Citicoline Review (UPDATED 2017): Don't Buy Before You Read This!
What is it?
Citicoline is a supplement from Jarrow Formulas that is designed to improve users’ memory and mental performance. It stimulates the choline production process in the brain, which is a valuable nootropic chemical.
The advertising for Citicoline says that it can help reduce the symptoms of ADD, and that it is invaluable for helping people recover from strokes and other forms of brain trauma. Citicoline is also an antioxidant that plays a role in slowing the decline of mental and neurological function.
The nootropic supplement that has demonstrated the most usefulness for improving mental output is called Memotenz. It’s a ginkgo and bacopa monnieri based blend that also utilizes other herbs and amino acids to create their potent, well-rounded blend. Click here to learn more about the Memotenz manufacturing process.
Citicoline Ingredients and Side Effects
Citicoline: A prodrug for the neurotransmitter choline and the nucleotide uridine that is manufactured naturally in the body, or can be taken in supplement form. Citicoline is also known by a number of different brand names including Cognizin, Synapsine, and Trausan.
Citicoline is an important part of the Kennedy cycle, the process that turns citicoline into choline and then into phosphatidylcholine, a key neurotransmitter and component of the membranes of our body’s cells. These chemicals are also needed for proper signaling and communication between cells, and are also a part of the body’s liver repair and methylation processes.
Citicoline has been used as part of the treatment for a number of different conditions including:
- Stroke prevention and recovery
Citicoline, and in particular its derivative choline, are also key parts of the memory and cognition process, which is why they are used so commonly in daily nootropic supplements. A basic level of choline is needed in order for your brain to be able to function properly and recall and store information normally.
Citicoline and choline are also considered neuroprotectants, helping prevent and damage to the brain’s neural wiring. They have an anti-oxidant effect on the synapses, helping prevent the damage that oxidation causes to the brain over time.
The choline production process slows as we age, and our brains start naturally producing less and less, which can lead to symptoms of cognitive decline including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and inability to solve basic problems. This may necessitate choline supplementation in order to maintain normal mental functionality.
As useful as citicoline is, however, it should not be considered a mental performance “booster,” as higher levels of citicoline do not necessarily translate to higher levels of mental performance. Most people need only the small amount of citicoline that the body manufactures naturally in order to function properly and will not see any benefit to excessive citicoline consumption.
Citicoline is best when taken for neuroprotection and long-term mental health. It will not improve anyone’s study, work, or creative output unless that individual has an acute citicoline deficiency, which is generally considered unlikely.
Citicoline is well tolerated in most people, although it has been shown to lead to side effects in some rare cases. These side effects may potentially include:
- Fluctuations in blood pressure
Citicoline has a low toxicity profile of up to 2000 mg per day, well above the 250mg contained in the Jarrow brand Citicoline. It is also considered non-carcinogenic, non-mutagenic, and non-allergenic.
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Citicoline Quality of Ingredients
Whether or not any given user finds Citicoline to be useful for them depends entirely on the expectations that they have for its effects.
Unfortunately, Citicoline is often marketed by supplements manufacturers as a potent nootropic aid that can radically increase your mental performance in a number of ways, and this is just not the case. Choline is a crucial part of the brain’s ability to function normally, however it is only beneficial up to a point.
Most people reach their natural choline baseline without ever needing to seek outside supplementation. It is possible, however, that older people, vegans, and individuals that have certain types of genetic disorders will see benefits from choline supplementation.
Users could reasonably take Citicoline or choline supplements all of their lives and never know if it was effective for them or not. In the long run their mental performance will probably age better than if they were not taking the supplements, however most individuals will have no way of measuring this.
Citicoline should not be counted on as a study drug or to improve work performance. It will not help users stay awake, think faster or more accurately, or lengthen attention span and improve focus.
Click here to see how the best nootropic supplements on the market today measure up when compared head-to-head.
The Price and Quality of Citicoline
Jarrow sells their Citicoline supplement through their own website, however it tends to be more expensive there than it is through some of the independent retailers that carry it. As of the date of this article’s publication, these are the prices for Citicoline on Amazon:
- 1, 60-count bottle of Citicoline capsules: $18.99
- 1, 120-count bottle of Citicoline capsules: $32.99
This is less expensive than the majority of daily nootropic supplements, however that is reasonable given the limited ingredients list of Citicoline. Most users will be better served by pairing Citicoline with a more effective nootropic supplement, however that is not particularly cost-efficient and may not be an option financially for all users.
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Business of Citicoline
Citicoline is one of the supplements manufactured by Jarrow Formulas, Inc. Jarrow was founded in Germany in 1977 and opened a US office in 2005. They list their contact information on their website as:
Phone Number: (310) 204-6936
Address: 1824 ½ S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Jarrow Formulas has been involved in a prolonged legal battle with the FDA over the claims that they are and are not allowed to make on their labels and in their promotional materials. The FDA has told Jarrow that they are not allowed to make certain definitive statements about their products that may be misleading, and in response Jarrow is suing the FDA to change those rulings.
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Customer Opinions of Citicoline
There are quite a few positive reviews of Citicoline from users that have had strokes, brain injuries, and other traumatic events. The reviews from normal, healthy users, however, tended to be more like these responses from customers found online:
“Woah – I should’ve done my research before taking this stuff. I suffer from depression but it was mostly under control… and then I took Citicoline. I had a major episode and spent a week in psych.”
“I don’t even remember what this stuff was SUPPOSED to do, but here’s a partial list of what it DID do: I had severe insomnia, I was shaky and jittery, and I don’t even know how this is possible, but I had both diarrhea and constipation at the same time.”
“Took this stuff for two weeks and never noticed a difference… and then my hair started falling out. That was not the difference I was looking for. I stopped taking it, but the hair never grew back.”
There was a surprising quantity of complaints of side effects for a supplement with just one ingredient that is supposedly well tolerated. In the past, less reputable supplements manufacturers have used unlisted ingredients in their supplements, ingredients that were low quality or not fresh, or had flaws in their manufacturing process that accounted for the issues, however it would be irresponsible to speculate about why that is with Jarrow’s Citicoline.
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Conclusion – Does Citicoline Work?
Choline is an important chemical in the brain that’s needed for a number of critical mental functions. It is also a valuable neuroprotectant that can help the brain lose less of its ability over time. Citicoline can help the brain manufacture choline, keeping it functioning at its baseline for longer.
Citicoline is not an effective nootropic supplement. Most healthy adults with functional brain chemistry will not notice any kind of improvement in their thinking and memory abilities.
In general Citicoline supplements should be safe for all users, however there were an unusually high frequency of reports of side effects reported for the Jarrow brand. It is not known the reason for this, however users should be aware that choline and other choline byproducts are frequently available from other manufacturers that have a better reputation with their clientele.
The top mental performance booster on the market is Memotenz. Memotenz is a nootropic aid that has shown an ability to increase users’ brain function by a number of different metrics.
It has increased users’ memory function, attention span, and thinking speed while also helping to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Click here to read more about how Memotenz developed their remarkable formula.