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Uridine monophosphate (UMP): Everything You Need to Know

86328329 - uridine triphosphate (utp) nucleotide molecule. building block of rna. skeletal formula.

Uridine monophosphate (UMP): Everything You Need to Know

Uridine is a nucleoside. Nucleosides are glycosysalamines – nucleotides devoid of a phosphate group. They are comprised of a nucleobase and a five-carbon sugar (deoxyribose or ribose). On the other hand, nucleotides are comprised of a nucleobase, a five-carbon sugar, and at least one phosphate group.

Uridine is one of the five nucleosides that form nucleic acids. The others are guanosine, adenosine, thymidine, and cytidine. Uridine is used for some neurological functions and for enhancing synthesis of cellular membranes. It is believed to have cognitive-enhancing properties and has a synergistic relationship with choline and fish oil.

When mixed with choline, uridine can enhance cognition, mood, memory, and motivation. It enhances the production and discharge of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and acetylcholine. Clinical studies have shown that it can play a role in combating depression, improving blood flow, decreasing pain and inflammation, and stabilizing heart rhythm. It may also play a role in slowing down brain aging and preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (and other age-related brain conditions).

Uridine is a very important biological component and almost every living organism has it. It is a major component of ribonucleic acid (RNA), the molecule that carries DNA blueprint for protein synthesis to all of the body’s cells. Without uridine, life ceases to exist as the DNA system breaks down.

Uridine is found in foods like fish, beets, oats, sugarcane, mushrooms, tomatoes, beer, and brewer’s yeast. Beer is one of the top sources of dietary uridine because it contains high levels of the nucleoside. Breast milk also contains uridine. Supplementing with uridine is important because most of the uridine obtained from food goes to the digestive system and only a small amount gets to the brain. Basically, uridine is one of several ingredients that you can get naturally from a healthy brain diet.

How Uridine Works

Uridine is usually synthesized as uridine monophosphate in the liver and secreted in the blood. While there are many food sources of uridine, most of it is absorbed as digestion occurs. Supplementation helps you to get most of its benefits that are related to cognition.

Uridine supplements easily cross the blood-brain barrier. When uridine gets to the brain, it is changed to CDP-Choline, which is then changed to phosphatidylcholine. Part of the phosphatidylcholine becomes a constituent of the phospholipid layer that protects new synapses. When the levels of uridine are high in the brain, more CDP-Choline is created and new synapses have better protection and increased strength.

Uridine also plays a role in the creation of new synapses. It improves the development of neural cell projections called neurites which are key in neural signaling. Research has shown that uridine supplements can increase the neurites in each cell as well as neurite branching. These two important processes are closely related to enhanced cognition.

Since only part of the phosphatidylcholine produced becomes a component of the protective phospholipid layer, the rest is converted to choline and is used by the brain in the production of acetylcholine. Clinical studies have showed that acetylcholine has the ability to improve attention, learning, and memory.

Uridine also increases the production and discharge of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is related to cognition, motivation, reward, and feelings of pleasure. When the levels of dopamine are high, cognition, motivation, and mood are positively affected.

These different effects that uridine has on the brain play a key role in improving neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to restructure itself by creating new neuronal connections. Neuroplasticity enables the brain’s nerve cells to alter their activities when changes occur in their environment – like injuries or diseases.

Neuroplasticity is involved in all facets of cognition. As we age, the rate of neuroplasticity decreases but doesn’t stop. This can have a negative impact on cognition. An increased rate of neuroplasticity is crucial in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age-related diseases that wear down cognitive abilities.

colorful x-ray scan of brain

The Benefits of Uridine

It Increases Alertness and Focus

Uridine has a synergistic relationship with choline and a few other nootropics. It can enhance general cognition, increasing focus and alertness in individuals who find it difficult to focus on tasks or stay alert. In one clinical study, aging individuals who were given a combination of uridine, vinpocetine, choline, and a few other nootropics experienced improvements in recall, short-term memory, recognition, and executive functions.

