Citicoline is yet another hugely beneficial amino acid for the Alzheimer-Dementia challenged brain. The great thing about amino acids is that they are the fundamental building blocks of our body and its needs. And, they are hugely beneficial, while posing the least and nominal “risks.”
What is an amino acid, anyway? They are organic compounds… composed predominantly of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. The basic building blocks of all life and things around us. They are the building blocks of proteins in our body. You may see on some food labels, contains 8 essential amino acids.
But, on top of being the building blocks of protein, many of them also play a role in neurotransmitters– which are a key component to brain function. You can usually recognize an amino acid by its name. Most of them end in INE.. taurINE, glutamINE, citicholINE.
SO, what is Citicoline?
Sometimes known as CDP coline, citicoline is a psycho-stimulant. No, this does not mean it makes you crazy, or will give you a wild acid trip. Psycho, while it is often and socially used to refer to being crazy… is simply a term that defines things related to the mind. A psychotic break, for example.. is a breakdown of the psyche.. the mind. So, what does psycho-stimulant mean? In regards to citicoline and Alzheimer / Dementia…:
First, a mini neuro-biology lesson (this is not my area of expertise, but this should make sense for the lay reader). The brain likes to use choline.. to make acetylcholine. What that means, and what it does doesn’t matter here. What does matter is that the brain is taking choline that the brain ALSO needs to create phosphatidylcholine (again, don’t worry about what this means). And when supplies are LOW in the brain… the brain will look around for other sources…
And it finds this other source in neuronal membranes: the neurons, or brain cells., THAT is what is important to understand… SO, by taking a supplement of citicoline, it can make more choline available for the brain.
Then the brain won’t have to scavenge and “steal” from one source to use in another location. AND, if there is enough to go around… perhaps the brain begins to replace and repair the neurons that have been getting stripped. We know that the brain can… and like any system, WANTS to repair itself… it just needs the tools and nutrients, to be able to do this.
Citicoline is the active ingredient in many of the OTC (over the counter) products like cognizine These products may well contain other beneficial ingredients… but the essential base, is often citicoline or aceytlcholine.
SO- what does it DO?
Citicoline has been shown to inhibit brain cell death and neuro-degeneration, and INCREASE neuroplasticity. Okay- another new word there. Neuroplasticity- means the brain can reorganise information and make new neural connections. We KNOW the brain has the capacity to do this. Somehow, for whatever various complex causes… the Alzheimer brain does not do this well or successfully.
HOW does it work?
Citicoline is a naturally occurring substance. And it is needed to help the body and brain create the fats that form the membranes around our cells. Yes- fat DOES have purposes and benefits! Some studies shows that citicoline may help repair damage from injured ( or weak?) blood vessels, and that it may boost the chemicals that help nerve cells ( brain cells) communicate with each other. It may also raise dopamine levels ( feel-good happy chemicals) in the central nervous system (including the brain). It has also been shown to increase glucose metabolism- which is a major issue with Alzheimer-Dementia brain function. It has also been shown to improve cerebral blood flow and prevent inflammation.
Studies are definitely showing that citicoline can improve memory performance, and may be of particular benefit for those dealing with vascular dementia.
In Dementia-induced rats, citicoline counteracted neuronal degeneration and improved memory retention.
Citicoline is water soluble, and very highly bio-available (means the body absorbs and utilises it well). Taking 500 mg daily doses (or as manufacturer or natural health practitioner recommends)… can certainly be easily incorporated into a daily protocol. Doses as high as 2,000 mg have been used without causing issues.. but as with any new protocol, it is always best to start with low doses and see the affects. Also, if 500 mg dose works great.. that does not necessarily mean more would be better.
Is this the whole answer. Absolutely not. Unfortunately. It would be great if there was a single magic bullet or pill. But reversing and repairing Alzheimer and Dementia is a complex and multi-layered puzzle. But adding simple and minimum-risk supplements like citicoline can certainly be part of a natural strategy.
I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education. Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques. I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book