A natural compound made in the body has approval by the EU as a dietary supplement. The supplement is known as Citicoline. Though it is also called cytidine-5-diphosphocholine (or CDP-choline). Citicoline is important because scientists say it may help to prevent damage to retinal ganglion cells. These are a type of nerve cell at the back of the eye, with an important role in vision. Scientists say if citicoline can protect the retinal cells it may help with preventing glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease and a leading cause of blindness. It involves damage to cells at the back of the eye which are called the retinal ganglion cells. Preventing this damage might preserve the vision.
Most often, the disease process occurs over many years, starting with cells that relate to the outer periphery of vision. In fact, the early stages may not produce noticeable symptoms. So, many people with early glaucoma are unaware of it. As the cells lose their ability to function they become dormant. Eventually, these cells die by a process of cell suicide known as apoptosis. Ultimately this leads to the destruction of the optic nerve and blindness.
High intraocular pressure
A major factor in glaucoma is high pressure in the eyes. Even though some people with glaucoma have normal eye pressure. By the same token, some people have high intraocular pressure but do not develop glaucoma.
Even so, high intraocular pressure can increase the risk of glaucoma. So, if you have high intraocular pressure your doctor’s priority will be to reduce that pressure. Reducing it may limit damage to the eye, preventing vision loss. The treatment may include eye drops or surgery. Yet, these treatments are not always successful. In glaucoma, slow but progressive vision loss is common.
One reason for this could be that these treatments do not protect the retinal ganglion cells. However, some substances may protect the retinal cells and preserve their function. One such substance is Citicoline. There may be other dietary supplements that offer similar protection.
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Citicoline may also be beneficial for people with other neurological problems. For instance, providing neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. And, scientists suggest that Citicoline is a safe supplement with few adverse effects. Though they mention mild symptoms, such as mild digestive disturbance.
Though CDP-choline can be made in the body, it can become depleted. So there may be advantages to taking Citicoline as a supplement. Scientists say it may be beneficial in several ways, including:
- Citicoline is a source of choline. Lack of choline can ultimately lead to the death of certain nerve fibres.
- Choline can also be metabolised to glutathione, an important antioxidant in the body. Glutathione is a neuroprotector since it helps to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes.
Researchers suggested that citicoline may help to save minimally damaged retinal ganglion cells. Effectively lifting them out of the dormant stage, and preventing glaucoma progression. However, scientists say that more and larger clinical trials are needed. Especially before a dosage recommendation can be given.