Citicoline Nootropic Use for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Dr. Erin Crossman, ND

Citicoline (also known as cytidine diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) is an essential compound found in our bodies which has been shown useful in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other neurologic disorders. It is considered a nootropic. The term nootropic is less than 50 years old but is growing in popularity and informally classifies substances that may enhance memory and learning, support brain function, and protect the brain from damage, while lacking sedative or stimulant effects.

Citicoline promotes a broad range of beneficial effects on neurologic function including neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. When taken orally, citicoline breaks into cytidine and choline. In combination these two provide a synergistic action making it more potent and exceeding the standard benefits of choline, especially within brain energy and repair.

In mild to moderate head injuries, citicoline has shown potential to reduce postconcussional symptoms such as headaches, tinnitus, dizziness and improve recognition memory. In severe head injury patients, one study reported a shortened hospital stay while improving motor, cognitive, and mental symptoms. In addition, a review of trials using citicoline treatment in traumatic coma patients reported improved recovery of motor function and walking compared to placebo.

Citicoline studies have also documented positive outcomes in other areas such as cerebrovascular disease (issues with blood circulation to the brain), stroke recovery, and age-related memory problems. Studies have been conducted on children as young as five and is shown to be very well tolerated and safe for use in pediatric and adult populations.


1) León-Carrión J, Dominguez-Roldán JM, Murillo-Cabezas F, del Rosario Dominguez-Morales M, Muñoz-Sanchez MA (2000) The role of citicholine in neuropsychological training after traumatic brain injury. NeuroRehabilitation 14: 33-40.

2) Secades, J.J. (2014) Citicoline for the Treatment of Head Injury: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials. Trauma Treat 4:1.

3) Pizzorno, J.E., Murray, M.T. (2013) Textbook of Natural Medicine, Fourth Edition. Churchhill Livingstone, an Imprint of Elsevier Inc. pp: 665-674.