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Citicoline (cytidine diphosphate-choline, also called CDP-Choline), is a drug that is supplemented to raise levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Citicoline is one of the most effective and well-researched nootropics available, and is a capable nootropic drug on its own right.
Citicoline has been shown to elevate acetylcholine synthesis5www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01616412.1995.11740327 and increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17171187. However, in addition to promoting the acute release of dopamine and norepinephrine, citicoline also increases the density of their corresponding receptors with chronic use4www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1908237/.
In one study, mice were given citicoline doses at 500mg/kg over the course of seven months. At the end, it was discovered that their D2 dopamine receptor densities were increased by 18%, while muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) were increased 17%4www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1908237/. The control group, by contrast, actually had a decrease of these same receptors by 28% and 14% respectively, which demonstrates that citicoline has quite a significant effect.
Citicoline has been shown to be neuroprotective, and to improve learning and memory performance3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17171187. It has also been shown to potentiate neuroplastic mechanisms3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17171187, which means it strengthens the brains ability to form synapses. This ability of citicoline to strengthen neuroplasticity is actually quite significant this can lead to beneficial changes in the functioning of the brain over the long-term.
Overall citicoline is an effective nootropic on it’s own, especially for improving learning, memory, and brain function. It’s ability to increase the density of dopamine and acetylcholine receptors and improve neuroplasticity demonstrates is quite promosing and a rare quality among nootropics. It is also extremely well-tolerated and very non-toxic.
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Citicoline Dosage Information
A standard dose is about 500-2000mg, taken once or twice daily. Start with 500mg a day and increase the dosage if you do not feel much of an effect. There are very few side effects associated with citicoline, the most common being the potential for GI discomfort.