Citicoline (alternatively known as cytidine diphosphate-choline or CDP-choline) is a naturally occurring substance found in every cell of the body that plays an essential role in the maintenance of cell membrane structure and function. Citicoline has been approved in numerous countries around the world for various applications, including the management of stroke-induced cognitive decline and age-related memory decline. Citicoline has also been studied in people following work-related head injuries, career burnout recovery, and for the overall management of Alzheimer's disease, though these last two uses remain largely unapproved in many countries.
Citicoline is a precursor for the production of acetylcholine (ACh) - a neurotransmitter which plays a key role in cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Citicoline increases ACh levels, which helps improve cognition and focus. For example, as a stroke survivor, aging person or someone with cognitive decline, taking citicoline may help improve one's ability to remember what happened during the day, complete tasks more accurately or efficiently, and stay on-task or alert over a period of time.
Citicoline is also an antioxidant that has been shown to neutralize acetylcholine and dopamine which can cause excessive oxidation in brain tissues. Oxidative stress and free radical damage can damage cells and disrupt metabolic processes, leading to cell death. The antioxidant activity of citicoline has been studied extensively and has been linked to reduced oxidative damage, improved cell health and better overall functioning.
Citicoline can be used for the management of stroke, transient ischemic attack, and age-related cognitive decline associated with aging. It is also used to support cognitive functions, preserve cognitive performance and decrease the risk of cognitive decline in the aging population. It has demonstrated the ability to facilitate recovery in stroke patients, reduce the risk of stroke recurrence, and improve various physical and mental functions including consciousness, mental alertness, memory, motor function, and attention.
Citicoline is most often utilized for the management of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline associated with aging. It has demonstrated the ability to improve cognitive scores, including Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores, Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) scores, and Modified Hasegawa's dementia rating scale scores, in the elderly population. It can also improve overall functionality, including the ability to engage in activities of daily living.
It has also been studied in the areas of substance abuse and mental health, with research showing potential positive effects on symptoms of cocaine addiction, nicotine addiction, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
Citicoline is also used to prevent and treat fatty liver, reduce the effects of alcohol on the liver, and may help improve liver function for those diagnosed with cirrhosis. Citicoline can also be beneficial for those suffering from tinnitus.
Overall, citicoline is a promising treatment for a variety of cognitive, physical, and mental health conditions. It is relatively non-toxic and well tolerated and can be used for the management of stroke, cognitive decline, substance abuse, and tinnitus. Despite there being a lack of research in some of these areas, citicoline holds potential for a variety of uses, which is being explored by researchers.