FEB 28, 2020 7:18 AM PST

How Dietary Supplement Citicoline Improves Memory

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

For some time now, Citicoline has been known for its ability to improve memory and reduce cognitive decline. A primary ingredient in many pre-made nootropics, or brain-boosting medicines, how does it work? And how effective is it? 

A choline donor, citicoline works by delivering choline (an essential nutrient used for the construction of cell membranes, neurons and neuron dendrites) to the brain where it is used to make phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine. While phosphatidylcholine is used to make new neurons and similar structures, acetylcholine is used to pass signals between neurons. These functions make citicoline essential for both creating new structures and increasing mental performance. 

Although choline is naturally present in mant foods, such as cauliflower, sunflower seeds, eggs and beef liver, its small quantities and difficulty in being absorbed by the gut mean that it is difficult to consume enough of the substance to garner significant neurological effects. At this point citicoline becomes more effective at raising choline levels in the brain as not only is better absorbed by the gut, it also goes practically unused by other areas of the body, unlike other choline analogues, and instead goes straight to the brain. 

But how effective is it? Although theoretically citicoline should work wonders in the brain, how does it work in practice? To understand this, researchers in Italy examined 349 patients aged 64 years and older who had problems with their memory and evidence of vascular lesions- although no formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. For the study, they required each participant to undergo a MIni-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at baseline alongside either magnetic resonance imaging of computed tomography scans. They then dosed 265 of them with 500mg of oral citicoline twice daily while the remaining 84 received no treatment.

Repeating MMSE’s and brain imaging both 3 and 9 months following treatment, the researchers found that although MMSE scores stayed relatively the same over time for those dosed with citicoline, those in the untreated group saw a significant decline in their MMSE score over the same period, indicating cognitive decline. For the researchers, this indicated that citicoline is likely effective in potentiating neuroplasticity while producing neuroprotective effects, and may even have some application in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. 

 

Sources: Medscape, Vaga and Psychology Today

 

About the Author
  • Annie graduated from University College London and began traveling the world. She is currently a writer with keen interests in genetics, psychology and neuroscience; her current focus on the interplay between these fields to understand how to create meaningful interactions and environments.
You May Also Like
FEB 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 12, 2020
Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Work Against Coronavirus?
Over 45,000 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus have been reported globally, alongside over 1,100 deaths. Although over 4,700 people are said to have recovered from...
FEB 10, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 10, 2020
Drug Prevents Coronavirus in Monkeys
An antiviral drug successfully prevented Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in infected rhesus macaques. The drug, Remdesivir, was adm...
MAR 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 06, 2020
Drug Improves Cancer Therapy
Prochlorperazine (PCZ) is a drug used for psychiatric use and the therapeutic treatment of nausea but was recently found to block the internalization of mo...
MAR 18, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 18, 2020
Finding a Treatment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
When developing fetuses are exposed to any amount of alcohol, they are at risk for a variety of irreversible birth defects....
MAR 13, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 13, 2020
Ibuprofen's Effects on Liver
Ibuprofen is a popular painkiller and over-the-counter (OTC) that belongs to a group of drugs referred to as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAID...
MAR 28, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 28, 2020
FDA Approves 5-Minute Coronavirus Test
In recent weeks, the US has struggled to supply enough tests to detect the coronavirus. Now, however, this may change thanks to the FDA’s approval of...
Loading Comments...