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 A: 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 its 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, 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. Most importantly, gain your physician’s approval, especially if you take blood thinners, antihypertensives, psychostimulants or antidepressants. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For more information about Suzy Cohen, visit her website at www.suzycohen.com.