Citicoline: The Stimulating Cholinergic for the ACH Dominant`
By Jonathan Roseland

I'm not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I'm a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinkingYou should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset - spend over $150 and you'll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

Also known as CDP Choline, has been the subject of numerous clinical trials, and is a promising Nootropic.

It's less bioavailable as a choline source but has more downstream Nootropic effects. Impressively it has over 90 human clinical trials - a substantial body of gold-standard science for us to draw on in this meta-analysis.

This article is mostly going to focus on decoding what the human studies are saying about Citicoline and how this squares up with the anecdotal experiences of Biohackers online. For more of my own personal experiences, thoughts, and comparisons please see the written and video reviews in the sidebar.

 A Stimulating Cholinergic

The very knowledgeable biohacker Ryan Michael Ballow succinctly characterized the difference between Alpha GPC and CDP Choline...

  • CDP Choline - Is less bioavailable, releasing less Choline in the brain. CDP Choline is more stimulating. Enhances verbal intelligence more, giving you greater access to your vocabulary.
  • Alpha GPC - Induces more Choline and gives you more human growth hormone. Alpha GPC enhances working memory more. Probably better for cognition-demanding tasks.

So Alpha GPC is more of a quintessential smart drug, whereas CDP choline is more of a stimulant. The other major difference is economic, CDP choline costs about that of Alpha GPC.Boundless book

Ben Greenfield writes about it in his exhaustive manifesto Boundless...

Citicoline combines choline and cytidine to reduce memory impairment, cognitive decline, and brain damage, and to improve learning and attention. Effective doses range from 1 to 2 g per day.

 Are You Acetylcholine Dominant?

Ben Greenfield explains ...

If you’re acetylcholine dominant, you are tuned in to your senses, highly creative, and open to new ideas. You make the best of any situation, no matter how bad it may be. You can stick to the same workout program for a long time because you can sink your teeth into routines, but you are also flexible, creative, and spontaneous. You enjoy activities involving words, ideas, and communication—many artists and actors are acetylcholine dominant. You can handle high intensity and high volume, but your body needs more rest to recover. You are extremely social, charismatic, and charming, and you highly value relationships. You love adventure and travel and are constantly learning new skills and information...

Does this sound like you?

I am quite notably inclined toward acetylcholine dominance. So what has worked best for me? Since acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is synthesized in the brain using choline, acetylcholine-dominant people burn through their choline stores faster than normal, so consuming more choline from the diet and from supplements is important. In addition to eating a diet high in healthy, choline-rich sources of fat, such as eggs, nuts, cold-pressed oils, and avocados, I have found it helpful to take 4 g or more of fish oil per day and the nootropic supplement Qualia, which contains a host of choline precursors and derivatives.

If you're choline dominant get more of the stuff in your system - especially on the days when you're taking a lot of Nootropics to blow through a major project!

 Vs Cocaine Addiction

COcaine addiction

Good news for the John Belushi or Angelina Jolie in your life, seven clinical trials totaling well over 200 addicts suggest that the Nootropic may help the addicted kick their expensive habit without severe side effects or risks. A 2015 Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of 130 Americans concludes in its abstract...

Citicoline was well tolerated for treatment of cocaine dependence in patients with bipolar disorder. Cocaine use was significantly reduced with citicoline initially, although treatment effects diminished over time, suggesting the need for augmentation strategies to optimize long-term benefit.

The study was done with bipolar addicts - but the other clinical trials suggest that it's a worthwhile intervention for all addicts. And have you ever known a drug addict who didn't seem at least a little bipolar? Every addict I've ever known was bipolar - I wonder if this is a causation or correlation thing.

John Belushi and Angelina Jolie

Cocaine addicts are the brunt of a lot of jokes, but the reality is that it's far from being the glamorous addiction we often see portrayed on the silver screen. It does ruin, wreck, and take lives - for my old drinking buddy, roommate, and ex-business partner Patrick blow would serve as a gateway drug to riskier narcotic use and abuse that would ultimately cost him his life. I wish he would have had something like Citicoline to turn to early in his addiction as a 2011 Harvard trial concludes in its abstractciticoline is not an effective treatment for heavy cocaine users.

