Citicoline Vs. Choline

iutah778/iStock/Getty Images

Choline and citicoline are similar compounds, available as supplements that may improve neurological functions such as mental energy, focus, and memory. Neither of these compounds are produced in sufficient amounts by the body and must be consumed in the diet or taken as supplements. Before deciding which supplement is better, it is important to compare their differences.

Properties of Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient related to the B-vitamins that must be consumed in the diet. Good sources of choline include liver, meat, beans, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables. It is especially important in the building and maintenance of the cell membranes of the body. In addition, it is necessary for the synthesis of acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter involved in memory and muscle control. Choline deficiency can result in liver and kidney disease, neurological disorders and has even been implicated in promoting certain types of cancer.

Properties of Citicoline

Citicoline is synthesized by the body from choline and is converted into the important cell membrane compound phosphatidylcholine. In addition, citicoline is available as a dietary supplement. When this supplement is taken, it is converted into choline and cytidine, a component of nucleic acid. Research presented in the journal Learning & Memory states that citicoline is a potent stimulant and memory enhancer. According to the Natural Medicine Journal, citicoline is recommended by many physicians as a supplement for the treatment of various neurological disorders.

Similarities of Choline and Citicoline

Choline and citicoline have similar chemical structures, since choline is at the core of the citicoline molecule. Choline is crucial for normal neurological function and is also provided by taking the supplement citicoline, since it is converted to choline in the intestine. Neither of these molecules are produced in high amounts by the body on their own, so they must be ingested through the diet or by supplements. Both choline and citicoline have excellent safety profiles and are not known to cause severe problems in terms of toxicity.

Advantages of Citicoline over Choline

Citicoline may have some advantages over choline as a nutritional supplement since it also provides a source of cytidine, which has additional advantages in the synthesis of nucleic acids in the body. In addition, citicoline has been shown to elevate the levels of certain hormones, which can affect disorders such as depression and attention deficit disorder. Because citicoline is chemically synthesized, it is more expensive than choline, which is easily isolated from soybeans or eggs.