Now even if you don’t have any idea about human genetics, I am still pretty sure that you must have heard about DNA and RNA at some point in your life.
Perhaps if the latter is true, let me give you an overview of what DNA and RNA really are because this is how we are going to lead to today’s topic.
DNA is the Deoxyribonucleic acid while RNA is abbreviated for Ribonucleic acid.
Understanding physiology is a bit important here; so DNA constitutes the genetic make-up of the organisms, and DNA leads to the synthesis of RNA.
RNA subsequently allows the body to synthesize all the proteins that the human body requires.
Now if you understand this, the question that might pop up is what is RNA made up of?
Structurally RNA contains a base, ribose sugar, and a phosphate group attached to it.
Now there are 4 possible bases that can make up RNA, and Uridine is one of them.
Pretty sure you would have guessed the topic by now!
We are talking about Uridine monophosphate which has gained quite some popularity as a nootropic in the recent past and also offers a wide array of benefits for other major body systems.
I will make sure that this article is comprehensive enough to help you make your decision on whether Uridine monophosphate should be your go-to nootropic or not!
What is Uridine Monophosphate?
Uridine monophosphate, also sometimes referred to as 5′-uridylic acid, is one of the nucleotide bases used to synthesize RNA.
To be very precise, it contains a Uridine base, a pentose sugar, and a phosphate group attached to it (1).
Uridine is found in every living organism on earth. It is a critical component of RNA, which works with DNA to allow life to occur.
Outside of this critical role, uridine positively affects many aspects of our cognition and health that we will talk about later in the article.
Our liver synthesizes Uridine monophosphate and releases it into the blood circulation. Perhaps because of the much lesser biosynthesis of UMP, it is important to be acquired from the diet.
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 use up a supplement. Supplementation has been shown to offer nootropic benefits.
Mechanism of Action
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, thus benefiting cognition.
A variety of mechanisms that UMP follows are as follows:
- 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. (2)
PC is critical when it comes to producing neurites, which are projections from the neurons. 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 the growth of neurites from the cell involves an increase in the surface area of the cell, it is dependent upon membrane biosynthesis. 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.
Increases Acetylcholine Levels
Memory, learning, and focus are some of the benefits offered by nootropics, including those of the racetam family, which are largely a result of boosting acetylcholine (ACh) levels. Drugs that enhance the concentration of ACh in the brain are said to have a cholinergic action.
Phosphatidylcholine is used in the synthesis of ACh, thus the boost in PC levels due to uridine can help to improve your ACh concentration and cognitive abilities.
Boosts Dopamine Release
Uridine has been found to enhance 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.
Benefits of Uridine Monophosphate
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 down 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 have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
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. (3,4) 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.
Enhances and Prolongs Attention
Dopamine is known to help motivate, while acetylcholine is known to improve memory, learning, and focus. As UMP upregulates the release of both of these neurotransmitters, UMP 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. (5)
Anxiety and Stress
Some users of UMP reported reduced feelings of anxiety and stress. This is possible because uridine leads 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 receptors are involved when it comes to having a good night’s sleep. In rats, uridine was shown to help enhance sleep quality by increasing the duration of deep sleep in those who were deprived of sleep. (6,7)
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 reported. (8)
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 such as 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. (9)
While this study did not examine why this effect happened, it leaves hope for protecting cognitive function in those with high blood pressure.
Prevents Cognitive Decline and Neurological Conditions
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 associated cognitive decline. (10)
Additionally, diseases such as Alzheimer’s are accompanied by deficiencies in synapses and synaptic membranes. In order to treat these deficiencies and possibly avoid them in the first place, supplementation with uridine, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA are found promising.
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.
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.
Might Treat Dry Eye Syndrome
While this part needs more research, one of the clinical trials showed that Uridine stimulated the production of tears and proved effective in managing and treating dry eyes.
Again this area also needs more focused research but some small studies suggest that UMP supplementation can lead to improved heart rate and normal rhythm.
It is hypothesized that UMP may activate P2Y2 receptors, thus leading to improved blood flow.
Typically uridine is taken between 500-1,000 mg/day.
Just like most other supplements, you are more susceptible to experiencing adverse effects if you take more than the standard dosage.
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 so the key plan here is to remain in optimal dosage.
How To Take Uridine Monophosphate?