 Vs Depression

Depression brain

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was completed in 2017 totaling 50 depressed patients, it found that 200 milligrams of CDP Choline made a difference after 2 to 6 weeks:

Citicoline has been used for vascular accidents and has been effective in cognitive rehabilitation. It has been used successfully to reduce craving in patients with substance abuse disorder and for mood management of bipolar disorder... Significantly greater improvement was observed in the [Hamilton Depression Rating Scale] scores of the citicoline group compared with the placebo group from baseline...

 Vs Mercury


2017 study found that it helps mercury-induced mitochondrial damage and renal dysfunction - which is great news because the literal toxicity of modernity cannot be understated, there's mercury in almost everything we consume.

 Vs Schizophrenia


Another recent double-blind and placebo-controlled study of 66 Iranians found that in combination with another drug risperidone, it effectively treats Schizophrenia:

The citicoline group demonstrated significantly greater improvement in negative scores... Citicoline add-on therapy to risperidone can effectively improve the primary negative symptoms of patients with schizophrenia.

 Uridine Source

An MIT study demonstrated that Citicoline is a Uridine source:

Plasma uridine was elevated significantly for 5-6 hr after all three [citicoline] doses, increasing by as much as 70-90% after the 500 mg dose, and by 100-120% after the 2000 mg dose.

Uridine supplementation itself is a relatively unproven biohacking tool, while in contrast, Citicoline has over 50 human clinical trials and I see a whole lot more value in Citicoline than Uridine. Unless you are just an insatiable self-experimenter, who needs to try every sexy new Nootropic molecule, I'd encourage you to go with Citicoline as your uridine source which in supplemental form starts at about $20.

 Citicoline Sources

Citicoline powdered is the most economical form. If consuming powders is not your thing as a biohacker - good news - Pure Nootropics purity-tested offers capsuled Citicoline.

Or you may just choose to take it alongside other Nootropic ingredients with which it shares synergies in a Nootropic Stack, like Qualia which uses the patented, branded, clinically-validated version of the Nootropic, Cognizin®.

What is Cognizin®?


This is a popular patented, branded version of Citicoline. There are five scientific papers on it...

A recent American-Japanese placebo-controlled, clinical trial of 75 young men concluded in its abstract...

Adolescent males receiving 28 days of Cognizin® citicoline showed improved attention and psychomotor speed and reduced impulsivity compared to adolescent males who received placebo.

This is just the kind of study that makes a biohacker's ears perk up - it demonstrates that it's a real placebo-effect-beating, baseline-boosting Nootropic. With the following effects for even young healthy people...

  • Improved attention - This means you'll notice more of what matters while dosed on the stuff - need to read a dense book and not get distracted?
  • Psychomotor speed - So it enhances motor control. Good news for athletes, breakdancers, or clumsy folks sick of tripping up the stairs.
  • Improved signal detectability on a computerized attention task - It makes you a bit sharper in discerning digital signal from noiseMight this be why professional competitive gamers love the stuff?
  • Reduced impulsivity - So it's a self-control hack; need a little pharmacological help to resist impulsive eating, drinking, smoking, or irresponsible obsessive use of technology?

Just make sure that you take 250 - 500 milligrams daily for a month.


It blew away this Redditor's brain fog...

I have been suffering from bad brain fog the last few weeks. Waking up feeling like I got hit by a truck, just a clouded mind and complete inability to focus, with very foggy vision(slightly red/hazy white part of the eyes. School work has been suffering tremendously. I have tried everything under the sun.

Order some CDP choline and took 1000mg. It is as if a cloud has been lifted from my eyes and head. I still can't really focus, but now feel a very light body sensation, and feel as if I can finally feel happiness. My foggy vision cleared and my eyes have too. Like I don't have a care in the world.

