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Citicoline Improves Cognitive Function In Patients With Dementia, MCI & More

Morgan Chamberlain
June 21, 2023
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
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Image by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy
June 21, 2023

While we've reported on the wide range of brain benefits that citicoline offers, this neuronutrient and its impressive cognitive longevity support are still somewhat unknown to most people. A recent review published by Neuroscience Insights outlines just how helpful this bioactive can be in improving cognitive function, memory, and behavior1 for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to cerebrovascular disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia

What is citicoline?

Citicoline is an ingredient form of cytidine diphosphate-choline (aka CDP-choline). This well-studied bioactive has tremendous benefits in the realm of cognitive health and well-being.

Citicoline helps:

  • Promote the synthesis of structural phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine), which help maintain the integrity of neuronal cell membranes
  • Modulate healthy levels of several neurotransmitters—including dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, and norepinephrine
  • Protect the brain from neuroinflammation caused by the production of reactive oxygen species
  • Enhance brain metabolism by increasing ATP (aka cellular energy)
  • Support mitochondrial health

From a general health standpoint, citicoline has been found to help maintain cognitive function during normal brain aging. Thanks to its myriad actions in the brain, citicoline also has a beneficial effect on a number of neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular, and chronic cerebral conditions—including dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries. 

How citicoline supports cognitive function

The review finds that citicoline shows consistent improvement of cognitive function in individuals with MCI (especially those with vascular origin), including improvements in cognitive test performance and mental functions—e.g., memory, concentration, counting, and visual-motor coordination. 

Citicoline has been shown to improve both memory and behavior in patients with chronic cerebral disorders (such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease) and cognitive deficits linked to cerebrovascular disorders (such as stroke and aneurysms). In Parkinson's patients, the bioactive has even demonstrated significant improvements in cognitive status, akinesia, tremor, speech, and handwriting. 

Simply put, citicoline has clinically backed benefits in enhancing cognitive function and longevity for folks with healthy brains and individuals that struggle with mild cognitive impairment and other brain health concerns.

How to increase your citicoline intake & protect your brain

While your liver produces some choline, it's not enough to reap the brain health benefits listed above. Instead, you need to make sure you're getting adequate choline from food (hint: most Americans don't) and supplementation (i.e., in citicoline form). 

Citicoline can be found in single-ingredient supplements or combined with other nootropic ingredients. To amplify the benefits of this brain-healthy bioactive, be sure to consume 500 milligrams daily (i.e., citicoline's full-potency, efficacious doses). You can find supplements that meet this golden standard in mindbodygreen's memory supplement buying guide

The takeaway

Citicoline is a beneficial bioactive for supporting a healthy brain—especially for folks with mild cognitive impairment caused by dementia, Parkinson's, and other neurocognitive disorders and diseases. To optimize your cognitive function, be sure to consume 500 milligrams of citicoline daily.

Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.