What is Uridine Monophosphate
While almost every neurohacker knows the importance of including a quality choline source in their stack, few realize the similar benefits that come from adding Uridine Monophosphate (UMP).
Uridine is found in every living organism on earth. It is a component of RNA, which works with DNA to allow life as we know it to exist.
Outside of this critical role, uridine positively affects many aspects of our cognition and health.
As a nootropic, it works together with choline to boost memory and learning ability, focus, and improve overall brain health and cognitive function. These benefits extend to slowing age-related cognitive decline, and related neurological diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
It has also been found to help promote a positive mood and ward off depression, enhance blood flow, fight inflammation, and even has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
There are many great sources of dietary uridine, including broccoli, fish, beer, and many more, however if you want to experience the most that this compound can offer, you will want to add in a supplement. Supplementation has been shown to have nootropic benefits.
This nootropic is especially powerful when it comes to stacking. Adding uridine can benefit many stacks, particularly those that act upon the cholinergic system.
Benefits of Uridine
The majority of studies on uridine have been on uridine paired with other compounds. In one study that compared the effects of supplementation with only DHA or only uridine in gerbils being fed a diet with normal levels of choline found that there were cognitive benefits and changes in the brain associated with supplementation of only uridine. (2,3)
This study also found that the benefits of uridine are likely to be boosted by other compounds, and visa versa. This does not mean that uridine alone does not also hold benefits, they may just be lesser than when combined with other compounds known to work synergistically. (1,2)
Enhances Memory and Learning
An animal study examined the differing effects of feeding animals a standard diet (rich in choline), a standard diet plus UMP, a standard diet plus DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid), or a standard diet plus UMP and DHA. (2,3) Behavioral training and testing was conducted, and later researchers compared brain phospholipid levels in each group.
Both uridine alone and DHA alone led to improvements when it came to memory and learning. When combined, these benefits were even more pronounced than either supplement on its own.
Similar effects were seen in the levels of brain phospholipids: there were more phospholipids in both the DHA and UMP groups when compared to the only choline group, but the highest level of brain phospholipids was found in the gerbils fed choline, uridine, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Dopamine is know to help motivate, while acetylcholine is known to improve memory, learning, and focus. Through positive effects on the release of both of these neurotransmitters, UMB can help to improve focus, concentration, and mental energy.
In a human study on Cognitex, a brand name drug that contains UMP, Alpha-GPC, and other compounds, it was found that 12 weeks of thrice daily supplementation led to improved attention, memory, recognition, and more. (7)
Anxiety and Stress
Some users who take UMP report reduced anxiety and stress. This is likely thanks to uridine leading to increased mitochondrial metabolism and by boosting phospholipid synthesis.
Research also shows that low dopamine levels may be partly responsible for stress and anxiety, and UMP may help to restore dopamine release.
Animal studies have suggested that the uridine receptor is involved when it comes to having a good night's sleep. In rats uridine was shown to help enhance sleep quality by increasing slow wave sleep in those who were deprived of sleep. (11,12)
Dopamine is known to play an important role when it comes to libido and overall sexual function in rats. A human study confirmed that this holds true in men, but did not find the same results in women. As uridine is known to increase dopamine output, it may help boost male libido.
Mood Enhancer: Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Users often tout the mood-enhancing benefits of uridine supplementation. This is not too surprising, as this nootropic can help to boost the output of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in the feeling of pleasure and reward.
There have been studies on both adults and adolescents with depression and bipolar examining the effects of supplementing with uridine. These studies have found this compound to help reduce symptoms and improve overall mood, with very few side effects. (4)
Reduces Inflammation and Pain
Studies have found that supplementing with UMP can help to reduce inflammation and the associated pain.
While this benefit is mostly applicable for those with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammation can happen throughout the body, leading to a variety of medical conditions, stress, and fatigue. Reduction of inflammation can leave users with less pain and a better-functioning body.
