Objective: Cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine (citicoline) has a variety of cognitive enhancing, neuroprotective, and neuroregenerative properties. In cocaine-addicted individuals, citicoline has been shown to increase brain dopamine levels and reduce cravings. The effects of this compound on appetite, food cravings, and brain responses to food are unknown.
Method: We compared the effects of treatment with Cognizin citicoline (500 mg/day versus 2,000 mg/day) for 6 weeks on changes in appetite ratings, weight, and cortico-limbic responses to images of high-calorie foods using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Results: After 6 weeks, there was no significant change in weight status, although significant declines in appetite ratings were observed for the 2,000 mg/day group. The higher dose group also showed significant increases in functional brain responses to food stimuli within the amygdala, insula, and lateral orbitofrontal cortex. Increased activation in these regions correlated with declines in appetite ratings.
Discussion: These preliminary findings suggest a potential usefulness of citicoline in modulating appetite, but further research is warranted.