For Sally Dingo, an Australian biohacker, it also banished brain fog...

When I first ordered the CDP Choline, I only took 300 mg (one capsule) a day, yet could feel the difference it made towards getting rid of brain fog. I then did more research, and discovered I could increase my dosage, and so when my next order came in, I immediately took an additional 2 capsules, (one in morning, two in afternoon). I continued going about my normal day of avoiding writing (I am a writer who has struggled with brain fog), when suddenly I felt energized, and I actually wanted to write; and my head was really clear. Amazing; an almost miraculous feeling. I have read the Citicoline, which this is, is the form more easily absorbed.

Feuer Frei here on Amazon has some interesting stacking recommendations...

I use CDP Choline regularly these days. I also use (NOW) dopa mucuna from time to time. Dopa mucuna contains l-dopa, which the body converts to dopamine. CDP Choline can be used to PREVENT reuptake of dopamine - after taking dopa mucuna. Doesn't take much CDP really to extend the bliss of dopamine. Because my insomniac brain is rather starved for neurotransmitters, a sudden influx of dopamine can be euphoric, mildly. A peaceful easy feeling... Today I tried combining CDP Choline with SAMe. Whoa. A new dimension. My mind has been altered. Hard to explain. SAMe is really enabling neurotransmitter production, it feels like. Feels good. Should have tried this sooner. Only took a fifth of a coated SAMe tablet - specifically Jarrow Formulas SAMe 200mg. And a quarter capsule of CDP Choline. And a touch of Solaray's B-Stress Complex (careful about taking much-concentrated B vitamins with CDP Choline - amplifies effects a little too much, for me anyway).

A reviewer of Double Wood's CDP Choline describes this stack as an alternative to Adderall...

I am using this along with uridine (also from Double Wood) and inositol. I have stopped taking Adderall because it made me too emotionless and I read that those three things will upregulate some receptors that Adderall downregulates. It's only been a few weeks at one dose (sometimes two doses) per day and it really seems to be helping so far! I'm less hyper-rational, things seem less pointless, I feel less dissociated, and things are beginning to mildly move me again. It's been steadily improving over time. I took Adderall for years (small dose, 10mg XR/day) and I have heard that it typically takes a while to regain emotions if you experience the loss of them, so I'm relieved to see progress so quickly.

Soma Marton here just didn't find it very stimulating or enhancing compared with its pricier big brother, Alpha GPC.


Uridine - There are 20 articles specifically on CDP Choline and Uridine - It's been found in research that...

Racetams - All but the most naive Biohacker knows that the Racetams should be taken with a choline source, in fact, it's crucial to truly unleash the classic smart drugs, like Piracetam.

 Usage & Dosage

It's important to understand that if you take it daily you'll get a cumulative effect that you might not love as its half-life is about 70 hours. Some people don't respond well to a lot of choline in their system - too much may make you tired and unmotivated (hello, Netflix binging!) So start with the low end of the dosage range and stick with that for at least a week before pushing the dosage up - this is why you should be using some kind of journaling app to keep track of how much of what supplements you're taking day-to-day and week-to-week.

250 milligrams - 4 grams is the dosage range taken in clinical trials, but over 1 gram is on the extreme end and probably a waste of money.

250 - 500 milligrams (Cognizin) - Enhancing brainpower in healthy adults.

 Side Effects

extreme exhaustion and malaise were reported by this Redditor, but that was probably a result of taking it at an excessive dosage.


Having tried supplementing Choline in a number of forms, Citicoline is one of my favorites. I'm classically acetylcholine dominant and prefer this stimulating cholinergic over Alpha GPC which can be sedating (and pricey!)


Citicoline: The Stimulating Cholinergic for the ACH Dominant
There are no photos of John Belushi and Angelina Jolie together, so I had AI make this one. Not bad!


CDP Choline VS Alpha GPC? A mechanisms + effect comparison
CDP Choline Review: Is it worth taking? [Citicoline]
Citicoline: The Stimulating Cholinergic for the ACH Dominant

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