Helps Cognition in Those With High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, has been found to lead to cognitive impairments in learning and visual attention. In an animal study it was found that ongoing supplementation with choline and uridine normalized the visual attention and spatial learning abilities of rats with hypertension. (6)
While this study did not examine why this effect happened, it leaves promise for protecting cognitive function in those with high blood pressure.
Protects Against Cognitive Decline and Neurological Conditions
Throughout our lifetime brain synapses are formed using uridine, omega-3 fatty acids, and choline. As we get older, the frequency of newly formed synapses decreases, and can lead to memory problems and other cognitive decline. (5)
Additionally, diseases such as Alzheimer’s are accompanied by deficiencies in synapses and synaptic membranes. (8,9) In order to correct these deficiencies and possibly avoid them in the first place, supplementation with uridine, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA, can help preserve cognitive decline related to aging and disease.
By supplementing with UMP you can help to protect the health and integrity of your brain, protecting against memory loss, difficulties learning, and other cognitive deficits that come with age.
Uridine Mechanisms of Actions
When we consume uridine in foods, it is synthesized to form UMP in the liver. Not much of this dietary uridine is believed to cross over the blood-brain barrier. Supplementation with UMP has been found to more readily cross into the brain, benefiting cognition.
These benefits in brain and overall health are thanks to a variety of mechanisms:
- Increases synaptic plasticity
- Precursor to phospholipids
- Boosts Phosphatidylcholine synthesis
- Enhances acetylcholine and dopamine synthesis
These combined actions have a beneficial effect on neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize in response to experiences, learning, and even injury.
Boosts Phospholipid Synthesis: Phosphatidylcholine and Synaptic Plasticity
Uridine, choline, and DHA are the three compounds involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and other membrane phospholipids, also known as phosphatides. PC is the essential component of our cell membranes. (1)
PC is critical when it comes to producing neurites, which are projections from the neuron (brain cell) body. In fact, PC biosynthesis has been found to increase during neuritogenesis, the creation of neurites.
Neurites are involved in forming synapses with other neurons, which leads to increased synaptic plasticity and improved memory creation.
Because growth of neurites from the cell involves an increase in the surface area of the cell, it is dependent upon membrane biosynthese. Membranes are mainly composed of phospholipids, with PC representing 58% of these phospholipids.
In essence, by boosting PC synthesis, communication between neurons is enhanced.
But how exactly does uridine lead to PC?
Uridine is first converted into cytidine, which is then synthesized to form CDP-Choline, which is then used to create PC.
In a study on gerbils fed a control diet (which contained choline), one with uridine monophosphate (UMP), one with DHA, or one with UMP and DHA, it was found that the levels of PC in brain tissues was as follows (2):
- Control diet: 152
- UMP: 171
- DHA: 185
- UMP + DHA: 220
As you can see, supplementing with only uridine did lead to improvements in brain phospholipid levels (this was true not only for PC, but other phospholipids as well). Supplementing with both uridine and DHA led to even greater phospholipid levels.
By supplementing with choline, DHA, and uridine, you will allow expedited PC synthesis, quantity of synaptic membranes, and number of synapses. (2)
Increases Acetylcholine Levels
The memory, learning, and focus benefits of many nootropics, including those of the racetam family, are largely thanks to boosting of acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter, through a variety of ways. Drugs that enhance the concentration of ACh in the brain are said to have cholinergic function.
Phosphatidylcholine is used in the synthesis of ACh, thus the boost in PC thanks to uridine can help to improve your ACh concentration and cognitive abilities.
Boosts Dopamine Release
Uridine has been found to augment the output of dopamine from dopamine receptors without affecting basal levels of dopamine.
Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that is involved in our cognition. It is also known to impact mood and create the pleasurable feelings we associate with reward.
Overall UMP is considered a safe supplement with very few side effects. The side effects that do exist tend to be very mild in nature, including headaches, mild gastrointestinal effects, and fatigue.
Very high doses of uridine have been linked to diarrhea and fever, but these effects were found at much higher than the typical standard dosage.
