Is Cognizin a Scam?

Not A Scam
Not A Scam 
Cognizin

SUMMARY:  Normally we would rate Cognizin a partial scam since it's just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicolin, however, the manufacturer has sponsored a number of public studies on citicolin to increase transparency so we are going to give it a not a scam rating. Despite this, if we were a brand or consumer we would just buy the generic citicolin to save cost. Be careful what products you buy as we found an extremely wide range of Cognizin dosages as well as brands who didnt even disclose the dosage of Cognizin at all.

What is Cognizin?

Cognizin is just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicoline. Citicoline, is a nootropic compound that breaks down into both choline and uridine in the body following oral ingestion. This supplement is designed to prevent and treat memory impairments associated with aging due to the fact that both of the molecules it confers are neuroprotective and potentially enhance learning. It is commonly used as a memory enhancer and one study has noted an increase in attention with low dose citicoline.

Normally, we are highly critical of companies that take a generic ingredient and just slap a fancy sounding trademark on the name but Kyowa Hakko has sponsored studies on Cognizin / Citicolin to broaden our scientific knowledge and understanding of the ingredient which should be lauded. However, they do loose points since 2 of the 3 studies published are behind a paywall and not accessible to normal consumers. 

Cognizin
All the benefits, none of the cost!

The Study and Science

Cognizin is just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicoline. There are a lot of studies done on generic Citicolin. We have linked to the Examine overview here as well as Cognizin's own overview here. Normally, we are highly critical of companies that take a generic ingredient and just slap a fancy sounding trademark on the name but Kyowa Hakko has sponsored studies on Cognizin / Citicolin to broaden our scientific knowledge and understanding of the ingredient which should be lauded. However, they do loose points since 2 of the 3 studies published are behind a paywall and not accessible to normal consumers. 

To the best of our knowledge, Kyowa Hakko has sponsored three studies on citicoline and a brief overview of each is below.

1. The first study is linked here and titled "The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males" which examined the effects of Citicoline on 75 participants (25 in the control group, 25 taking 250mg of Citicoline and 25 taking 500mg of Citicoline). The study concludes that "adolescent males receiving 28 days of Cognizin citicoline showed improved attention and psychomotor speed and reduced impulsivity compared to adolescent males who received placebo". The study also showed that those taking the 500mg dose experienced more benefits then those taking the 250mg dose, in the figure below. More figures in the full study.

2. The second study is linked here (.pdf) and is titled "Cognizin Citicoline Improves Attentional Performance in Healthy Adult Women". Similar to the first study, this examined 60 participants broken into placebo, 250mg and 500mg groups. The study concluded "After 28 days of daily citicoline supplementation, participants who were administered either the 250 mg or the 500 mg citicoline doses showed significantly better ability to produce correct responses on the CPT-II". Similar to the previous study, we see more benefits at 500mg.

After 28 days of supplementation, individuals in the 250 mg group made fewer omission errors and individuals in the 500 mg group made significantly fewer commission errors compared to those in the placebo group.

3. The third study is linked here and titled "Citicoline Enhances Frontal Lobe Bioenergetics as Measured by Phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy". After the previous two studies it seems that Kyowa Hakko dropped the 250mg group and instead focused on 500mg compared to 2000mg. This study shows that Citicoline increases brain energy (ATP) by 14% and Speeds up Formation of Brain Membranes by 26%. Furthrmore, Citicoline increases brain energy (ATP) by 14% and speeds up formation of brain membranes by 26%. This study also seem to reaffirm 500mg would be a correct dose by mentioning "it is noteworthy that changes in ACC phosphorus metabolites tended to be of greater magnitude in subjects who received the 500mg dose than in those receiving the 2000mg dose".

Is Cognizin safe?

Cognizin is just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicoline.  Citicoline is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in powder or pill form for short durations (up to 90 days). The safety of long-term use is not known and there have been no studies done to date. 

In United States, Kyowa Hakko has been marketing the Cognizin trademark of citicoline since the early 1980’s as dietary supplement and created the trademark name in 2004. Cognizin received self-affirmed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status in 2009. This means Kyowa Hakko believes its safe but to the best of our knowledge this GRAS status has not been affirmed by the FDA.

Somewhat perplexingly, Kyowa Hakko self-affirmed GRAS on a 250mg dose of Cognizin but then did most of their studies and got better study results on higher doses at or exceeding 500mg. You would think they would want to affirm that the most studied and beneficial doses are safe as well. 

What are the side effects of Cognizin?

