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.

Older Woman Sitting in Thought

Image by Irina Polonina / Stocksy

March 10, 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 by 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


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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


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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 improves cognitive function in patients with MCI.

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.


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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.