Uridine is a natural supplement with many brain health and cognition enhancing properties. This post will provide the reader with a better understanding of how uridine works, its usage, dosage and side effects.
What is Uridine?
Uridine is a pyrimidine nucleoside, which is naturally produced by the liver and kidneys. It is also found in breast milk and is so important to brain development that is included in most infant formulas.4 This can be explained by the fact that uridine has a number of crucial biological effects in the body. For example, it is involved in the regulation of the cardio-circulatory system, building RNA molecules, making proteins, and modulation of peripheral and central nervous system.1
In terms of uridine nootropic effects, its supplementation can boost the body’s levels of RNA, which subsequently leads to improved memory, concentration and overall cognitive performance. A daily consumption of a nutritional drink called “Souvenaid” containing many nutrients, including uridine monophosphate (625 mg) has been shown to maintain healthy cell membranes and connections between cells thereby protecting memory in patients with early stage Alzheimer’s.3
“Souvenaid” was developed to support the formation and function of neuronal membranes. The formation of new connections is absolutely vital for a healthy and effective brain function.
“Uridine is a natural substance that effectively promotes healthy brain functions.”
This has numerous practical implications for the healthy individuals, but also people with Alzheimer’s disease who have been shown to have lower plasma uridine levels compared to controls.5″
Therefore, oral supplementation of uridine monophosphate, which is a source of circulating and brain uridine, can improve memory, concentration and mental performance. In contrast, low levels of uridine in the brain may result in weaker memory formation, lower concentration and reduced brain plasticity.
In addition to the cognitive enhancement, uridine may be a very effective compound to treat mental disorders as demonstrated in a 6-week intervention administering 1000 mg of uridine daily to seven depressed adolescents with bipolar disorder.4 The findings of the study showed decreased depressive symptoms and uridine was well tolerated by all study participants.4
How does Uridine work?
Following oral administration Uridine is transported across the cell membranes, including the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The concentration of uridine in plasma and tissues is controlled by cellular transport mechanism and by uridine phosphorylase (UPase).1
Once uridine enters the brain it stimulates the synthesis of CDP-choline, which is a critical substrate for phospholipid synthesis. CDP-choline is the precursor to another vital brain chemical called acetylcholine and increased synthesis of this neurotransmitter is related to notable memory improvements, brain plasticity, focus and information processing abilities. In addition to improving cerebral phospholipid metabolism, uridine is also reported to have beneficial effects on catecholamine synthesis and mitochondrial function.4
Main benefits of Uridine:
Despite its wide range of cognitive benefits uridine is currently not as popular as some other nootropics and brain supplements. It may be because nootropic users are not fully aware of the beneficial effects the uridine supplementation can have on a number of cognitive functions, including memory, concentration, information processing ability and overall cognition.
“Available evidence suggests that optimal brain functioning heavily relies on uridine throughout the human life span.”
Therefore, uridine should be definitely added to the list of very promising and effective nootropics that are going to grow in popularity among nootropic users.
Recommended dosage of Uridine:
Generally, the recommended daily dosage ranges between 0.5 to 2 grams. 1 gram is enough to begin with and you should experience the aforementioned brain-boosting effects following this dosage. Plasma uridine levels rise within hours of administration.5
Although, it is perfectly fine to take uridine supplementation on its own, stacking it with other nootropics and/or dietary supplements may lead to even better results. For example, uridine is reported to be synergistic with fish oil.2 Uridine also goes well with a good source of choline, such as Alpha GPC and by using them in a stack you are likely to experience the additive effects.
Side effects of Uridine:
As a natural substance, uridine is considered to be safe and well-tolerated when taken orally.4 However, you should still follow the recommended daily dosage. Some of the reported side effects often associated with very high dosages are fatigue, headaches, nervousness or some gastrointestinal discomfort.
Based on current evidence uridine is probably one of the most promising nootropics for enhancing healthy brain structure and improving cognitive functions.
- Pizzorno, G. et al. 2002. Homeostatic control of uridine and the role of uridine phosphorylase: a biological and clinical update, Biochim Biophys Acta. 1587 (2-3), 133-44.
- Kondo, D.G. et al. 2011. Open-label uridine for treatment of depressed adolescents with bipolar disorder, J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 21 (2), 171-175.
- Rijpma, A. et al. 2015. Effects of Souvenaid on plasma micronutrient levels and fatty acid profiles in mild and mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimers Res Ther. 7 (1), 51.