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Dear Pharmacist,
On facebook, you mentioned this supplement called Citicoline for memory, and it interests me because my mother has Alzheimer’s and my wife had a mild stroke. Would it help?

--J.L., Newark, New Jersey

Answer: I think so. Very few people have heard of “Citicoline” which is sold as a dietary supplement known scientifically as “cytidine 5’ diphosphocholine” or “CDP Choline.”

Citicoline could help many brain disorders. Researchers are currently evaluating it’s effect on stroke patients because of everything I’m about to tell you, plus it’s ability to reduce free fatty acid build up which occurs at the site of the stroke; very hard to fix that with drugs, but citicoline might.

Citicoline’s most beautiful feature is that it can help you make phospholipids, which encase every brain cell. Without a healthy cell membrane, your skull would hold one giant glob, and you’d have the IQ of a worm, so anything that helps you make phospholipids, improves brain function. Citicoline donates “choline” to make two important phospholipids called “phosphatidylcholine” and “phosphatidylserine.” Both of those are sold over-the-counter too. Citcoline also helps you make the memory molecule called “acetylcholine.” Low levels of acetylcholine and you might be told you have Alzheimer’s disease. To that end, citicoline blocks beta-amyloid deposition, another kink in the brain tied to Alzheimer’s disease. What about Parkinson’s? In fact, citicoline slightly raises dopamine levels, giving more hope to those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

The effects of nourishing your brain with these brain-loving compounds can’t be bad. In fact, I think after 6 weeks of supplementation (with either citicoline, phosphatidylserine or phosphatidylcholine), you might see improvement in memory, problem solving, mood, tremors, mental clarity and orientation. I’m not promising, I’m just thinking out loud and shining a flashlight into a dark room in case you have been told there’s no more time or “there’s nothing more we can do for you.”

Citicoline may help stroke patients as I mentioned earlier. Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, and each year, about 795,000 people suffer one! Ask your neurologist to look up studies on pubmed that show cytidine 5’ diphosphocholine to prevent “neuronal cell death” (brain decay), and increase “sphingomyelin” while simultaneously reducing the neurotoxin “arachidonic acid.” This is huge to a recovering person and hard to accomplish with medication alone. Early intervention is key.

A 2006 study from Barcelona, Spain concluded “Citicoline has also been shown to be effective in Parkinson disease, drug addictions, and alcoholism, as well as in amblyopia and glaucoma. No serious side effects have occurred...”

The three supplements I’ve shared today have promise for many of you. Some contain soy, a common allergen, so read labels carefully. Also, be patient, optimal effects take two or three months and most importantly, gain your physician’s approval, especially if you take blood thinners, antihypertensives, psychostimulants or antidepressants.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website,

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)