A brain-enhancing nootropic that occurs naturally in the body, citicoline seems to show promise for memory enhancement and eye health.
› What is it?
Citicoline, also called CDP-choline, is a chemical produced by the body that has a role in protecting nerve cells.
› Health benefits
Small human studies indicate that citicoline is possibly effective in improving memory and thinking skills in people age 50 to 85. It also has shown positive results in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease, although more research is needed in these areas.
Studies in animals and humans show that citicoline slows the progression of glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that increase eye pressure, damage the optic nerve and can cause blindness. A 2021 study in rats showed that citicoline doesn’t reduce pressure in the eye but seems to control glaucoma progression through some other mechanism.
› How much do I need?
Studies have used oral doses of 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day of citicoline for age-related memory loss and 500 to 1,600 milligrams per day for eye disorders. Side effects are rare.
› In food
Citicoline breaks down in the body into two nutrients—cytidine and choline—that can also be found in food. Cytidine is found in meat, particularly organ meats. Some good sources of choline are organ meats, eggs, peanuts, chicken, fish, whole grains and beans.
› Dietary supplements
You can buy citicoline supplements in capsule, powder or liquid form. A doctor can also administer it by injection or IV. For preventing glaucoma, citicoline is also available in eye drops.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, WebMD
Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.