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What Are the Pros and Cons of Citicoline?

Citicoline might help deal with mild memory issues in the elderly.
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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2014
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The positive repercussions of using citicoline include the possibility of increased memory and neurological function. The chemical has been used as a supplement for people suffering with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, and has been shown to be effective in studies on mice and humans. The possible negative effects associated with citicoline include headaches, nausea, dizziness, change in heartbeat and diarrhea. It is also possible that patients could experience side effects associated with allergic reactions.

Citicoline is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that is converted into acetylcholine, which is needed for communication between the brain’s neurons. The brain works by neurons communicating with each other, which helps it form connections between ideas and pieces of information. These connections are essential to mental function, and play a big part in the recall of memories. People with various neurological conditions have been shown to have a deficiency in acetylcholine, and citicoline tops up the brain’s levels of acetylcholine.

The benefits of citicoline have been demonstrated in several studies, and it is believed to be an effective treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral vascular disease, as well as for after head trauma. The drug has been shown to increase memory and cognitive functioning, and it could possibly be used as a safer alternative to phosphatidylcholine. It is also believed that citicoline could have a positive effect on the mild memory issues commonly associated with old age.

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Additional research still needs to be done to pin down all the possible side effects associated with the use of citicoline, but a few different negative effects have already been identified. The most common side effects associated with the drug include headache, diarrhea, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, and slower or faster heartbeat. These side effects can be common, so patients should only see their doctor about them if they are particularly persistent or severe.

Other side effects associated with citicoline are those that can stem from an allergic reaction to the treatment. These include hives; rash; swelling of the face, hands, mouth or throat; and difficulty breathing. Patients should also talk to their doctor before taking the supplement if they smoke, frequently drink alcohol or take any illegal drugs.

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