CDP-Choline benefit and side effects
Review of dosage, risks and optimal usage, pills in 250 mg and 500 mg capsules
How effective is this supplement as a brain booster, are there any safety concerns?
Review of clinical trials as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, brain injury, stroke, ischemia, and low blood oxygen levels, hypoxia.
February 1 2017
Benefits and review
CDP-choline is an intermediate in the making of membrane phospholipids that surround each cell and for the making of the important chemical acetylcholine, found in the brain and body. This nutrient is approved in Europe and Japan for use in stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders and is sold by the brand name Citicoline. In a way, you could consider it as a more potent form of choline. Studies show that CDP choline helps make phosphatidylcholine in human brain cell membranes; increases acetylcholine synthesis; improves mental performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease; and even improves memory in elderly patients with memory deficits. A Belgian study has shown that administration to dogs improves their ability to learn and remember.
This supplement is not yet well known but it should be since it provides many cognitive benefits. You can buy CDP-choline by itself or in a combination formula that provides several important brain boosters at the same time.
Mind Power Rx brain booster with CDP-choline, formulated by Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., world renowned supplement expert
Buy Mind Power Rx brain booster, or see a list of high quality products
What you may notice
Within an hour of taking a 250 pill CDP choline pill on an empty stomach, many people notice being more alert and motivated. The effects last a few hours. In addition, colors seem brighter and sharper and occasionally some individuals notice a sexual enhancement. Because of the alertness it produces, insomnia can occur if this nutrient is taken late afternoon or early evening.
The benefits of Mind Power Rx are similar but more consistent.
I started one morning with a 250 mg pill. Within two hours I was more alert and focused with slightly enhanced vision. The next day I took 500 mg and noticed even more alertness and focus, with a slight vision enhancement and perhaps a slight erectile enhancement. There was a mild enhancement in mood, too. The side effects were increased body temperature and a little bit of underarm sweating. The effects lasted a few hours.
CDP-choline belongs to the group of biomolecules in living systems known as nucleotides that play important roles in the metabolism of cells. It is composed of ribose, pyrophosphate, cytosine (a nitrogenous base), and choline. Oral administration may be of use in reversing age-related changes in the brain. It helps to increase levels of phosphatidylcholine and glycerophosphoethanolamine in the brain. These phosphodiesters form part of the cell membrane of brain cells and their levels are known to decline with age. Hence, CDP-choline supplements may help replace the declining levels of these important phosphodiesters.
May be of benefit in reducing damage after a stroke.
This nutrient may be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease.
Availability for sale over the counter
CDP-choline became available over the counter in the US in 1998. Most pills come in a 250 mg dose. You will also find it added to brain formulas as part of other brain boosters such as acetyl l carnitine and ginkgo biloba. A trademarked name is Cognizin.
Safety and side effects, caution, safety concerns, danger and risk
Toxicology studies show that CDP-choline is safe and produces no serious side effects in doses ranging from 250 mg to 500 mg a day. However, most of the studies lasted less than a few weeks. Long-term safety is not known. There are medications used as anticholinergic drugs which have serious side effects.
Single- and repeated-dose oral toxicity studies of citicoline free-base in Sprague-Dawley rats.
Int J Toxicology. 2009; Schauss AG, Somfai-Relle S, Glavits R, Endres JR, Szücs Z. Natural and Medicinal Products Research, AIBMR Life Sciences, Puyallup, WA.
The dietary supplement Citicoline free-base was toxicologically evaluated in rats. In an acute 14-day study, 2000 mg/kg was well tolerated. In a 90-day study up to 1000 mg/kg/day doses resulted in no mortality. In males, slight significant increases in serum creatinine, and decreases in urine volume were observed. In females, slight significant increases in total white blood cell and absolute lymphocyte counts and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) were noted. A dose-related increase in renal tubular mineralization, without degenerative or inflammatory reaction, was found in females (all treated groups) and two males.
Recommendations and review, choline vs cdp=choline
CDP-choline has been used successfully in Europe for many years but clinical experience in the US is limited. This nutrient appears to have a more direct and immediate effect on the brain than its cousin choline. However, it is difficult to predict at this time the long-term benefits or risks of regular use.
Effects of DP-choline on the thermal nociceptive threshold in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2008; Kamei J, Ohsawa M, Miyata S. Department of Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hoshi University, Tokyo, Japan.
Neuropathy accompanied by abnormal sensory perception is the most common complication in insulin-dependent and independent diabetes mellitus. Since there are very few effective therapeutic regimens for sensory abnormalities in diabetes, we examined the effect of cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine on the thermal nociceptive threshold in diabetic mice. Our results provide evidence to support the therapeutic potency of CDP-choline on the development of thermal hyper- and hypoalgesia and the progression of thermal hypoalgesia in diabetic mice.
