CDP-Choline for Young Adults

Q Having tried your CDP-Choline, I find it very beneficial for cognitive enhancement. I am only 27 years old, and I wonder whether there are any data on long-term use for young adults. What do the studies show?

SAMMER, Fort Lauderdale, FL

A The authors of a meta-analysis of the literature on human clinical trials with CDP-choline (cytidine-5’-diphosphocholine, also known as citicoline) analyzed 13 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that involved elderly patients suffering from cerebrovascular disorders, senile dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), or normal or abnormal cognitive impairment associated with aging.1 They found that there were modest but significant beneficial effects of CDP-choline on memory function and behavior in these patients, at least in the short-to-medium-term duration (3 months or less) of the studies in question.

In an animal study, CDP-choline improved the declining memories of middle-aged rats, compared with control rats of the same age.2 The same types of cognitive deficits seen in normal old rats are also seen in young rats that have been raised in environmentally impoverished conditions (no toys) since the time they were weaned. In a study that examined memory deficits related to toy deprivation in young rats, researchers found that CDP-choline could improve their memories, whereas it did nothing for control rats of the same age that had been raised in an enriched (toy-filled) environment.3

With regard to younger people, there doesn’t appear to be any clear-cut evidence that CDP-choline can be beneficial (although one could speculate that it might be in people who have been educationally impoverished, in analogy with the toy-deprived rats). In any case, the authors of the meta-analysis found that CDP-choline had been well tolerated in all the studies. It’s also reassuring to know that this compound has been studied for at least 50 years.


  1. Fioravanti M, Yanagi M. Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 3, 2004. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.
  2. Teather LA, Wurtman RJ. Dietary cytidine (5’)-diphosphocholine supplementation protects against development of memory deficits in aging rats. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003;27:711-7.
  3. Teather LA, Wurtman RJ. Dietary CDP-choline supplementation prevents memory impairment caused by impoverished environmental conditions in rats. Learn Mem 2005;12:39-43.

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