Cognizin is just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicoline. Citicolin is a very well studied ingredient. Citicoline is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in powder or pill form for short durations (up to 90 days). The safety of long-term use is not known and there have been no studies done to date. However, there are a number of possible side effects of Citicoline to be aware of:

Many people who take citicoline don't experience problematic side effects or serious side effects, but some people can have side effects such as trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, blurred vision, chest pains, and others.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking citicoline if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Since Citicoline breaks down into Choline its important to be aware of those side effects as well.

Choline is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth and used appropriately. Doses up to 3 grams daily for pregnant and breast-feeding women up to 18 years of age, and 3.5 grams daily for women 19 years and older are not likely to cause unwanted side effects.

Doses over the Daily Upper Intake Levels above are more likely to cause side effects such as sweating, a fishy body odor, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and vomiting.

There is some concern that increasing dietary choline intake might increase the risk of cancer of the colon and rectum. One study found that women eating a diet that contains a lot of choline have an increased the risk of colon cancer.

What is Cognizin made of?

Cognizin is just a fancy trademark for the generic ingredient citicoline which is also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline (CDP-Choline) or cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine. Citicoline is a nootropic compound that converts to both choline and cytidine upon ingestion.

Claims Test

One of the best tests to gauge substantiation and research is how comfortable do the sports nutrition brands using this ingredient feel making the claims themselves. When buying a branded ingredient, typically a sports nutrition brand will sign a non-disclosure as well as indemnify the ingredient manufacturer, this means the brands hold the branded ingredient manufacturer harmless for any claims they make. With a non-disclosure agreement, the sports nutrition brands “know how the sausage is made” and ultimately they will be responsible and potentially sued for the claims the ingredient allows. If the data substantiating a claim isn’t strong, many wont risk it, although some often will to get ahead in this market. We took and did a break down of the claims of the major Cognizin brand partners from Stack3d, Amazon and Walmart as well as their own website. We will also compare the formulations and see who is dosing Cognizin correctly and what brands are using a lower, non-clinically substantiated dose.

The correct dose of Cognizin is very difficult to narrow down as a number of their studies use a wide range of dosages tested. Of all the studies linked on their website, two of their studies tested 250 mg, six studies tested 500 mg, one tested 1000 mg and three tested 2000 mg. For our chart we are going to assume that 500 mg is the minimum clinical dose since it was tested three times more frequently then the next most popular amount and had better results when compared to 250mg, however, we are giving it the benefit of doubt as a strong argument could be made that even higher doses like 2000 mg is the correct dosage. One of their own studies came to the conclusion of the benefits of the higher 2000 mg dosage. 

In the crossover study, the higher dosage of citicoline (2000mg) was clearly associated with improved immediate and delayed logical memory.

Cognizin is found in a TON of products!

Product

Cognizin in 1 serving

Clinical (500 mg) dose?

+T Life BRAIN GUM???

4+ Nutrition SHOT+ FOCUS???

Power On Power Off???

Cerebral Success SmartX???

Transform HQ Boost Shot50mg

Bionops BIOMACULA100mg

Nariveda COGNI VEDA100mg

Genius Fat Burner100mg

Nature's Bounty Active Mind100mg

Healthy Directions Forward Gold Daily125mg

TSUNAMIPure PROFESSIONA125mg

Scitec Nutrition Superhero125mg

Luciminal TRIPLICITY150mg

NEUROHACKER COLLECTIVE QUALIA MIND150mg

Metabolic Maintenance Brain Cell Support200mg

ProThrivers Wellness Brain250mg

Yamamoto Mega SAUZER250mg

Vital Nutrients Citicoline250mg

Performance Lab Mind250mg

Lyma250mg

NatureWise Women’s Brain Support250mg

Olliscience Ollibrain250mg

Jarrow Formulas Citicoline250mg

Citikolin Cognizin250mg

Vitaminesperpost Citicoline250mg

Alsa Energy250mg

The Vitamin Shoppe Cognizin Citicoline250mg

Life Extension Citicoline250mg

Bulk Powders Complete Nootropic250mg

C4 Energy Natural Zero250mg

Focalis Daily Focus250mg

Meriva Memory Health250mg

Nootropics Depot Citicoline250mg

Juggernaut Energy250mg

Elite Minds Elite Clarity250mg

Natura-Genics Cognitive Complex300mg

Go Life320mg

+T Life Focus Active500mg

Vitacost Synergy Neurocholine500mg

Vital Cell Life CDP Choline500mg

Nutrixeal CéréCholine500mg

Neuraxpharm VIVIFAST500mg

Bestvite Citicoline500mg

CVS Health Extra Strength Cognitive Health500mg

Swanson Vitamins Citicoline1000mg

Featured Products Using Cognazin:

Cerebral Success SmartX

Cerebral Success SmartX
We have never heard of Cerebral Success before and it looks like they might be out of business. Cerebral Success was backed by Barbara Corcoran on Shark Tank who invested $75,000 in Cerebral Success in exchange for 40 percent equity despite them having no clinical studies or proof that the pills work on the show. We can find no information at all on how much Cognizin is in this formulation, on their nutrition label Cognizin is lumped in as a "proprietary blend" with other ingredients. This is very ironic as the founder of Cerebral Success, Trevor Hiltbrand, "according to his LinkedIn account, the BYU graduate recently became CEO of Transparent Labs, which “offers sports supplements with 100% formula transparency and key ingredients included at clinically effective dosages.”

