Citicoline supplementation improves both mental performance and mood

Thinking capsule

An amazing new study just came out about the power of citicoline. And anyone concerned about preserving their memory–in other words, everyone–should take note.

Citicoline is a transition molecule that comes from your body’s conversion of choline to phosphatidyl choline. I’ve actually been recommending it for memory enhancement for years.

And it’s a good thing my patients have been listening. Because as it turns out, this supplement could be a safe and effective treatment for mild vascular cognitive impairment. (That is, memory decline that’s linked to blood vessel issues–like mini-strokes or micro-bleeds, for example.)

Since there are many different types of brain disorders and subsequent memory issues, the types of patients participating in this study are important. In this case, researchers looked at 349 patients from six different regions in Italy.

All of them were older than 64, and had memory complaints as well as evidence of vascular lesions–a fancy term for blood vessel defects. None of them had probable Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet after nine months of treatment with citicoline, participants showed significantly better memory scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)–a questionnaire we administer to patients to assess memory and mood.

Their untreated counterparts didn’t enjoy the same benefit. In fact, they showed substantial declines in MMSE scores at the end of the study.

In a nutshell, this natural compound might be able to put the brakes on at least one type of cognitive decline. And the researchers speculate that the protective effect on patients’ brains would build over time.

This is pretty exciting news. Especially since this study’s participants only took 500 mg of citicoline twice a day–a fairly small dosage.

And yet, not a peep. I don’t know about any of you, but I most certainly didn’t see this story making headlines on every media outlet across the globe.

In fact, a previous study from 2011 showed very similar results to the one I just shared. Again…I didn’t hear a thing about it.

If citicoline were a drug, however, you can rest assured that things would be different.

In that case, it would be touted as the best thing since sliced bread. (Let’s not go there.) And the authorities would probably be campaigning to have it added to the water supply.

Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to get this kind of news from me. But that’s not even what bugs me the most.

What bugs me the most is that these studies revealed a clear association between citicoline supplementation and improvements in both mental performance and mood. (Not to mention few, if any, side effects.) Yet none of the researchers want to make any recommendations.

So I will. If you’re concerned with brain health, you should start taking citicoline today.

“Effectiveness and safety of citicoline in mild vascular cognitive impairment: the IDEALE study.” Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:131-7. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S38420. Epub 2013 Feb 5.