Uridine Nootropic Stack
Many of the benefits of uridine are boosted when other nootropics are added in. Below are some ideas when it comes to uridine nootropic stacks.
Uridine and Alpha GPC
Multiple studies and user reviews have found that pairing a quality choline source with Uridine Monophosphate can help to increase the benefits of both.
Alpha GPC is the most bioavailable form of choline for the brain. It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and is a powerful nootropic when it comes to providing choline for brain health and cognitive function.
The benefits that this nootropic boasts include improved concentration, memory, learning, and protection from age-related cognitive decline and associated neurological diseases.
In the synthesis of phospholipids and ACh, the availability of cytidine is the rate-limiting step. Cytidine is synthesized from uridine, which, when there is ample choline available, accelerates the synthesis of CDP-Choline. This is used to create phosphatidylcholine, which is used both in membrane and ACh synthesis.
If you are wanting to get the most out of your choline supplement or your uridine supplement, it is best to take these two together. Alpha GPC is one of the best options when it comes to choline that can be used in the brain.
Taken together, these two compounds will vastly increase your nootropic benefits along with protection against age-related cognitive decline.
One recommended dose would be 125 mg of each of these three times per day.
Citicoline and Uridine
Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline, is another highly bioavailable choline source that readily crosses over the blood-brain barrier.
Unlike Alpha GPC, it is not too common to stack these two nootropics together. The reason for this is that supplementing with Citicoline itself has been found to lead to increases levels of uridine in the brain. (10)
CDP-Choline breaks down into choline and cytidine, and cytidine is then metabolized into uridine.
Uridine and DHA
As two of the three compounds needed to synthesize phospholipids, including phosphatidylcholine, uridine and DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil) stack exceptionally well together.
When used in concert, these two nootropics are capable of boosting brain levels of PC more than with either of them on their own. This boost is thought to lead to increased synthesis of cell membranes along with heightened levels of the learning neurotransmitter, ACh.
Mr Happy Stack
One of the more well-known stacks for boosting mood and cognitive function is the Mr Happy Stack, created by the user MrHappy on LongeCity.
This stack starts out with UMP, a multivitamin with B-vitamins and trace minerals, and DHA fish oil. After two weeks it slowly adds in choline.
Users report many nootropic benefits from this stack, including:
- Improved mood and reduced depression
- Enhanced memory formation and recall
- Improved sleep
- Boosted cognitive health
- Anxiety and stress relief
Typically uridine is taken between 500-1,000 mg/day, however some report using higher amounts with positive results. As with most other supplements, you are more likely to experience a negative side effect if you take more than the standard dosage.
While it is typically recommended to take this nootropic with food, it is not necessary for absorption and many report no gastrointestinal issues with taking on an empty stomach.
Buy Uridine Monophosphate Supplements
Uridine Monophosphate is easily found through numerous reputable online vendors, including Pure Nootropics and Nootropics Depot. Here you can also find other nootropic compounds to pair with uridine to experience even further nootropic benefits, such as Alpha GPC and DHA.
- Role of phosphatidylcholine during neuronal differentiation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21818839
- Nutritional modifiers of aging brain function: use of uridine and other phosphatide precursors to increase formation of brain synapses https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00344.x
- Dietary uridine enhances the improvement in learning and memory produced by administering DHA to gerbils https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2574024/
- Open-label uridine for treatment of depressed adolescents with bipolar disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080753/
- A nutrient combination that can affect synapse formation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/
- Combined uridine and choline administration improves cognitive deficits in spontaneously hypertensive rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12737935
- Cognitex supplementation in elderly adults with memory complaints: an uncontrolled open label trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432687
- Alzheimer’s disease in a synaptic failure https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12399581
- Alzheimer’s disease and the aging brain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16880353
- Effect of oral DDP-Choline on plasma choline and uridine levels in humans https://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/static/pdf/972.pdf
- Uridine receptor: discovery and its involvement in sleep mechanisms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11322706
- Uridine function in the central nervous system https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21401495
- Effect of a single dose of levodopa on sexual response in men and women https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15470373