Transform HQ Boost Shot

Transform HQ Boost Shot

We have never heard of Transform HQ before but they have a very clean and natural label design for the Boost Shot. This formulation is designed to "Accelerate Fat Loss, Energy Boost, Mental Clarity". Unfortunately this only features a paltry 50mg of Cognizin. There are capsules with more Cognizin per serving then this product! Ideally we would like to see 10x the amount of Cognizin in this formulation since it really isn't practical to take 10 scoops of this product which would be nearly 1/3 of the entire container. 

Genius Fat Burner

Genius Fat Burner
We normally like products by the Genius brand. Per their description "Genius Burn features 9 clinically backed ingredients in efficacious doses that support both brain health & fat loss". Admittedly, we aren't entirely sure why a fat burner needs cognitive ingredients but even more disappointing is that Genius Burn only features 100mg of Cognizin. Ideally we would like to see 5x the amount in a formulation or at least 2.5x the amount to bring it up to par with other brands. 

Jarrow Formulas Citicoline

Jarrow Formulas Citicoline
The legacy brand Jarrow Formulas tends to stick with with pretty clean formulations and the Jarrow Formulas Citicoline keeps that trend. 250mg of Cognizin Citicoline and literally nothing else on the label, cant get cleaner then that! We would have liked to have seen a higher dose then 250mg or some indication you could get more benefits from taking two servings to hit a 500mg dose. 

The Vitamin Shoppe Cognizin Citicoline

The Vitamin Shoppe Cognizin Citicoline
The Vitamin Shoppe delivers another clean label similar to Jarrow Formulas. 250mg of Cognizin Citicoline and literally nothing else on the label. We would have liked to have seen a higher dose then 250mg or some indication or education for consumers that you could get more benefits from taking two servings to hit a 500mg dose. 

Bulk Powders Complete Nootropic

Bulk Powders Complete Nootropic
We are fans of UK supplement company Bulk Powders. This supplement promises a well rounded and comprehensive mental performance with a formula that features a staggering 17 active ingredients. This product features 250mg of Cognizin Citicoline. Like the other products, we would have liked to have seen a higher dose then 250mg or some indication or education for consumers that you could get more benefits from taking two servings to hit a 500mg dose. 

C4 Energy Natural Zero

C4 Energy Natural Zero
Cellucor C4 Energy Natural Zero is a ready to go drink with zero sugar, zero calories and 120mg of botanical caffeine in each can. This features 250mg of Cognizin. Much like the other products, we would have liked to have seen a higher dose then 250mg or some indication or education for consumers that you could get more benefits from taking two servings to hit a 500mg dose. 

CVS Health Extra Strength Cognitive Health

CVS Health Extra Strength Cognitive Health
CVS Health Extra Strength Cognitive Health is a lot of works for a very clean label. The cognitive health product features a full clinical dose of 500mg of Cognizin per serving, even better a serving is a single capsule and you don't have to take multiple!

Life Extension Citicoline

Life Extension Citicoline
Life Extension Citicoline CDP-Choline features 250mg of Cognizin per serving. Much like the other products, we would have liked to have seen a higher dose then 250mg or some indication or education for consumers that you could get more benefits from taking two servings to hit a 500mg dose. 

Go Life

Go Life
We have never heard of Go Life before but their individually packaged product features Pyruvic Acid, Ginkogo Leaf Extract, Beta-Alanine, Taurine, Niacin, Succinic Acid, Creatine, Caffeine and an interestingly dosed 320mg of Cognizin. While we would like to see 500mg, we do applaud them from doing more then the boilerplate 250mg of Cognizin. One downside is that a single serving is 4 Capsules.

NEUROHACKER COLLECTIVE QUALIA MIND

NEUROHACKER COLLECTIVE QUALIA MIND
The nootropic brand NEUROHACKER COLLECTIVE has recently released Qualia Mind which is a "nootropic supplement that helps support mental performance and brain health". Unfortunately the serving size is 7 capsules and even with needing to take all those pills, they are only giving you 150mg of Cognizin, well short of the 500mg we would like to see or even 250mg like most other products.