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 it on an empty stomach.
Let’s dig into what people really have to say about this supplement and whether the anecdotal evidence from Reddit really backs up the clinical research.
“It’s only been two days but I’m hoping this will last. I’ve tried so many nootropics and this is one of the few that worked immediately.
I feel clear-minded with clean energy. Also, much more motivation. I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety and diminished mental capacity since late August. I’ve slowly been making progress but have had some lingering issues. Uridine seems to be bringing me back to myself.”
“I had a brain injury and my memory and cognitive skills went to shit. I have started using uridine and the most noticeable benefit is memory. I perform much better on human benchmarks and visual memory tests when using uridine.
Uridine is giving me my life back but I’m scared of the long term effects”
One of the users left a comment,
“I, amongst many other Nootropic users consistently report that Uridine Monophosphate wakes up our brains, improves mood, and memory, and reduces anxiety. It is a remarkable compound in my opinion. I have been using it for over 1.5 years now (cycled of course).”
Stoic Druid said,
“I hope you get better. I remember taking Uridine and feeling hyperstimulated. I was taking so many other things at the time I’m not sure what I can attribute the Uridine to.”
Many of the benefits of uridine are boosted when other nootropics are added in. Below are some of the possible options that you can consider for stacking.
Uridine and Alpha GPC
Multiple studies and user reviews have found that pairing a quality choline source with Uridine Monophosphate can enhance the benefits.
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 offers 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.
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 increased levels of uridine in the brain.
CDP-Choline breaks down into choline and cytidine, and cytidine is then metabolized into uridine.
Uridine and DHA
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 together, 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.
Where To Buy Uridine Monophosphate Supplements?
Uridine Monophosphate is easily found through numerous reputable online vendors. This is because the customer base of UMP is quite massive.
Read about the vendors below and choose any of them because all of them are on top in the market.
Uridine Monophosphate by Pure Nootropics
Uridine monophosphate capsules offered by Pure Nootropics is one of the quality options that you can add to your bucket.
The 60 vegetarian servings of UMP supplement with each serving comprising 250mg will cost you $16.99 and is pretty economical if we compare its immense nootropic and other health effects.
Also, if you subscribe to Pure Nootropics, you would save an additional 10% as well.
With extremely fast shipping, secure and diverse payment options such as Bitcoin, etc, and a handful of satisfied customers, Pure Nootropics definitely attempts to make your cognitive health better and more effective.
Is Uridine Monophosphate Legit?
The answer to this is straight away, Yes!
Research and user experience pretty much back each other. UMP seems to follow the mechanism of actions that can yield nootropic effects as well as other health benefits.
Now the question is whether you should take UMP alone or is it more beneficial if you stack it?
If you were to take my opinion, it will be better if you stack it with other potent nootropics such as Alpha GPC, etc. Stacking will give you enhanced nootropic effects and you will experience benefits with full awareness.
What is uridine good for?
In humans, uridine is an important precursor of cytidine diphosphate (CDP)-choline, which plays a critical role in phospholipid synthesis and is currently being evaluated as a potential treatment for bipolar depression.
Is uridine a nucleoside monophosphate?
Uridine monophosphate (UMP), also known as 5′-uridylic acid (conjugate base uridylate), is a nucleotide that is used as a monomer in RNA. It is an ester of phosphoric acid with the nucleoside uridine.
What are the benefits of uridine monophosphate?
The evidence from clinical trials shows that when uridine is combined with vitamin B12 and folic acid, it can dramatically reduce the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. It is also successful in reducing the number of areas that are affected.
Is uridine monophosphate water soluble?
Uridine monophosphate is soluble (in water) and a moderately acidic compound (based on its pKa).
Can you take uridine every day?
Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Uridine triacetate must be taken every 6 hours or 4 times per day. You will take a total of 20 doses for the full treatment. It should take 5 full days to complete all doses.
Does uridine increase acetylcholine?
Dietary supplementation with uridine-5′-monophosphate (UMP), a membrane phosphatide precursor, increases acetylcholine levels.
Does uridine increase insulin resistance?
The precise mechanism underlying the correlation between uridine and insulin resistance remains to be investigated. The combined effects of reduced liver insulin signaling activity and increased gluconeogenesis clearly contributed to the increase in blood glucose levels.