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NMU 240 – CDP-choline Supplementation Improves Memory in 50–85-year-old Subjects

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 240 (April 27, 2022)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: CDP-choline Supplementation Improves Memory in 50–85-year-old Subjects

Source: J Nutrition (2021)


I’m a big fan of the nutritional supplement known as CDP-choline (Citicoline), as studies have shown that it can help reverse early-stage memory loss, improve concussion management, and improve symptoms in some cases of Parkinson’s disease. A 2021 study published in the journal Nutrition has further substantiated the benefit of supplementing with CDP-choline after the age of 55 to help prevent and reverse memory loss in subjects diagnosed with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI). In this study, a total of 100 healthy men and women with age-associated memory loss, ages 50-85 years old, participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Half the subjects were randomly selected to ingest a 500 mg supplement of CDP-choline each day for 12 weeks and the placebo group ingested an identical-looking pill for the same12-week period. The results showed that after 12 weeks, compared to the placebo group, the subjects ingesting the CDP-choline supplement showed significantly greater improvements in episodic memory and composite memory. Episodic memory means the ability to recall and mentally re-experience specific episodes from one’s past and to give them context. Composite memory means the ability for verbal learning, working memory and, the ability to sequence auditory information.  The researchers concluded, “dietary supplementation of citicoline for 12-wk improved overall memory performance, especially episodic memory, in healthy older males and females with AAMI. The findings suggest that regular consumption of citicoline may be safe and potentially beneficial against memory loss due to aging.”

I couldn’t agree more with their conclusion. After age 55 the transporter that pumps choline into the brain from the bloodstream becomes very sluggish, which results in lower concentrations of brain levels of choline. This is very problematic as the brain needs choline to make the memory chemical (neurotransmitter) acetylcholine. So, as we age the brain slowly runs out of acetylcholine and our memory becomes impaired. CDP-choline is one of the few medicinal agents that has been shown to increase brain choline and acetylcholine levels and improve memory function in older, as well as younger individuals (people in the early 20’s – as shown in the 2020 study published in the journal Basic Clinical Neuroscience) I personally feel that by age 55 everyone should consider taking CDP-choline in a supplement that contains other proven memory support nutrients including, Phosphatidylserine, Huperzine A, and Bacopa monnieri.  A supplement like this shows promise in helping to prevent age-related decline in memory function. For individuals with early-stage memory loss problems, they need higher doses of this supplement, along with in many cases, an additional 500 mg of CDP-choline as a booster, in my opinion.

I have included the reference for this study in the text below.

1. Main Reference: Nakazaki E et al. Citcholine and memory function in healthy older adults: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Nutrition. 2021; 151(8(: 2153-2160.

2. Splers P.A. et al. Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. JAMA. 1996; 53(5): 441-448.

3. Maldonado V.C., Effects of CDP-choline on the recovery of patients with head injuries. J Neurol Sci. 1991; 103, Supplement: 15-18.

4. Al-kuraishy H., et al. Citicoline improves human vigilance and visual working memory: The role of neuronal activation and oxidative stress. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020; 11(4): 423-432.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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