citicoline (CDP choline)


Product name citicoline (CDP choline)
Other names Cytidine Diphosphocholine, Cytidine diphosphate choline, cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine,citicoline sodium
CAS number 987-78-0, 33818-15-4(sodium form)
Molecular formula C14H27N4O11P2+
Molecular weight 489.332
Appearance/color White crystalloid powder
Benefits Brain and Memory Support
dosage 500-2,000 mg in two divided doses

What is citicoline?

Citicoline, as a nootropic that passes through the blood-brain barrier, is an intermediate in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (aka PC), and also a good choline source in the biosynthesis of the acetylcholine, the most common neurotransmitter located in both the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system.

Citicoline, as a cognitive enhancer, has many other names such as Cytidine Diphosphocholine, cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine, and Cytidine diphosphate choline, abbreviated as CDP choine. The CAS of Citicoline (CDP-Choline) is 987-78-0 while Citicoline Sodium with CAS 33818-15-4. Citicoline are often in the form of citicoline sodium since the sodium form of citicoline has better solubility in blood and water. That’s’ why so many pharmaceutical ingredients are stored and used in the sodium form.

Mechanism of action of citicoline

How does citicoline work? The mode of action of CDP choline is complicated, but it can be explained in two ways: increase choline content and supply phospholipids.

In the first place, citicoline is an active bioavailable choline quickly breaking down within the liver and gut to free choline and cytidine which are easily absorbed and used as raw materials for phosphatidylcholine synthesis. Choline acts as a precursor to the acetylcholine which activates muscles and as a major neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system. With the increase of acetylcholine in the body, a number of the cognitive related benefits are enhanced due to the CDP Choline supplementation.

In addition, citicoline also supplies phospholipids in the process. Phospholipids account for a large percentage of the cell membranes of neurons and brain tissue. As we have mentioned before that, citicoline is the precursor of phosphatidylcholine. In fact, phosphatidylcholine actually makes up approximately 30 percent of all the grey matter tissue within the brain. Therefore, citicoline is engaged in the formation of new tissues used in the cell membranes, which helps neurons and other brain cells to communicate better with one another, allowing all of your cognitive processes to run much more efficiently.

Comparison of citicoline and alpha GPC

Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) and citicoline (CDP choline) are the two most important forms of choline popular used in dietary supplement formulas and drugs, Both are closed related with phosphatidylcholine (PC): citicoline is the precursor of PC while alpha GPC is a metabolite or byproduct of phosphatidylcholine. Both alpha GPC and citicoline are able to raise brain level of choline, increases AhCE, helps in dementia, etc. However, many of our clients are curious which is better, alpha GPC or citicoline? As a professional manufacturer and marketer of these two ingredients, we will explain their similarities and differences in three aspects: cost, potency, and method of action.

1.Potency of Memory Enhancement – citicoline vs. Alpha-GPC

Alpha GPC is regarded as the most effective choline supplement on the market since it utilizes a different pathway to increase acetylcholine within the brain. Studies show that Alpha GPC has the highest rate of transport across the blood-brain barrier, and increases cognitive function more than citicoline.

In addition, Alpha GPC also contains the highest concentration of choline, with 40% by weight, while citicoline only offer 18% of choline by volume. Alpha-GPC has around 40% of the choline that we need to create acetylcholine, which is why dosing is typically only around 200 mg while citicoline is 300 mg or so.

2.Citicoline vs. Alpha GPC Cost

Citicoline is usually in the form of citicoline sodium, and the cost is about USD300/KG to 400/kg while there are more specifications for alpha GPC, 50% and 99% of alpha GPC are in powder form while 85% alpha GPC is in liquid form. And the bulk price for citicoline sodium and alpha GPC 99% is more or less the same, while 50% of alpha GPC is about half of that. Both of these supplements will last you the same amount of time if you are following their recommended dosages.

3. Comparison on the mechanism of action
Citicoline functions as an intermediate to acetylcholine, alpha GPC works as a synthetic precursor to acetylcholine. By freeing up choline for synthesis, citicoline aims to increase acetylcholine levels within the body. It further helps in restoring phospholipid levels that eventually become depleted. Citicoline offers a variety of phospholipid membrane advantages that the A-GPC option might not provide. On the contrary, alpha GPC works by mimicking choline effects for producing acetylcholine. In fact, alpha GPC is deemed more effective than choline at acetylcholine conversion because of its exceptional chemical properties

The unique properties of citicoline cause it to affect the functioning of the dopamine transporter (DAT) while influencing dopamine release. Unlike alpha GPC, citicoline may positively affect dopaminergic neurons, which eventually leads to improvements in attention and focus.

Alpha GPC is known to improve cognitive function in individuals with damaged cholinergic systems like brain trauma sufferers or Alzheimer’s patients. Moreover, this nootropic triggers the release of essential human growth releasing hormones that further leads to natural HGH release. Natural human growth hormone plays an important role in repairing body tissue while stimulating the immune system.

One reason to go with Alpha GPC over citicoline is if you’re breastfeeding. CDP Choline is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, whereas Alpha GPC does not have that warning label. In fact, Alpha GPC is a component in natural breast milk and some researchers have theorized it may lead to better brain function in breastfed babies.

Benefits of taking citicoline
After the explanations above, we are able to see that citicoline is good to enhance cognitive and memory functions. Brain levels of key neurotransmitters are increased and citicoline is an intermediate for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine which is a component of brain issue.

Alleviate memory impairment caused by the environment.
Enhance focus.
Improve overall memory.
Improve mood.
Reduce anxiety.