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Citicoline: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, and More!

By Dr. Ramon Velazquez Ph.D. | |

Mind Lab Pro®
Citicoline 250 mg
as Cognizin®

Citicoline is a brain-energizer linked to multiple cognition-enhancing and neuroregenerative effects in human research, including support for focus, recall, attention and overall brain health.* It is easily one of the best nootropics in existence, which is why it is a key ingredient in Mind Lab Pro.

What Is Citicoline?

Citicoline, also klnown as cytidine-5-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) is a naturally occuring substance in the human brain. It is a compound made up of two substances, cytidine and choline. Both of these substances are implicated in enhanced cognitive function and improved brain health; more on this later!

There is actually a distinction between Citicoline and CDP-Choline. When physicians adminster the compound as a therapy (e.g. to help with brain injury recovery), it is called Citicoline. When produced naturally in the brain, it is CDP-Choline. But the two compounds are one and the same thing.

Citicoline belongs to a class of compounds called cholinergics, which simply refers to compounds which confer choline to the brain. Cholinergics are typically more complex molecules than straight choline, and they usually have significanrtly higher bioavailability and a better ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Citicoline is easily the most bioavailable and potent of the cholinergics typically used in nootropics today. It confers choline more readily than Alpha-GPC, for instance, while also providing more peripheral benefits associated with cytidine supplementation.

So what are the benefits of Citicoline supplementation exactly?

Benefits of Citicoline

We'll now go through some of the main beenfits of Citicoline supplementation. Citicoline's benefits can be broadly placed into two categories: brain health support, and nootropic cognitive enhancement.

Brain Support

  • Optimizes brain cells' mitochondria for healthy energy metabolism.*
  • Raises brain levels of neural building-block phosphatidycholine.*
  • Supports brain chemicals acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine.*
  • Helps synthesize and repair brain cell membranes and DNA.*
  • Protects brain cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and aging.*
  • May help protect the brain from damage during traumatic brain injuries.

Nootropic Effects

  • Energizes brain cells for peak cognitive performance without the crash of stimulants.*
  • Enhances focus, attention, information processing, and recall.*
  • Supports overall brain health and cognitive function.*
  • May help to improve mild age-related memory concerns.*

Mind Lab Pro®'s Citicoline as Cognizin®

  • Cognizin® is superior-quality branded Citicoline made with a patented fermentation process that yields a highly stable, water-soluble nootropic.
  • Ultra-pure: Cognizin® is 99%+ pure citicoline verified by precision High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) testing.
  • Cognizin® has been shown in human research to increase ATP brain energy by 13.6% and accelerate brain cell membrane formation by 26%.

Why Mind Lab Pro® includes Cognizin® Citicoline

Peak mental performance and regenerative brain processes consume a tremendous amount of energy. Ultimately, although it only makes up 2% of bodyweight, the brain consumes 20% of the body's total energy pool.1

When brain energy levels are low, brain fog and memory issues may manifest while risk for degenerative brain concerns rises.2

  • Mind Lab Pro®'s Cognizin® Citicoline optimizes brainpower at a cellular level while nourishing the brain with building block neuronutrients  uniquely supporting the healthy brain metabolism, repair, maintenance and regeneration that are crucial for sharp overall cognition.

With additional support for neurotransmitters, brain circulation and brain defenses, Citicoline is the driving-force ingredient of Mind Lab Pro®’s 100% Brainpower effects: A single nootropic that boosts multiple pathways to optimize mental performance and whole-brain health.

Human research has linked Citicoline, especially in premium Cognizin® form, to improvements in mental energy, memory, attention, reaction time, concentration and focus.3,4,5

How Citicoline Works For Brain Health and Mental Performance

Brain Energy

Citicoline (also called Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) helps the brain generate electrical impulses by supporting proper function of mitochondria: the powerhouses that generate cell energy.6 Healthy mitochondrial function results in higher levels of ATP energy in brain cells, which in turn powers the demanding tasks of higher-order cognition and brain regeneration.

One human research study found that Mind Lab Pro®'s Cognizin® Citicoline increased frontal lobe brain energy levels by 13.6%.7

Brain Regeneration

In addition to energizing brain regeneration, Citicoline promotes formation and healthy function of brain cell membranes as a cholinergic compound that raises brain levels of phosphatidylcholine.

Phosphatidylcholine is one of the phospholipid building block compounds that makes up about 30% of all brain tissue.

Mind Lab Pro®'s Cognizin® citicoline has been shown to stimulate phospholipid synthesis and turnover, reflecting brain renewal and leading researchers to suggest Cognizin® may help to reverse certain age-related changes to the brain.8 Another human study suggested Cognizin® may accelerate new brain cell formation by as much as 26%.7


Citicoline helps to form acetylcholine, which is the brain's most important executive neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine is largely responsible for the function of working memory, learning and information processing, as well as muscle contraction and speech.

