Uridine is a nucleoside (a component of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA) that is found ubiquitously in nature. Uridine is produced in our own bodies and serves many critical roles in the brain. It is commonly supplemented for its unique benefits to brain function, which include constructing new neuronal structures and long-term upregulation of dopamine.
Uridine is not considered to be an essential nutrient since it is produced in our own bodies, however when supplemented it is able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and confer additional benefits12https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1138930. Therefore, it is of considerable interest in the nootropics and medical community alike.
Uridine has been demonstrated to cause improvements in learning and memory1https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S10747427030002482https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fj.08-112425, which includes increased spatial short term memory, recognition, recall, attention, and executive functions17https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432687.
Many of the memory and learning improvements from uridine likely come from its ability to raise acetylcholine levels through indirect processes in the brain3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852434/?tool=pubmed. Additionally, uridine supplementation has also been shown to stimulate ATP release8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15654852/.
One of the most promising features of uridine is its ability to upregulate dopamine release over the long-term. It accomplishes this by repairing dopamine functionality and preventing overstimulation5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/83720967https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/009130579500169W21https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20504471/. It’s been shown to enhance potassium-invoked dopamine release, with one study showing that average dopamine levels were increased by 20.5%18https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16055952 after 1 and 6 weeks of supplementation.
Uridine has also been shown to reliably reduce depressive symptoms4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1570534919https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080753/22https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18540779, which are is likely due to the enhanced dopamine release.
Another very promising feature of uridine is its ability to enhance cellular function and construct new synapses between the neurons, which is called synaptogenesis. Uridine supplementation has been shown to increase neurite outgrowth by 182+/- 25% and 221+/- 34%18https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16055952 and increase the number of dendtric spines and hippoocampal neurons13https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21091953.
When uridine is combined with DHA and choline, it has an even more profound effect on cellular function in the brain. Numerous studies have demonstrated that this combination can significantly increase synaptogenesis in the brain9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1863199410https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1926295011https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/19339414https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1940069815https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1663114316https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/, with antidepressant effects that are stronger than uridine by itself.
Uridine is quite a promising drug and shows a lot of potential, and is especially powerful when used in combination with DHA-rich fish oil and a choline source (such as Alpha-GPC).
Where to Purchase Uridine
Uridine may be purchased at Nootropics Depot.
I recommend Nootropics Depot because they have been around for a long time and have maintained a solid reputation. They have excellent quality control metrics: they do in-house testing as well as independent 3rd-party testing, and they have certificates of analysis available for all of their products.
Uridine comes in two different forms:
Uridine Monophopshate (UMP) – a water-soluble form that is cheaper. Can be taken orally, but should be taken sublingually (under the tongue) for maximal absorption.
Triacetyluridine (TAU) – a fat-soluble form that is four to seven times stronger than UMP when taken orally.
If taking UMP, it is recommended to start out with about 150-200mg per day, and work your way up as you determine the optimal dose for yourself. Too little uridine and you are unlikely to notice any effects, but too much and you may feel emotionally blunting and dullness.
If taking TAU, a a good starting dose is around 25mg, and the same rule applies.