CDP Choline | What is it?

CDP Choline | What is it? | Neuratech

Welcome to another blog post for the weekly nootropic ingredient spotlight series. 

Today we are taking a look at one of the most popular nootropic compounds available, CDP Choline.

CDP Choline, or otherwise known as Citicoline, is one of three compounds that can be supplemented as a form of dietary choline to help synthesise Acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter responsible for neuromuscular control, as well as learning and memory). The other two compounds being Alpha-GPC and Choline Bitartrate.

CDP-Choline is used at a dose of 300mg per serve in Enhance Nootropic.


What is CDP Choline (Citicoline)?

CDP-Choline, or otherwise known as Citicoline is an intermediate in the synthesis of Phosphatidylcholine (PC) from Choline. PC is a phospholipid found in human and animal cells, particularly in cell membranes. Choline itself is found in large quantities in foods such as eggs, egg yolks, organ meets, dairy and vegetables. However, straight CDP Choline can be supplemented separately if you aren't getting enough Choline as a precursor from your diet.
Supplemental CDP-Choline or Citicoline converts to choline (the precursor to acetylcholine) and cytidine (The precursor to Uridine Monophosphate) in the intestines upon ingestion so that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once these cross the Blood-brain barrier the body uses them to reform citicoline where it can be used by the brain.

Citicholine is a water soluble molecule, with more than 90% oral bioavailability. Peak plasma levels occur one hour after oral ingestion. Doses of up to 2000mg have been observed in humans and animals without causing any toxicity.

Supplementation with citicoline can increase the amount of choline available for acetylcholine synthesis and aid in rebuilding membrane phospholipid stores after depletion.

Both in animals and in human beings, citicoline has been shown to possess proved neuroprotective properties.

The usual daily therapeutic dosage of citicoline in humans is 500–2,000 mg.

We have opted in for 300mg per serve to ensure that no negative side effects become largely present which can occur with higher doses. High doses of choline sources are known to cause headaches.


How does CDP Choline work (Mechanisms of action)?

CDP Choline or Citicoline works primarily via the following mechanisms of action:


  • Increases levels of acetylcholine (neurotransmitter) which is responsible for memory storage and recall during periods of high demand
  • Activating the biosynthesis of structural phospholipids (such as Phosphatidylcholine) in the neuronal membranes
  • Increasing cerebral metabolism by stimulating mitochondria, increasing brain blood flow 
  • Acting on the levels of various neurotransmitters (Dopamine, Norepinephrine)
  • Neuroprotective effect by preserving phospholipids and myelin sheath (protective barrier for neurons)

Effects & Research for CDP Choline? 

In one study, 24 elderly patients with memory deficits were administered either 1000mg/day or 500mg/day of citicoline over a period of 4 weeks. These subjects saw a significantly improved memory in free recall tasks as compared to placebo. Similar results were found in 3 subgroups of treatment. This indicates that citicoline can posses memory enhancing effects in the range of 300-1000mg per day. 

Another study investigated the safety and efficacy of citicoline in patients with Alzheimer's disease. 30 patients were given either 1000mg/day of Citicoline or placebo for 12 weeks. Citicoline was shown to increase cognitive performance in Alzheimer's disease patients and was shown to increase cerebral blood flow velocities. These patients also saw an increase in brain bioelectrical activity of alpha waves and theta waves, with a decrease in delta waves.

In another study, Citicoline was administered to healthy older subjects at a dose of 500mg/day for 6 weeks. Brain phospholipid synthesis increased by 7.3% in these 6 weeks.

One review also stated that CDP Choline has been shown to improve expression of SIRT1 protein, which is strongly involved in its neuroprotective effects. 

Citicoline has a lot of promising clinical data to back its efficacy, however most of the data is limited to the elderly or those suffering with brain impairments. We think this is an essential nutrient to supplement with if you really want to preserve your brain over the long term, and minimise neurodegeneration due to aging or disease. We would love to see more studies with healthy or younger adults, as well as trials with a large cohort (number of participants) to continue to validate its efficacy.








5. CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical review - PubMed (

6. Effects of acute CDP-choline treatment on resting state brain oscillations in healthy volunteers - PubMed (

7. Citicoline: A Superior Form of Choline? (

8. Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects - PubMed (

9. Double-blind placebo-controlled study with citicoline in APOE genotyped Alzheimer's disease patients. Effects on cognitive performance, brain bioelectrical activity and cerebral perfusion - PubMed (

10. Effects of CDP-choline treatment on neurobehavioral deficits after TBI and on hippocampal and neocortical acetylcholine release - PubMed (

11. Chronic citicoline increases phosphodiesters in the brains of healthy older subjects: an in vivo phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy study - PubMed (


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