Since acetylcholine levels decline with age, and low acetylcholine is linked to brain degeneration, researchers have suggested that Citicoline may be a useful potential therapy for age-related cognitive decline.9

Citicoline may also support dopamine and norepinephrine production, which are associated with more immediate benefits for mood and performance-driven cognition.10

Brain Circulation

Citicoline in supplement form has been suggested to promote healthy cerebral circulation.11 In one study of patients with brain degeneration and memory problems, left temporal cerebral blood flow normalized after supplementation with citicoline.12

Brain Protection

Like other brain-protective nootropic supplements, Citicoline supplies antioxidant activity that helps to neutralize the brain cell-damaging effects of toxic free radicals.13 Citicoline adds another level of neuroprotective activity that may be even more important: It stimulates synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, which helps to strengthen brain cell membranes and enhance neural repair.14

Mind Lab Pro® Stack Strategy: Citicoline + Phosphatidylserine (PS) for 2X Phospholipid Support

Important for brain health and cognitive function, Phospholipids are the most abundant building blocks used to form new brain cell membranes. Mind Lab Pro® supports neurogenesis by naturally optimizing brain phospholipids via two unique pathways:

  1. Mind Lab Pro®'s Cognizin® Citicoline indirectly raises brain levels of phospholipids by optimizing natural synthesis of phosphatidylcholine;
  2. Mind Lab Pro®'s Sharp-PS® Green directly nourishes the brain by supplying the phospholipid phosphatidylserine.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Citicoline Dosage: How much should you take?

How much Citicoline should you take per day?

The dose of Citicoline that you use ultimately depends on what you are looking to get out of the nootropic.

For serious cases of cognitive decline, brain injury, or other medical conditions, the usual daily therapeutic dosage of citicoline in humans is 500–2,000 mg. In other words, 7–28 mg/kg of Citicoline per day for a person of average bodyweight (70 kg).

But for day-to-day cognitive enhancement, you don't need to use anywhere near this much Citicoline. The clinical evidence suggests that as little as 150mg of Citicoline per day is sufficient to drastically improve focus, learning, and information processing speeds.

There is a dose-dependent relationship up to around 250mg per day. Beyond that point, larger doses of Citicoline do not seem to confer any extra benefits to otherwise healthy people.

Can you take Citicoline everyday?

Is it safe to take Citicoline everyday?

Not only is it safe to take Citicoline everyday, but you should take Citicoline on a daily basis. Taking Citicoline daily produces significantly greater benefits than taking it infrequently.

Citicoline has multiple different mechanisms of action. One of these is increased brain cell maintenance and development via the donation of cytidine. Citicoline supplementation promotes more efficient brain cell development and maintenance. Long-term, daily Citicoline use has been found to have significant benefits over using it on an infrequent basis due to overall better brain cell development and health.

Citicoline also dramatically improves brain cell mitochondria function. This doesn't have a particularly profound effect on your cognitive function when taken as a one-off nootropic supplement. But when used every day, Citicoline produces a significant, noticeable, almost permanent increase in brain energy levels.


  1. Jäger et al. Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007; 4:
  2. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cells/membranes/
  3. Vance JE. Thematic Review Series: Glycerolipids. Phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine in mammalian cells: two metabolically related aminophospholipids. July 2008 The Journal of Lipid Research, 49, 1377-1387]
  4. Hanahan DJ, Nelson DR. Phospholipids as dynamic participants in biological processes. J Lipid Res. 1984;25:1528–1535.
  5. Morell P, Quarles RH. Characteristic Composition of Myelin. Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects. 6th edition. 1999
  6. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-786.
  7. Wells K, et al. Neural membrane phospholipids in alzheimer disease. Neurochemical Research. November 1995, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 1329–1333
  8. De Simone R, Ajmone-Cat MA, Tirassa P, Minghetti L. Apoptotic PC12 Cells Exposing Phosphatidylserine Promote the Production of Anti-Inflammatory and Neuroprotective Molecules by Microglial Cells. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2003 Feb;62(2):208-16
  9. Schlegel RA, Williamson P. Phosphatidylserine, a death knell. Cell Death Differ. 2001 Jun;8(6):551-63.
  10. Monteleone P, Beinat L, Tanzillo C, Maj M, Kemali D. Effects of Phosphatidylserine on the Neuroendocrine Response to Physical Stress in Humans. Neuroendocrinology. 1990;52:243–248.
  11. Benton D, Donohoe RT, Sillance B, Nabb S. The Influence of Phosphatidylserine Supplementation on Mood and Heart Rate when Faced with an Acute Stressor. Nutr Neurosci. 2001;4:169–178.
  12. Klinkhammer P. Effect of Phosphatidylserine on Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Alzheimer's Disease. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 1990;1:197–201
  13. Pepeu G, Spignoli G. Nootropic drugs and brain cholinergic mechanisms. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1989;13 Suppl:S77-88.
  14. Jäger R, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine on golf performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Dec 4;4:23.
  15. Kingsley M, Miller M, Kilduff LP, McEneny J, Benton D. Effects of phosphatidylserine on exercise capacity during cycling in active males. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38:64–71.
  16. Parisi A, et al. Effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Mar;50(1):57-63.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article is an opinion and explanation of current research given by the author. It is not an expression of a medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on as such.

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