M.C., Broersen L.M. “Combined uridine and choline administration improves cognitive deficits in spontaneously hypertensive rats” Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Volume 80, Issue 1, July 2003, Pages 63–79 (source)

[ix] Hurtado O. et. Al “Neuroprotection afforded by prior citicoline administration in experimental brain ischemia: effects on glutamate transport.” Neurobiology of Disease 2005 Mar;18(2):336-45. (source)

[x] Adibhatla R.M., Hatcher J.F., Dempsey R.J. “Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia.” Journal of Neurochemistry 2002 Jan;80(1):12-23. (source)

[xi] Watanabe S., Kono S., Nakashima Y., Mitsunobu K., Otsuki S. “Effects of various cerebral metabolic activators on glucose metabolism of brain.” Folia Psychiatr Neurol Jpn. 1975;29(1):67-76. (source)

[xii] Clark W.M. “Efficacy of citicoline as an acute stroke treatment.” Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2009 Apr;10(5):839-46. (source)

[xiii] De Bruin N.M., Kiliaan A.J., De Wilde M.C., Broersen L.M. “Combined uridine and choline administration improves cognitive deficits in spontaneously hypertensive rats.” Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2003 Jul;80(1):63-79. (source)

[xiv] Silveri M.M. et. Al. “ Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy.” NMR in Biomedicine 2008 Nov;21(10):1066-75. (source)

[xv] McGlade E., Agoston A.M., DiMuzio J., Kizaki M., Nakazaki E., Kamiya T., Yurgelun-Todd D. “The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males.” Journal of Attention Disorders 2015 Jul 15. pii: 1087054715593633. (source)

[xvi] Silveri M.M. et. al. “Cognizin® Citicoline Increases Brain Energy (ATP) by 14% and Speeds up Formation of Brain Membranes by 26% in Healthy Adults” Society for Neuroscience San Diego, CA (source)

Subscribe to the Nootropics Expert newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest developments in the nootropics space.

Head First 2nd Editon

The Award Winning Guide to Healing & Optimizing Your Brain with Nootropic Supplements.

Head First 2nd Edition

NEW! Eliminate Brain Fog, Low Energy, Moodiness, Difficulty Sleeping, Memory Loss or Anxiety. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Walmart and more...



Where to Buy Nootropics

Wondering where to buy nootropics? Well, you’re in the right place. Because here you will find the nootropic supplements that I personally use and recommend. Each supplement has a link to the company store and product that I use. I also include a link to my full review for each supplement here on Nootropics Expert® […]

The Definitive Guide to Nootropics

Nootropics can help increase your memory, boost learning ability, improve your mood and assist overall brain function. If you’re new to nootropics, or wonder about the difference between a nootropic and a smart drug, then this page is for you. Here you’ll find the definition of a nootropic, how to pronounce the word “nootropic”, the […]

The Most Comprehensive Nootropics List

This is our big list of the most popular Nootropics in use today. Here you’ll learn what each nootropic is, what it does and suggested dosages. What is this List of Nootropics About? Nootropic supplements are cognitive enhancers aiming to improve brain function. Whether you are looking to treat mild cognitive impairment, improve mental focus, or biohack […]



Free Secrets of the Brain 3rd Edition

Get “Secrets of the Optimized Brain,” 92 nootropics to help you plan your Nootropic Stack when you sign up for my newsletter:

Join The Discussion - 257 comments

Wong
April 22, 2021

Hi David

I am currently on MLP. Can you recommend me a standalone of patented Cognizin for me to top up during the late noon?

Beth
April 2, 2021

Great website. I have a neurological disorder with poor sensory gating and Lecithin makes me feel 80% better. But it causes massive swelling in my stomach and pain. It happens with both sunflower and soy. I don’t have allergies but the reaction is so severe it freaks me out a bit. I have tried CDP choline and Alpha GPC but they make me dizzy and headachey. I’ve tried inositol, but that did nothing, so I’m sure it’s the combo of p-choline and possibly P-serine. Dried liver pills do help and eating eggs, but they are not the miracle lecithin is. Anything you can suggest, please? It’s so frustrating to feel like I have finally found a cure that I can’t actually take. Best wishes.

