Citicoline is easily the most interesting nootropic in the world right now, at least as far as we’re concerned. The more we learn about this incredible brain-boosting compound, the more we are cinvinced that it is the ideal natural cognitive enhancer for focus, learning, and mental performance.
Obviously, nootropic supplement manufacturers agree with us. Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline, is increasingly used as the cornerstone of natural nootropic stacks.
But as more people start using citicoline on a daily basis, we are seeing a rise in the cocnerns people have about the nootropic.
One question we often get asked is: can citicoline cause depression?
Let’s take a look at the neurochemistry of citicoline to see if citicoline can cause symptoms of depression.
What does citicoline do in the brain?
Cicitoline is primarily a cholinergic in action. This means it rapidly raises choline availability in the brain. It is this action which makes citicoline a nootropic; more choline in the brain means we can make more acetylcholine (a very important executive neurotransmitter) and more phosphatidylcholine (a key structural component of your brain cell membranes.
Citicoline also contains uridine, which is a component of RNA (making it another important compound for brain cell formation and maintenance).
That is it; that’s how choline affects brain function. Above all else, it quickly raises choline availability, which in turn allows you to make more of the brain chemicals you need to process information, create memories, make decisions, and carry out brain cell maintenance.
We use citicoline to raise choline availability rather than just regular choline for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that citicoline is far more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier than regular choline.
Citicoline side effects: Can it cause depression?
Citicoline is generally considered to be very safe for regular consumption. It rarely causes side effects, and when it does, these are mild and usually completely abate when you take a break of a couple of days.
The most common side effects of citicoline use are headaches, muscle cramps, restlessness, GI discomfort, and brain fog. This usually happens when you have been taking too much, or you are taking other cholinergics at the same time.
But can it cause depression?
Unlikely. None of the clinical literature indicates that citicoline use can cause depression or any depression-like symptoms. We have never seen a clinical trial where a participant has developed depression-like symptoms while using citicoline.
As far as we know, acetylcholine is not implicated in the development of depression. As such, raising acetylcholine on a daily basis is unlikely to put you at risk of becoming depressed.
There is no mechanism we are aware of by which citicoline – also known as CDP-Choline or sometimes as Cognizin in its branded form – can cause depression. We do not believe that it would even exacerbate symptoms in people with depression. However, if you do have depression then it is absolutely imperative that you talk to your general practitioner or your therapist before using citicoline or any other nootropic. We are not doctors, and this is not medical advice. Citicoline may interact with some medications so always check with your doctor first.