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NMU 320 – CDP-Choline Supplementation is Critical to Preserve Memory After Age 50

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 320 (May 8, 2024)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: CDP-Choline Supplementation is Critical to Preserve Memory After Age 50

Source: Journal Aging and Disease (2023)


It’s very likely that you have never heard of the most important molecule that protects your brain against age-related memory loss and dementia. But that molecule is CDP-choline (cytidine-diphosphocholine), also known as citicholine. In the May 2024 issue of the journal Nature, researchers revealed the latest break through showing how the nutrient choline is transported into the brain from the bloodstream, by a newly discovered transporter known as the FLVCR2.As reported back in 1996, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, as we get older the body’s ability to transport choline from the bloodstream into the brain decreases. This results in lower brain levels of choline as we age, which sets the stage for memory loss and dementia.

Why is This?

The reason is that choline is required for brain cells to synthesize the memory chemical (neurotransmitter) known as acetylcholine. So, as we age the choline transporter (FLVCR) becomes more sluggish and thus, brain levels of choline decline, as do brain levels of the memory chemical acetylcholine. All of this results in a serious risk of memory loss, and are common findings in all dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease. Choline is also required by the brain to make some critical structural components (phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, phospholipids). For this reason and some others, health authorities recommend that we consume 400-500 mg of choline per day, which is actually quite difficult to do from food alone. As a result, most people ingest much less than 400-500 mg per day, which already creates challenges for the brain to synthesize optimal amount of the memory chemical, acetylcholine.But by age 55, it really becomes problematic because the choline transporter is much less effective at pumping choline from the bloodstream into the brain. This is a major reason why dementia becomes more and more prevalent with every year that passes in older subjects – NOT ENOUGH CHOLINE IN THE BRAIN

So, what can we do about it?

The solution to this problem is clearly laid out in the August 2023 issue of the journal, Aging and Disease. In this review article the researchers emphasize the importance of taking a supplement each day, by age 50-55 that contains CDP-choline. As they point out, CDP-choline is a natural agent found in all living cells. After ingesting it from a supplement it has been shown to overcome the sluggish activity of the choline transporter in older individuals, and very effectively increases brain levels of choline, acetylcholine (the memory chemical), as proven by Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy studies. In clinical studies CDP-choline supplementation has bolstered the memories of normal middle-aged and elderly patients and has reversed early-stage memory loss in patients with mild cognitive impairment and other neurological diseases. The researchers state, “altogether, the aforementioned data provide complex and unambiguous evidence supporting the claim that oral citicholine intake (CDP-choline supplementation) positively influences memory function in humans who encounter age-related memory impairment.”

My takeaway message is that throughout all adult life you should consider taking one or two capsules per day of lecithin (1200 mg), which is a rich source of choline as well as some other key brain and liver phospholipids. And then at some point between 50 and 55 years of age you should add a supplement that contains CDP-choline (citicholine), as this becomes a key nutrient to ingest to ensure that your brain continues to receive the choline it requires to make the memory chemical acetylcholine (as well as other phospholipids the brain uses for structure and function purposes).

I personally take a supplement each day that contains:

Huperzine A
Bacopa monnieri

Each of these nutrients have been shown in human clinical studies to help preserve memory as we age, and reverse early-stage memory loss. It’s a powerful and important combination as, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, almost 40% of people already experience some form of memory loss after 65 years of age. ( In Canada, for example, although dementia affects only 0.8% of individuals age 65-69, it affects about 2.5% of people 70-74, over 6% of people 75-79, over 12% of people 80-84 and almost 25% of people 85 plus (,24.6%25%20for%20seniors%2085%2B.)

Simply stated, the older you get the less choline you have in your brain and thus the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases. You can help guard against the decline in brain choline, acetylcholine, and key brain phospholipids, by following the suggestions I have outlined in the report. CDP-choline supplementation is critical part of that strategy by age 55 in my view.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


Newly Discovered Brain Choline Transporter:

Cater R.J. et al. Structural and molecular basis for choline uptake into the brain by FLVCR2. Nature. 2024, May 01 Issue.

Nutrient research reveals pathway for treating bran disorders. Science Daily. May 1, 2024.

Decline in Brain Choline with Age:

Cohen B.M. et al. Decreases brain choline uptake in older adults. JAMA. 1995, 274(11): 902-907.

CDP-Choline Improves Memory in Middle-Aged and Older Subjects:

Swiatkiewicz M and Grieb P. Citicholine for supporting memory in aging humans. Aging and Disease. 2023, 14(4): 1184-1195


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

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