Helps Fight Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Since uridine helps improve neuroplasticity, it can play an important role in fighting depression and bipolar disorder. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adjust itself throughout a person’s life. When the brain becomes inflexible and unable to form new neuronal connections, a person gets set in their ways – something that happens as we age.

For people suffering from depression or bipolar disorder, their negative thought patterns are so ingrained they are supported by solid synaptic networks in their brains. When their brains don’t get the important neurochemicals they need to form new connections, they can’t create new patterns of thought and the individuals can’t change the way they think.

Uridine can enhance and nurture neuroplasticity, allowing people with depression and bipolar disorder to develop new thoughts and positive patterns. Research shows that uridine can ease depression in both adults and children.

In the brain, uridine is converted into a phospholipid. Phospholipids have anti-stress effects and can decrease the negative effects of cortisol. Uridine improves mood and motivation by fighting stress.

Improves Memory and Learning Ability

Uridine has been shown to enhance memory, and its effects are stronger when it is combined with choline. When you take these two together, they improve your crystallized intelligence and memory performance.

Studies done on animals have shown that a mixture of uridine, choline, and DHA can have a significant impact on brain function, memory, and learning. The action uridine has on the central nervous system leads to an improvement in memory function.

It Can Be Helpful in the Prevention of Age-Related Cognitive Decline

Uridine helps boost neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to adapt by forming or changing synaptic connections. Conditions brought on by aging usually reduce the number of synapses or nerve cell intersections where neurotransmitters convey information to the brain and body.

When uridine is taken together with choline and DHA, it can decrease the speed of synaptic decay by boosting the growth of synaptic membrane and activating the techniques through which new synapses are created. It can help with the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Decreases Pain and Inflammation

In one study, people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome were given a daily capsule of uridine, folic acid, and vitamin B12. These lowered their pain intensity as well as the symptoms.

In another study, uridine was mixed with cytidine and vitamin B12 and given to people suffering from hip pain, neck pain, and back pain. They reported less pain after taking the supplements.

Uridine has been shown to alleviate lung fibrosis and inflammation symptoms in mice. It works by lowering pro-inflammatory cytokines.

When uridine was tested on human lung cells, it was observed to have anti-inflammatory effects. All these studies show that uridine is a complementary therapy for many painful conditions – from arthritis to gout.

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Dosage

When taken in dosages not exceeding 1,000 mg per day, uridine is safe and effective. However, some nootropic experts recommend dosages of up to 2 grams per day if you want to achieve the best results.

Uridine’s maximum benefits are experienced when it is mixed with supplements like folate, vitamin B12, and choline. The supplement can be taken together with food or on its own. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult a doctor before you start taking it.

Stacking

The best uridine stacks include some type of choline, like Alpha GPC or CDP choline. Uridine increases the effects of choline from these nootropics, creating acetylcholine in the brain. These stacks can significantly enhance neuroplasticity and can be taken without cycling. The best uridine stacks enhance the function of each ingredient without causing additional side effects.

Scientist using a microscope in a laboratory

Side Effects

Because uridine plays an important role in RNA, our bodies can handle its presence without reacting. Most users of the supplement do not experience any side effects whatsoever. Those that do report minor side effects such as stomach aches and slight headaches, which may occur because of individual sensitivity.

Uridine’s only noteworthy side effect is that it may deplete the levels of B vitamins in the body. Since B vitamins play a crucial role in cellular health, especially vitamin B12, supplementation may be necessary when taking uridine.

Where to Buy Uridine

You can easily buy Uridine supplements from different online sellers. However, we recommend checking out other ingredients that would help you with the same end goals before going out and purchasing just this stand-alone ingredient.

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About the Author

Limidax Team

The Limidax Team includes neuroscientists, researchers, and health coaches. We hope you find these articles useful. If you have any questions at all, always feel free to reach out to us.