Stabilized CDP Choline is a naturally occurring, water soluble biological compound that is an essential intermediate for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of the grey matter of brain tissue (30%). It is metabolized to yield the free nucleotide cytidine and choline. Consumption promotes brain metabolism by enhancing the synthesis of acetylcholine, restoring phospholipid content in the brain and regulation of neuronal membrane excitability.
CDP-choline in the treatment of chronic cerebrovasculopathies.
Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1994.
Ninety-two patients affected by chronic cerebrovasculopathy were treated with cytidine diphosphate choline 1000 mg/day i.m. or with placebo, in a double-blind study. Two cycles of therapy of 4 weeks each were performed, with an interval of 1 week. There were 46 patients in each group with chronic cerebrovascular diseases, and the two groups were comparable as far as mental deterioration was concerned. The comparison between the two groups revealed significant improvements in the CDP-choline group compared with the placebo group in some of the attention capabilities. No side-effects were detected.
A mind booster helpful after strokes
Findings presented at the American Stroke Association’s 27th International Stroke Conference indicate that CDP-choline may be helpful in reducing damage after a stroke. The most common cause of a stroke is blockage of a blood vessel within the brain, which leaves a portion of the organ starved for blood and oxygen. Bleeding within the brain can also lead to stroke. Much of the brain damage is caused by a cascade of harmful chemicals released by dying cells. Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland, reported data on two trials of the supplement citicoline, sold in some health food stores or on the internet as CDP-choline. One of the studies involved 41 patients who received 500 milligrams daily for 6 weeks after having a stroke. In the other, 62 stroke patients took 2,000 mg of the drug every day for 6 weeks. The researchers gauged the supplement’s effectiveness by measuring the size of the infarct, or area of dead tissue. They scanned patients’ brains within 24 hours of the stroke and again 12 weeks later. At the end of the study period, the investigators found that infarct size measured by MRI scans had increased by 85% in patients on placebo, by 34% in patients receiving the 500 mg dose of cdp-choline and by only 2% in patients receiving 2,000 mg cdp-choline.
I have been taking CDP-Choline for about 3 weeks. I began taking it after reading Dr. Sahelian’s publication on Natural Sex Boosters. My results have been fabulous. Sensation and enjoyment have returned. My question is; should I take a break every so often, or will it just continue to be effective if taken continuously?
A. It’s great that cdp-choline worked for you. It’s an interesting supplement. Although we can’t give specific advice, our philosophy regarding supplements is to take breaks from their use. As to the extent of breaks and their frequency, that is an individual matter and decision.
What are the differences between CDP-Choline and GPC-choline? I’ve had a chronic problem with stiff neck and DMAE made it worse. What’s probability that either of these 2 versions of choline would do the same?
A. We have come across GPC-choline but have not really looked into it in any detail since we can’t find any revealing human trials with it. DMAE can make neck tenseness worse in higher dosages. We are not aware that CDP-choline would do the same. But to assure this, we recommend less than a full dose.
Additional pages of interest and review articles
Canelilla bark and leaves have a has a cinnamon odor due to1-nitro-2-phenylethane.
Capros is developed from Phyllanthus emblica, the Indian Gooseberry.
Carnosic acid is found in several herbs like rosemary and sage.
Carnosol is found in several herbs such as rosemary and sage.
Carnosyn is a trademarked form of beta alanine amino acid.
Casearia sylvestris is a plant used in the treatment of several diseases in Brazil.
Casuarinin is a hydrolyzable tannin isolated from the bark of Terminalia arjuna plant. This plant substance appears to have anti cancer benefits.
Centella asiatica herb is commonly used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Cetraria islandica (Iceland moss) has been used for centuries in folk medicine in many countries.
Chakunda is a small plant that grows in dry soil in tropical India.
Chitrakmool has been mentioned as having astringent, diuretic, germicidal, and vesicant properties.
Thyroid hormone / medication influence and interactions
I have been taking 500mg a day of cdp-choline. Does this seem appropriate? I do sometimes get an increased heart rate- but other than that I feel fine. I am also on Synthroid for thyroid replacement because I have hypothyroidism (via radioactive iodine treatment/ Graves). Can the choline influence my TSH levels? Both my OBGYN and endocrinologist don’t really have any answers for me as they are not that progressive, and it is difficult to find doctors who are truly up to date.
A. We are not aware of any studies regarding the use of this supplement and pregnancy, nor the interaction of choline and CDP-choline with thyroid medications. CDP choline is a potent nutrient and 500 mg may be too high a dosage. Your doctor may wish to read this page and guide you.
I am curious about this memory supplement. Is it an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor? Could it be taken with another acetylcholinesterase inhibitor like Aricept or Exelon?
A. It is not an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor but rather provides choline to nerve tissues. As to the combination with medications such as Aricept or Exelon, this has to be a case by case decision depending on the condition of the patient using it and the purpose for such supplementation.