Our evidence-based analysis of Uridine features unique references to scientific papers and anecdotal reports.
What Is Uridine?
- 1 What Is Uridine?
- 2 Benefits and Effects of Uridine
- 2.1 Enhances Memory and Learning Ability
- 2.2 Increases Alertness and Focus
- 2.3 Improves Mood and Fights Depression and Bipolar Disorder
- 2.4 Can Enhance Cognition by Improving Blood Flow
- 2.5 May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia
- 2.6 May Help Prevent General Age-Related Cognitive Decline
- 2.7 Reduces Pain and Inflammation
- 3 How It Works
- 4 Dosage
- 5 Side Effects
- 6 Stacking
- 7 Where to Buy
- 8 Closing Thoughts
Uridine is a powerful nootropic, a potent neuroprotectant, and a fundamental biological component so important that life can’t exist without it.
Uridine is a naturally occurring nucleotide that’s present in every organism. Its primary role is as a component of ribonucleic acid (RNA), the messenger molecule that delivers the DNA “blueprint” for protein synthesis to all the cells of the body. Uridine has many functions, but this is undoubtedly the most crucial; without it, RNA can’t do its job, the DNA system breaks down, and life ceases. But keeping protein synthesis on track is just a part of what uridine does.
Studies have shown that when uridine is taken together with choline and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, the combination causes the brain to produce more synapses, or points at which chemical or electrical signals pass. Synapses are the key to brain function, and the more of them there are, the better the brain works.
Uridine has other capabilities, as well. It’s known to boost the production and release of crucial neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine.
Medical research has proven it to be an effective neuroprotectant that can slow brain aging and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age-related cognitive dysfunctions.
Uridine is available in some foods, including beets, broccoli, fish, mushrooms, oats, parsley, sugar cane, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, and beer. Though uridine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, a high percentage of dietary uridine is absorbed in the digestive system, and only a relatively small amount makes it to the brain. For its nootropic effects, supplementation is the surest means of realizing uridine’s many benefits.
Benefits and Effects of Uridine
Though uridine’s most basic function is as one of the components of RNA, the messenger molecule that carries the DNA commands for protein synthesis throughout the body, it offers a host of cognitive and physical benefits as well.
Enhances Memory and Learning Ability
Uridine is a tested and proven cognition booster, working synergistically with other nootropics to enhance memory and learning.
Research indicates that uridine, administered in combination with choline and DHA, has a significant positive impact on brain function. in animal studies, subjects that received uridine demonstrated measurable improvements in both memory and learning.
In addition, both human and animal studies suggest the uridine’s central nervous system action created a notable increase in memory function.
Increases Alertness and Focus
Uridine supplementation has been shown to significantly increase alertness and focus for people who had experienced problems in those areas.
Aging human subjects who received uridine in combination with choline, vinpocetine, and other cognitive enhancers demonstrated improvement in short-term memory, recognition, recall, and executive function.
Improves Mood and Fights Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Uridine is known to upregulate the production and release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter sometimes called “the motivation molecule” because it’s largely responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.
Uridine supplementation has been shown to alleviate depression in both adults and adolescents. A highly-cited 2011 study 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 cortisol’s negative effects.
Can 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 negative effects on cerebral vasculature and blood flow, making it a major 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.
May 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.
An important 2014 study showed that a combination of uridine, DHA, and choline significantly accelerates the formation of the synaptic membrane, addressing the brain deterioration that is one of the primary causes of dementia.
May 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.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
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.
How It Works
Dietary uridine is synthesized in the liver and secreted as uridine monophosphate in the blood.
Though dietary uridine is available in many foods, it is believed that the uridine acquired through food 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 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 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 a loss of neuroplasticity has a particularly pronounced negative effect on memory. Increased neuroplasticity is strongly associated with enhanced cognition in healthy adults. Increasing neuroplasticity is vital in 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 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. However, 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.
Mr. Happy Stack
This stack was designed by nootropics user MrHappy on the longecity forums and has since become a very popular stack due to its simplicity and its various benefits.
It was designed for:
- Enhancing learning and memory
- Uplifting and stabilizing mood
- Reducing Stress, OCD, and anxiety
- Improving the brain’s structural health
- Preventing cognitive decline
- Modulating dopamine release
- Improving the quality of sleep and sleeping patterns
Where to Buy
Uridine supplements are relatively easy to purchase from various online vendors.
We recommend buying uridine capsules online from PureNootropics.net, as they are a specialized vendor of cognitive enhancing supplements.
If you prefer doing your shopping on Amazon.com, we recommend Double Wood Supplements Uridine Capsules as a source of high-quality uridine.
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 cannot 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. It also 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. It may also relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and protect against the effects of hypertension and stress.
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.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.
This page was last updated on October 23, 2020.