Cognizin® Citicoline 101: Everything You Need to Know

By Robert Schinetsky

What is Citicoline?

Choline is a vitamin-like essential nutrient that plays a critical role in brain development, muscle movement, metabolism, liver function, and nervous system function. Though choline lies at the very core of our health and wellness, it wasn’t recognized as an essential component of our biology until 1998.

Choline is found in a number of foods common to the diet including eggs, beef, salmon, liver, and Brussels sprouts. Due to the importance choline plays in development of the brain and nervous system, it’s one of the many nutrients supplied in a mother’s breast milk.  

And to top it off, choline also supports DNA repair, detoxification, and the production of one of the most important neurotransmitters in the body–acetylcholine (the “learning” neurotransmitter).

Unfortunately, many people simply do not get adequate choline in their diet to maximize their acetylcholine production, and thus often do not experience the heightened cognitive and physical performance that can accompany this important neurotransmitter.

More troubling is the fact that when choline is in short supply, the brain resorts to breaking down phosphatidylcholine, which are phospholipids that form cell membranes. Eventually, this could result in the development of cognitive decline.

Fortunately, a number of choline-based supplements have been developed over the years to boost choline intakes. One of the premier forms of supplemental choline available on the market is Cognizin® Citicoline.

What is Cognizin® Citicoline?

Cognizin® is a proprietary form of citicoline that is clinically studied to support mental energy, focus, and attention.

Citicoline, also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline (CDP-Choline) or cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine, is a naturally occurring, choline-containing molecule in the body composed of cytosine, pyrophosphate, ribose, and, of course, choline.

The complex molecule also servers as an intermediate in the production of phosphatidylcholine (a phospholipid that serves as a structural component of cell membranes). One of the components of citicoline, cytidine, is a component of RNA and, when it gets into the brain, it is converted into Uridine. Subsequently, uridine is used to synthesize more phosphatidylcholine.

So, in a sense, when using citicoline, you’re actually getting two powerful nootropic supplements in one. You get choline to support acetylcholine production and uridine (via cytidine) to fortify phosphatidylcholine production and cell membranes.

What are the Benefits of Cognizin®?

In reading about the importance of choline, you might wonder why not just supplement with pure choline, which you very well could do with a supplement such as choline bitartrate or choline citrate.

When supplementing with Cognizin® Citicoline vs. regular choline supplements, you get all of the benefits associated with choline supplementation (improve memory, greater learning, stronger muscle contractions, etc.), plus a number of other benefits.

Cognizin® vs. Choline Supplements

In addition to supplying the body with a highly bioavailable form of choline that supports acetylcholine production and the mind-muscle connection acetylcholine is required to signal muscle movement and contractions)[5], Cognizin® also:

  • Supports greater mental energy by increasing ATP stores in the frontal cortex[1]

    Note: This is important. While the brain accounts for only 2% of the body’s mass, it uses over 20% of the body’s energy at rest.

  • Increases dopamine and noradrenaline for greater focus and attention[2]

    *Note: This is particularly noteworthy as other choline supplements that only boost levels of acetylcholine and do not affect other neurotransmitter systems may lead to excess acetylcholine and can depress levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.

  • Enhances phospholipid production[3]

  • Exerts neuroprotective effects following traumatic brain injury[4]

  • Supplies the body with a source of pyrimidines which are used to produce phosphatidylcholine 

To top it off, neuroscientists are also exploring citicoline as a potential treatment option in patients with stroke, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and brain aging due to the versatile molecule’s ability to help stabilize cell membranes and reduce the presence of free radicals.[6] 

What is the Proper Dose of Cognizin®?

Clinical studies using Cognizin® observe benefit when supplementing with 250-500mg of Cognizin® per day.

C4 + Cognizin® Citicoline

C4 Energy Natural Zero supplies 250mg Cognizin® Citicoline per serving along with natural caffeine from Coffeeberry® fruit extract and a collection of other powerful nootropic supplements like L-Tyrosine and Taurine.

This drink also contains no calories, no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, while providing a clean source of mental and physical energy to help you perform at your best morning, noon, and night. 

C4 Smart Energy Carbonated includes the patented brain-boosting Cognizin® Citicoline to help support mental focus, attention, and recall. With additional support from InnovaTea® Naturally Derived Caffeine (from Tea) and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, C4 Smart Energy Carbonated delivers cognitive and mental performance to help you conquer any task—from work to play, gaming to studying, partying to planning.

This energy drink is also proudly made with natural flavors, no artificial colors or dyes, and contains zero calories, sugar, or carbs.


  1. Silveri, M. M., Dikan, J., Ross, A. J., Jensen, J. E., Kamiya, T., Kawada, Y., … Yurgelun-Todd, D. A. (2008). Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR in Biomedicine, 21(10), 1066–1075.
  2. McGlade, E., Agoston, A. M., DiMuzio, J., Kizaki, M., Nakazaki, E., Kamiya, T., & Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2019). The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(2), 121–134.
  3. Babb SM. Wald LL. Cohen BM. Villafuerte RA. Gruber SA. Yurgelun-Todd DA. Renshaw PF.: Chronic Citicoline increases phosphodiesters in the brains of healthy older subjects: an in vivo phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Psychopharmacology. 161(3):248-54, 2002 May
  4. Baskaya MK. Dogan A. Rao AM. & Dempsey RJ.: Neuroprotective effects of citicoline on brain edema and blood-brain barrier breakdown after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurosurgery. 92(3):448-52, 2000
  5. Sanders L.M., Zeisel S.H. Choline – Dietary Requirements and Role in Brain Development Nutrition Today 2007; 42(4): 181–186.
  6. Blount PJ, Nguyen CD, McDeavitt JT. Clinical use of cholinomimetic agents: a review. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2002;17:314–21.

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