    David Tomen
    April 3, 2021

    Beth, have you tried Phosphatidylserine (PS) made from sunflower? A patented version like Sharp PS Green.

    The other thing is Vitamin D3 (https://nootropicsexpert.com/vitamin-d/) is regulating executive function and “sensory gating”. Do you know what your Vitamin D3 levels are?

Jason Shim
March 7, 2021

CDP Choline seem to help with my restless leg syndrome too, I have RLS when I take stimulant like coffee.

Jason
February 9, 2021

Hello David, today it’s my first time taking CDP choline 250mg. I feel more mentally alert, focus and need less sleep. More calming which is an unexpected bonus.

I don’t understand how a mere 250mg would help me so much. Before this I eat a lot of soy and eggs which are a good source of choline but they doesn’t seems to help much in my focus unlike what CDP choline is offering.

I will update my progress with CDP choline

    David Tomen
    February 9, 2021

    Jason, our food supply sucks and chances are the soy and eggs you are eating are not a good source of choline. The only true way to find out is get them tested.

    If you had that kind of positive reaction to the supplement it tells you something about the quality of food we’re eating these days.

    The dietary supplement market is in the billions and growing every year. But 50 years ago there wasn’t much of a supplement market. Ever wondered why?

      Jason
      February 9, 2021

      Yes food nutrient seem really low these day, maybe the soil nutrients are depleted.

      David, is it a good idea to stack cdp choline with DHA and Phosphatidylserine?

        David Tomen
        February 10, 2021

        Jason, take a look at the first couple of part of this article I wrote on choosing a multivitamin here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/how-to-select-the-best-multivitamin-for-brain-function/. It details the problems with our food supply including links to studies supporting everything I said in that article.

        I personally use CDP-Choline (in Mind Lab Pro), DHA (in the Performance Lab Omega-3) and a separate Phosphatidylserine supplement. And it works for me. These do stack well together. But it may not work as well for you as it does for me. Only thing to do is try it at the recommended dosages for each.

Jozef
January 20, 2021

Hi David, I want to ask how can I best cover the whole cholinergic system? Can these substances be taken together? Thank you very much.

    David Tomen
    January 21, 2021

    Jozef, it’s not necessary to “cover the whole cholinergic system” because many of these compounds are made in your brain and brain.

    All you need to do to cover all the bases is Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline.

      Jozef
      January 23, 2021

      Can I take them together? Thank you David

        David Tomen
        January 23, 2021

        Jozef, if you are referring to Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline they certainly can be used together. But if you choose to combine them be careful of how much you use. Because too much acetylcholine is not good. And will result is pretty severe side effects depending on how much in excess you used.

        Jozef
        January 24, 2021

        Thank you very much David.

Uzochi O
January 9, 2021

Does taking CDP Choline work with a ketogenic diet? I’ve seen a mention of CDP choline supplementation spiking insulin levels, inhibiting ketone production, and overall ravaging the body and sleep cycle

    David Tomen
    January 10, 2021

    Uzochi, contrary to what you may have heard, humans require adequate intake of choline including from supplements such as CDP-Choline to help to transport fats out of the liver to be used throughout your body.

    Not enough choline can result in fatty liver disease. And most people are choline deficient. Supplementing with CDP-Choline is not contrary to a ketogenic diet.

Tamir
December 24, 2020

For how long should I use this drug to get the ultimate result?
My dose is 500mg

    David Tomen
    December 26, 2020

    Tamir, first, CDP-Choline is not a “drug”. It’s a perfectly natural source of choline and uridine.

    You should feel the effects of 500 mg within 30 minutes of taking the supplement. But daily long-term use provides the most benefit.

Sam
December 24, 2020

Hello, David. I’m currently taking 450 mg. per day of Alpha GPC in addition to racetams and triacetyluridine. I’m planning on adding CDP Choline. I would alternate a day of 300 mg. CDP Choline with a day of 450 mg. Alpha GPC. The idea would be to enjoy the benefits of both while mitigating the long half life of the CDP Choline. Is this a sensible dosing regime?

    David Tomen
    December 26, 2020

    Sam, sounds like a sensible way to use Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline. The key of course is ensuring you have enough acetylcholine in your brain to keep up with demand. Including your use of racetams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.