Protect your brain health with the nutrient citicoline
04/15/2021 / By Winnie Martin / Comments
Protect your brain health with the nutrient citicoline

When it comes to keeping the brain healthy, citicoline is a key nutrient for this purpose. This important compound helps raise levels of certain neurotransmitters and increase mental energy. It also helps protect the brain from damage and the effects of aging. But what exactly is it?

Citicoline is a naturally occurring substance found in every cell of your body. It is usually sold as a food supplement to help improve mental performance. Citicoline is usually synthesized from the food you eat – most especially from the choline in eggs, beef and seafood.

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But the choline in the food you eat can only give you so much, so taking citicoline supplements is the next best source for this brain vitamin. When you take a citicoline supplement, it gets broken down into choline and cytidine. These components are readily absorbed in the intestines and easily cross the blood brain-barrier. Choline and cytidine are then subsequently reformed into citicoline.

Citicoline is sold as a brain supplement in more than 70 countries. How exactly does citicoline help the brain?

Citicoline raises the level of important neurotransmitters in the brain

Brain cells communicate each other by secreting chemicals called neurotransmitters. Taking citicoline increases the levels of several neurotransmitters, including acetycholine and dopamine. Acetylcholine is associated with memory and learning: It is responsible for turning short-term memories into long-term ones.

Meanwhile, dopamine is associated with motivation and focus. Low levels of this neurotransmitter have been connected with depressive feelings and reduced enthusiasm. Citicoline addresses the lack of this key brain chemical in two ways. It raises the level of dopamine in the brain, and increases the number of the brain’s dopamine receptors.

Citicoline protects the brain from free radicals and foreign substances

Citicoline also safeguards the brain from damage caused by both free radicals and harmful substances. The brain nutrient serves as a precursor of phosphatidylcholine, a major component of brain cell membranes. Our brain cells have these membranes to filter out harmful substances while letting in important nutrients, water and oxygen. But these can get leaky sometimes, letting heavy metals and toxins through. Citicoline stabilizes and helps restore the integrity of brain cell membranes so they block out pathogens properly.

Citicoline can also fight the harmful effects of free radicals and inflammation. The brain is susceptible to oxidative stress as it uses oxygen to function. Oxidative stress leads to inflammation, which causes brain cells to age prematurely. Damage caused by free radicals can lead to worse brain conditions in the long run such as Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and stroke.

Citicoline has shown promise in addressing addiction and other brain disorders

Initially, citicoline was originally used as a prescription drug. One of its first uses was a medication for stroke victims in Japan. Later on, European doctors prescribed citicoline for cognitive problems. Regardless of the country it is used, the brain nutrient has shown potential in addressing different neurological conditions.

A 2014 review of citicoline studies found that it had a positive effect on substance addictions such as cocaine, alcohol and marijuana. Citicoline’s effect on cocaine addiction was further elaborated in a 2015 study involving patients with bipolar disorder. According to the 2015 study, the nutrient reduced addicts’ drug cravings and increased their dopamine levels. Citicoline also helped repair brain cell membranes damaged by cocaine use.

There is no recommended dietary intake for citicoline, but a standard dose ranges from 250 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams taken twice daily. Higher amounts – up to 2,000 milligrams – are recommended to support better cognitive function.

Nowadays, a number of energy drinks also contain citicoline. These “think drinks” are touted to improve memory, focus and concentration. However, the International Society of Sports Nutrition warned that the positive effect of energy drinks come from sugar, caffeine and other ingredients – not from the added citicoline. As such, the citicoline you get from food and supplements are much safer.

You can supplement your body’s citicoline needs with choline from food. According to the National Institutes of Health, beef liver has the highest amount of dietary choline. Three ounces of pan-fried beef liver contains more than 350 milligrams of choline, amounting to 65 percent of the recommended daily value. Other food sources of choline you can eat include eggs, lean beef and soybeans.

Most supplements are well-absorbed and are considered safe for both children and adults. However, you should watch out for side effects such as headache, diarrhea, chest paints, nausea and others. On the other hand, you must not consume extremely high amounts of choline or citicoline as they can cause vomiting and a fishy body odor.

If you are taking the Parkinson’s disease medication levodopa, you should talk to your doctor first before taking citicoline. The brain nutrient enhances levodopa’s effectiveness, so a dosage change may be required.

Include citicoline in your diet today and enjoy the health benefits it provides to your brain!

Visit Nutrients.news to learn more about citicoline and other key nutrients.

Sources:

BeBrainFit.com

ResearchGate.net 1

OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com

BPSPubs.OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com

ResearchGate.net 2

Hindawi.com

TandFOnline.com

AJP.PsychiatryOnline.org

JISSN.BioMedCentral.com

ODS.OD.NIH.gov

RXList.com

LPI.OregonState.edu

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