Citicoline

Citicoline is a natural chemical in the body. It seems to play a role in brain health. It's available as a supplement in the U.S. In other parts of the world, citicoline is sold as a drug. It's used to try to help sharpen thinking in people with blood flow problems in the brain.

Why do people take citicoline?

Some people take citicoline supplements for memory loss and other thinking problems that may affect us as we age. Some research backs up these uses.

Studies have found that citicoline supplements may help improve memory in older people. There is also some evidence that citicoline may help with recovery after a stroke. One large study has shown that it does not help regain memory after head injuries.

Other studies suggest that citicoline supplements may help with Alzheimer's disease, glaucoma, and some symptoms of Parkinson's disease. But we need more research to be sure.

The best doses of citicoline have not been set for any condition. Quality and ingredients in supplements may vary widely. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.

Some studies have used doses of 1000 mg to 2000 mg a day. Ask your health care provider for advice.

Can you get citicoline naturally from foods?

Foods are not a good source of citicoline.

What are the risks?

Tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking, even if they’re natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.

  • Side effects. Citicoline is usually well-tolerated but may cause nausea and diarrhea.
  • Risks. Children, and women who are pregnant or breast feeding, should avoid using citicoline. We do not know if citicoline is safe for these groups.
  • Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using any supplements.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 17, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

Brigham and Women's Hospital: "Citicoline Supplement Doesn't Help Treat Brain Injury, Study Finds."

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: "Citicoline."

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Citicoline."

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