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CDP Choline Profile

Legal status:

  • CDP Choline is legal for purchase and personal use in the United States and most other countries.

Biological half-life:

  • The half-life of elimination for the choline spike seen with supplemental CDP-choline (1000mg) appears to be fairly delayed, at 66.348+/-8.445 hours.

Common dose:

  • The recommended dosage for CDP Choline is between 250 and 2,000 mg per day.


  • Citicoline has a very low toxicity profile in animals and humans. Clinically, doses of 2000 mg per day have been observed and approved. Minor transient adverse effects are rare and most commonly include stomach pain and diarrhea.


CDP Choline, also known as Citicoline, is an excellent choline source whose memory boosting properties work especially well when taken in conjunction with any of the Racetam compounds. Goes well with Piracetam, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, and Coluracetam.

Supplements for Work carries CDP Choline in 20, 40, and 60 gram resealable pouches for easy storage and convenient weighing.

What happens after you ingest CDP Choline?

After passing through the stomach into the small intestine, most of it is decomposed into cytidine, choline, and phosphate. To varying degrees, these constituent molecules pass through the intestinal wall (the portions that don’t pass through get excreted) and enter the portal vein. In the liver, some of the cytidine enters what’s called the cytidine nucleotide pool and may be incorporated into nucleic acids. Some of the choline enters metabolic pathways that result in the biosynthesis of various substances, including CDP choline (back to square one!), betaine, and phosphatidylcholine.

The rest of the cytidine and choline (along with the reconstituted CDP choline) are released into the general circulation and are absorbed by various tissues of the body, where they undergo further metabolism. When they reach the blood-brain barrier, CDP choline is largely shut out: the brain absorbs very little of it. Cytidine and choline molecules are welcome, however, and once they’re inside the brain’s cells, some of them are again reconstituted to CDP choline (phosphate is always available as a necessary participant). Finally, the CDP choline serves as an intermediate in the synthesis of the vital brain molecules phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine.

Phosphatidylcholine (a lipid, or fatty compound) is the primary component of our cell membranes, upon whose structural integrity the healthy functioning of our cells depends. It is thus an integral part of all of our cells and is crucial for sustaining life. Acetylcholine is one of the brain’s (and body’s) primary neurotransmitters. It is the defining feature of the cholinergic system of neurons, which plays a central role in learning and memory.

Among the hallmarks of brain aging are alterations in cell membranes and dysfunction of the cholinergic system. That’s why the MIT researchers decided to have a close look at CDP choline—that and the fact that previous research had suggested that supplemental CDP choline can enhance memory function in elderly humans, especially those with memory impairment or outright dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Despite some uncertainties about its efficacy, the compound has long been used in Europe to treat cognitive, emotional, and behavioral deficits associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly.

CDP Choline Improves Memory in Elderly Patients

The authors of a meta-analysis of the literature on human clinical trials with CDP choline analyzed 13 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that involved elderly patients suffering from cerebrovascular disorders, senile dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), or normal or abnormal cognitive impairment associated with aging.3 They concluded that there were modest but significant beneficial effects of CDP choline on memory function and behavior in these patients, at least in the short-to-medium-term duration (3 months or less) of the studies in question.

The dosage of CDP choline used in 11 of those studies was 1000 mg/day, and in the other two it was 600 mg/day. By comparison, the daily dosage used in the MIT rat studies was enormous: about 500 mg per kg of body weight. For a 75-kg (165-lb) person, this is equivalent to about 37,500 mg (37.5 g). Another significant difference was that the rats took their CDP choline orally (with their feed), whereas the humans took it orally in only three of the 13 studies; in the other 10, they received it via intravenous or intramuscular injection.

CDP Choline Improves Memory in Older and Impoverished Rats

Thus, it’s nearly impossible to make meaningful comparisons between the rat studies and the human studies. Nonetheless, let’s see what the former revealed. In a nutshell, CDP choline improved the declining memories of the older rats (described as “early-aged” rats, i.e., getting on in months, but not yet old), compared with control rats of the same age that received no CDP choline. The supplement had no effect on the young rats. The protective effect of CDP choline in the older rats was attributed primarily to a presumed increased in phosphatidylcholine synthesis in the brain; the authors explained in detail why they believed that increased acetylcholine synthesis was only a minor factor at best.

The same types of cognitive deficits seen in normal old rats are also seen in young rats that have been exposed to environmentally impoverished conditions (no toys) since the time they were weaned. The MIT researchers therefore used the same experimental technique for their second study (which was defined above). The data showed that the impoverished control rats were memory-impaired in comparison to the impoverished rats that had been given CDP choline for 3 months (which is long-term for rats), and they were also memory-impaired compared with all of the enriched rats, whether the latter had been given CDP choline or not. The supplement had no effect on any of the enriched rats. As in the previous study, the authors concluded that the protective effect of CDP choline in the impoverished rats was due primarily to the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, not acetylcholine.

While the physiological bases for the memory impairments caused by aging and impoverishment have not yet been identified, the fact that supplemental CDP choline benefits both impaired populations suggests that aging and impoverishment may have similar cellular and molecular alterations. Thus, this brings up the possibility that impoverished-condition rats could serve as a useful model for studying the physiological basis of aging.

CDP Choline is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, heal, etc. any disease. Consult your healthcare professional before taking CDP Choline.

Additional information

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