An extremely important natural nootropic that boosts the brain, benefits the body, and is essential to life itself. In fact, uridine may be the most crucial nootropic you’ve never heard of.[toc]
Uridine is a fundamental biological component that it’s found in literally every living organism. Without uridine, the DNA system breaks down, and life can’t exist. However, keeping protein synthesis on track is just a part of what uridine does.
Excellent addition to any nootropic stack, uridine works in synergy with choline to improve mood and memory, increase motivation, and enhance cognition.
It boosts the production and release of crucial neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine, and medical studies show it can fight depression, reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood flow, and stabilize heart rhythm.
Furthermore, it has the potential for slowing brain aging and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age-related cognitive dysfunctions.
It is available in some foods, including beets, broccoli, fish, mushrooms, oats, parsley, sugar cane, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, and beer, which is one of the best sources of dietary uridine. But though it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, a high percentage of dietary uridine is absorbed in the digestive system, and only a relatively small amount actually makes it to the brain. If you’re interested in a nootropic effect, supplementation is the surest means of realizing uridine many benefits.
- Enhances Memory and Learning Ability
- Increases Alertness and Focus
- Improves Mood and Fights Depression and Bipolar Disorder
- Reduces Pain and Inflammation
- Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia
- Help Prevent General Age-Related Cognitive Decline
- Enhance Cognition by Improving Blood Flow
Enhances Memory and Learning Ability
Uridine is a tested and proven cognition booster that works in synergy with choline improving memory and learning.
Studies on animals show that dietary uridine, administered in combination with choline and DHA, has a significant positive impact on brain function.
The subjects that received uridine showed measurable improvements in both memory and learning. Also, both human and animal studies suggest the uridine central nervous system action created a notable increase in memory function.
Increases Alertness and Focus
Uridine also boosts overall cognition, significantly increasing alertness, and focus on subjects who had experienced problems in those areas. Human subjects receiving uridine in combination with choline, vinpocetine, and other cognitive enhancers show an improvement in short-term memory, recognition, recall, as well as executive function.
Improves Mood and Fights Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Many users say uridine is an active mood lifter, a claim supported by ongoing research. Uridine is known to upregulate the production and release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter, sometimes called “the motivation molecule” because it’s mostly responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Uridine supplementation has repeatedly been shown to alleviate depression in both adults and children, and a highly-cited 2011 study that showed uridine supplementation to be an effective treatment for depression occurring in combination with bipolar disorder.
Uridine also improves mood by combating the effects of stress. Uridine is transformed into a phospholipid in the brain, and phospholipids are known to reduce the adverse effects of cortisol.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Uridine has been proven to have potent anti-inflammatory effects, making it a valuable adjunct therapy for many conditions ranging from gout and arthritis to pulmonary fibrosis.
Uridine’s anti-inflammatory effect has also been proven effective in a study of carpal tunnel patients, in which a treatment consisting of uridine, vitamin B12, and folic acid reduced pain and associated symptoms to the point that over 77% of study participants were able to stop taking analgesics and other anti-inflammatory treatment.
Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia
Uridine holds great promise for the treatment and possibly even prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other forms of dementia. A critical 2014 study showed that a combination of uridine, DHA, and choline significantly accelerates the formation of synaptic membrane, addressing the brain deterioration that is one of the primary causes of dementia.
Help Prevent General Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Uridine is known to increase neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt, remember, and learn by creating and reorganizing synaptic connections. Diseases of aging typically decrease the number of synapses, or nerve cell junctions at which neurotransmitters transmit information to the brain and body. Administered in conjunction with DHA and choline, uridine has been shown to not only reduce the rate of synaptic decay by enhancing the development of synaptic membrane but to activate the mechanisms by which new synapses are formed.
Enhance Cognition by Improving Blood Flow
Studies show that when administered in conjunction with choline, uridine can effectively improve cognitive deficits in subjects with hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension can have serious adverse effects on cerebral vasculature and blood flow, which makes it a significant risk for the development of cognitive disorders. Animal studies in the early 2000s indicate that hypertensive subjects treated with a combination of choline and uridine demonstrated improved selective attention and spatial learning. 
In adults, dietary uridine is synthesized in the liver as uridine monophosphate (UMP) and secreted as UMP in the blood. Though dietary uridine is available in a number of foods and is actually present in breast milk, it is believed that the uridine acquired through diet is mostly absorbed during the digestive process, and supplementation may be necessary to realize many of its effects and benefits, particularly in relation to cognition. Supplemental uridine is known to cross the blood-brain barrier readily.
In the brain, uridine is converted to CDP-choline, which in turn is converted to phosphatidylcholine or PC. Part of the PC becomes a component of the phospholipid layer that encases new synapses. The more uridine available in the brain, the more CDP-Choline is produced, and the better new synapses are protected and strengthened.
Uridine also helps increase the formation of new synapses by enhancing the growth of neural cell projections or “branches” known as neurites, which are crucial to neural signaling. Studies show that supplemental uridine significantly increased both the number of neurites per cell and the amount of neurite branching.
Enhanced neurite outgrowth and branching is strongly associated with improved cognition.
The phosphatidylcholine that doesn’t become part of the phospholipid layer is converted to choline, which the brain uses to manufacture the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Often referred to as “the learning neurotransmitter,” acetylcholine is crucial to all forms of cognition.
Uridine is also known to enhance the production and release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter most associated with feelings of pleasure, reward, and motivation. Increased dopamine has a significant positive effect on mood, motivation, and cognition.
The combined actions that uridine triggers in the brain-stimulating new synapse development and encouraging synapse branching, protecting and strengthening existing synapses, providing choline for the creation of acetylcholine, and upregulating the production and release of dopamine – all work together to enhance and improve neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to reorganize and regroup in response to learning.
Neuroplasticity is essential to all aspects of cognition, but the loss of neuroplasticity has a particularly pronounced negative effect on memory. Increased neuroplasticity is strongly associated with enhanced cognition in healthy adults, and is a vital part of treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related conditions that erode cognitive abilities.
Uridine is generally considered safe and effective when taken in doses totaling 500–1,000 mg daily, though some advocate doses of up to 2 grams daily in order to achieve maximum results.
Many consider uridine most effective when taken in conjunction with other supplements, most notably choline, folate, and vitamin B12.
Uridine may be taken with or without food. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult their doctor before taking uridine.
There is a low risk of side effects when taking uridine in recommended amounts, though some users have reported minor and transitory side effects, including headache, nervousness, nausea, acid stomach, and fatigue. When taken in very high doses, uridine may cause fever and diarrhea, which typically stop when the dosage is lowered.
Uridine is one of the unsung heroes of the nootropic world. It’s present in every living organism, from people to bacteria, and its primary function as a component of RNA is so critical that life can’t exist without it. But that’s only part of the uridine story.
It’s a team player, working synergistically with choline, DHA, vitamin B12, and other nootropic supplements to improve memory, boost overall cognition, and improve mood. It plays several vital roles in the brain, from protecting existing synapses to encouraging the growth of new ones, and it provides essential choline from which the “learning neurotransmitter” acetylcholine is created. It stimulates the production and release of dopamine, which increases feelings of pleasure and motivation.
It holds real promise for the treatment or even prevention of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and it relieves pain, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and protects against the effects of hypertension and stress. And uridine supplements are safe, well-tolerated, readily available, and easily affordable.
If you’re interested in making the absolute most of your brain for the rest of your life, uridine is well worth your consideration.