Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline or Cognizin (in its branded form), is an extremely powerful cognitive enhancer. Citicoline is a naturally-occurring compound in the human brain, where it is a precurosor to both acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine – two compounds vital for proper cognitive functioning.
Citicoline can be found in a select number of foods.
However, citicoline is generally not something that can be obtained in meaningful quantities from food. This is why citicoline is such a common, and valuable, ingredient in nootropic supplements.
But for some of you, the idea of getting as much of your nutrition as you can from actual, real food is very appealing. So, you might be wondering, what foods contain citicoline? Can I reasonably get it naturally? Or do I have to supplement?
Let’s find out!
Food sources of citicoline
Consuming citicoline through food is not a practical option for most people, and the costs of getting citicoline from food are surprisingly high. This is because the only foods that contain citicoline are organ meats such as liver, or of course, the brain itself.
What’s more, while these are the richest food sources of citicoline, they still don’t contain large quantities of the nootropic. So you would have to consume a very large amount of organ meat to obtain an appreciabe amount of citicoline.
We probably don’t need to tell you why this is a bad idea.
Organ meats are generally very fatty, and organs such as the liver tend to accumulate large quantities of things like copper, which can cause serious problems if consumed in excessive amounts by humans. Liver also contains an extremely large amount of Vitamin A; healthy in small amounts, but toxic to humans in large quantities. Your body can handle a large dose of Vitamin A from liver if eaten irregularly, but if consumed multiple times per week liver can cause systemic Vitamin A toxicity.
Clearly, getting citicoline from food is not a viable option.
So what are your options?
Luckily, for those of you who want to raise your citicoline levels, there are two options:
1. Supplement with citicoline
2. Consume foods rich in choline
Let’s look at these two options and see which is right for you.
Supplementing with Citicoline
This is by far the best option for anyone who wants to consume more citicoline.
Compared to getting citicoline from food, using citicoline supplements is extremely efficient, safe, and free from long-term adverse health effects. It is also far more reliable in terms of controlling consumption.
Citicoline is widely available as a purified powder. It is an extremely common ingredient in high-quality nootropic stacks; all of the best nootropics use some form of citicoline as their “anchor” nootropic.
However, not all citicoline supplements are equal.
Some manufacturers have developed extremely bio-available forms of citicoline which have been shown to raise brain choline availability much more rapidly and much more efficiently than standard citicoline. Of these, the single best form of citicoline to take is Cognizin.
Cognizin is a patented, branded form of citicoline which has been shown to enhance cognitive performance to a greater degree than regular citicoline (which is really saying something).
To really get the most out of citicoline supplementation, we think it is best to combine it with other nootropics.
Using a comprehensive nootropic stack which contains Cognizin is the most cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of citicoline supplementation.
Foods that contain choline
As we stated at the beginning of this article, there are no foods that contain citicoline, at least not to any meaningful degree.
The foods that do contain the most citicoline don’t contain much, and consuming them in large quantities is inadvisable for health reasons.
But there are ways to raise your citicoline levels naturally; by consuming more choline.
Unlike with citicoline, there are plenty of foods which contain relatively large quantities of choline.
Here are the foods which contain the most choline (showing mg/serving):
- Beef liver – 356mg
- Egg – 147mg
- Beef – 117mg
- Soybeans – 107mg
- Potatoes – 57mg
- Kidney beans – 45mg
- Quinoa – 43mg
- Milk – 43mg
- Brussels sprouts – 32mg
- Broccoli – 31mg
- Cottage cheese – 26mg
By incorporating more of these foods into your diet, your choline levels will rise and your brain will have more raw choline available for the creation of acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine, which means a more effective, healthier brain.
In terms of maintaining optimal health, we recommend sticking to the foods which contain the most choline with the least cholesterol, fewest pollutants, and safest levels of Vitamin A. That means reaching for the kidney beans, soybeans ad broccoli and going easy on the beef liver and eggs.
If your goal is to experience all of the cognitive enhancing benefits of citicoline consumption, we strongly recommend using a high-quality citicoline supplement or a high-spec nootropic stack.