Citicoline is a brain chemical that is water soluble and occurs in the human body naturally. It is also used to increase the amount of phosphatidylcholine which is a brain chemical used for many different functions inside the brain.
What Is Citicoline Used For?
Interestingly, this brain chemical is used as medication in countries like Japan (where it was developed) and in some European nations, especially when it comes to treating cerebrovascular diseases. In the US, it is mostly prescribed as a supplement for food.
It is a prescription drug that is often used as medication. Preliminary research shows that it can be helpful in treating some chronic conditions. Citicoline has a lot of other advantages as well but we will get to that in a moment. It is mainly used to enhance the amount of chemicals that play a key role in sending messages inside the human brain.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Citicoline?
Citicoline has a number of health benefits especially with respect to the functions that involve sending and receiving messages from the brain. Here’s how it works.
1. Memory Problems
Individuals in the age group of 50 to 85 are often given citicoline when their memory and ability to think diminish due to old age. This drug has been known to stop cognitive decline, improve memory and generally sharpen their ability to think.
One clinical trial showed that when given 250 to 500 mg to healthy adults, they had better mental clarity and were able to focus better. But in this study, the participants were given a mix of CDP-choline and caffeine which is a verified stimulant.
Another trial with 24 healthy participants showed that a dosage of 500 to 1,000 mg was useful in improving cognitive markers which helped their ability to process information, improved their verbal memory and executive functions.
But this was only in those who had a low level of cognitive performance. It did not have any effect on those who were determined to be medium performers.
It also showed that the participants showed an interest in stopping smoking. So, researchers believe that it might be a helpful drug in that treatment too.
Eye disorders that usually lead to loss of vision, a condition called glaucoma can be treated when citicoline was given to some individuals with this condition. This is to be administered as eye drops, injection or orally.
Glaucoma could be caused due to factors like an increase in eye pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve and it could be treated with citicoline. The drug showed good results in stopping the progress of the disease in at least one clinical trial.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
There has been some evidence to suggest that taking citicoline orally can help improve memory and learning abilities. This can be used in the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer’s at a mild or moderate level.
Several clinical trials have shown that a daily dosage of 1,000 mg for 1 to 3 months can be helpful in improving the disease’s symptoms. It is also said to stimulate the flow of blood in the brain and to cut down the amount of inflammatory molecules IL1B and histamine in the brain. But these results are not entirely conclusive.
4. Lazy Eye
This is not confirmed but some preliminary research suggests that citicoline can help in the treatment of amblyopia which is better known as lazy eye. A shot that is given for a period of 15 days or taking it orally for almost a year can help improve vision in individuals who have this condition.
Foods With Citicoline
The human body is capable of making citicoline from choline and cytidine. But if you need to increase its levels, you can get it from foods that are rich in choline like:
- Meats (especially liver)
- Whole grains
Daily Recommended Intake Of Citicoline
There are three ways to take it and there are specific reasons why it is done in each way that are determined by a healthcare professional. Here’s what they are.
- You can take it by mouth in which case the dosage to improve thinking ability and memory that is the result of aging must be 1,000 to 2,000 mg every day. If it is for eye disorders that are causing glaucoma, it should be 500 to 1,600 mg a day. You can take them through supplements called Somazina or Cognizin.
- You can also get this in the form of eye drops that can help treat problems like glaucoma. In that case, you should take 2 percent citicoline eye drops for about three years, 3 drops every day.
- You can also get a shot of citicoline to help thinking and memory that is affected due to old age. Doctors usually administer it through IV into your vein. And if it is for loss of vision due to glaucoma, doctors will administer it as an injection to the muscle.
Citicoline: Possible Side Effects
Citicoline is said to be “possibly safe” when it is taken orally for about 90 days. But most individuals who do this might experience side effects like:
- Chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Stomach pain
The long-term effects of citicoline are not yet very clear including whether or not it is safe.
When taken by IV, it is considered to be “possibly safe” only when a healthcare professional administers it. Most people don’t have any problem with this method. When you get a shot, it is still considered “possibly safe” but also only if a healthcare professional is doing it. And there are no reported side effects.
It is risky for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take this as there isn’t enough information about its effects. The recommendation very often is to avoid it entirely.
Sometimes, children up to the age of 13 years are given citicoline by mouth and it is considered to be “possibly safe” for about a year.
What Is Citicoline Used For? Summing Up
Citicoline is an interesting brain chemical that helps us do a lot of thinking and also remember things. But when you have to take it as medication or a supplement it is best to do it under the doctor’s supervision so that you are safe. And if you are pregnant, don’t even think about it as the risk is too high.