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Uridine is a component of RNA that has positive health effects on humans. It can help improve brain function and aid in treating mental disorders, reduce pain, and protect the heart. Read more below to find out all about the benefits of uridine.

Introduction

Uridine is one of 5 nucleosides that make up a nucleic acid. It is an important component of RNA and plays a big role in central nervous system function (R).

In adults, uridine is synthesized in the liver as uridine monophosphate (UMP) and secreted as UMP in the blood. Uridine can also be found as uridine triphosphate or uridine-5′-monophosphate (R).

It is found in many types of plants and is also present in breast milk (R).

Uridine is also involved in the glycolysis pathway (R).

My Personal Experience With Uridine

I’ve been taking uridine on and off for years, and the effects are subtle even when I take experimental dosages (1.5g).

I take this merely because I think it’s helping my brain even if I don’t notice it acutely.  I’m not worried about potential side effects as they seem minor.

I take 250mg of uridine a day (with DHA and choline) as a nootropic to increase cognitive performance over the long term.

Uridine Snapshot

I personally don’t believe uridine increases cancer or heart disease risks are significant, and so I take uridine myself for cognitive enhancement with fish oil and alpha GPC. The studies are brought up just to be inclusive and not leave out information.

Pros

  • Cognitive enhancer
  • Helps protect the brain and improve memory
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • May help treat depression, cystic fibrosis, bipolar disorder, etc.

Cons

  • Wouldn’t recommend if someone already has cancer, heart disease or osteoporosis

Health Benefits of Uridine

1) Uridine is a Cognitive Enhancer

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A combination of uridine, DHA, and choline can help increase the number of synapses that are formed in the brain (R).  These three nutrients have a synergistic effect.

Uridine administration was shown to improve sleep, prevent epilepsy, and promote plasticity (changing of the brain’s structure and function) (R).

Uridine administration helped increase slow wave sleep in sleep-deprived rats (R).

Depending on the dosage, uridine also helped stop epileptic episodes in rats. Three injections a day prevented seizures while only one injection did not do anything (R).

Brain plasticity improved after four continuous days of uridine dosage. Neurite filaments and neurites increased in brain cells (R).

In gerbils, uridine monophosphate with choline and DHA led to enhanced cognitive function. Neurotransmitter increased after supplementation, and the gerbils’ performances on brain exercises greatly improved (R).

Uridine activates the P2Y2 receptor, which helps with neural growth (R).  This receptor synergistically works with Nerve Growth Factor in neuronal development and regeneration.

P2Y2 receptors are required for enhanced neuron creation and increase growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43), a marker for axon growth (R).

The P2Y2 receptor is believed to play an important role in neuroprotection under inflammatory conditions.  The receptors are increased under inflammatory conditions (IL-1b) for this reason (R, R2).

2) Uridine Improves Memory

Long-term exposure to uridine also increases memory in both humans and rats.

When supplemented with choline, verbal and logical memory in humans improved (R).

Uridine can help delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s by stimulating synapse formation (R).

In rats, learning and memory skills improved. Memory dysfunction related to hippocampus damage was also alleviated (R).

Rats given uridine-5′-monophosphate also had increased acetylcholine (R) and dopamine (R).

3) Uridine May Reduce Pain and Inflammation

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Patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome took a daily capsule of uridine monophosphate and folic acid + vitamin B12. Their pain score was lowered as well as the intensity of pain and symptoms (R).

Oral administration of uridine triphosphate combined with vitamin B12 and cytidine resulted in less back, neck, and hip pain in humans (R).

Uridine supplementation was also shown to relieve inflammation and lung fibrosis symptoms in mice by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines (R).

When testing was done on human lung cells, uridine also showed anti-inflammatory effects (R).

4) Uridine May Help Protect the Heart

When there is not enough blood supply to the heart, it prevents the heart from receiving enough oxygen. In rats, uridine and uridine-5′-monophosphate can both normalize the heart and stabilize the heart’s rhythm by increasing blood flow (R).

Uridine triphosphate can lessen heart contractions during heart attacks by activating P2Y2 receptors (R).

Uridine/Adenosine causes increased blood flow (through eNOS via P2Y2 receptor) and reduced high blood pressure in mice (R).

5) Uridine May Restore Liver Growth

In rats, after liver transplants, uridine treatment can help restore liver regeneration. Liver and liver cell growth were both completely restored (R).

6) Uridine May Help Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Mitochondrial Function

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Bipolar disorder may be influenced by mitochondrial dysfunction. Uridine has been proven effective in preventing problems with the mitochondria in human cells (R).  

In 7 adolescent humans, uridine treatment was helpful in preventing depressive symptoms. The patients did not undergo any negative effects and did not go through any adverse events (R).

In rats, uridine alleviates symptoms of depression (R).

7) Uridine Supplementation May Helps With HIV-Related Problems

HIV-positive patients have a lower uridine level in their blood than healthy patients (R).

HIV-positive patients may experience a loss of fat in parts of the body. In HIV-infected humans, 24 weeks of uridine supplementation resulted in an increase in limb fat. However, this effect was not shown after 48 weeks, but it could be due to the weak dose of uridine and does not mean that there is not a beneficial effect (R).

Long-term antiretroviral therapy used to treat HIV might result in problems with the mitochondria in human patients’ cells and cause toxicity. Uridine supplementation in humans can reverse the toxic effects and prevent mitochondrial depletion (R).

8) Uridine May Help Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system (R).

Uridine 5′-triphosphate and amiloride can enhance airway and clear mucus in adult human cystic fibrosis patients. They can clear the airways of patients to almost normal levels (R).

Uridine can lessen thick secretions in the lungs and make it easier to get rid of mucus (via increased Chloride secretion). Uridine triphosphate, with the addition of sodium channel blockers, can also relieve cystic fibrosis symptoms in mice (R).

Uridine might help in lung diseases in general. Uridine has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties in animals and human cells (inhibited collagen and TGF-ß synthesis in the lungs) (R).

9) Uridine Helps Nerve Pain

In a double-blind trial with 400 people, the combination of vitamin B12, uridine and cytidine was found to be safe and effective in the treatment of nerve pain in the population studied, and was better than B12 alone. The pain reduction observed in both groups may be attributed to activity of the uridine and cytidine (R).

This study was testing nerve pain that arose from “neural compression associated with degenerative orthopedic alterations and trauma.”

Other

  • Uridine can blunt the increase in dopamine from cocaine (in striatum) (R).
  • Uridine significantly elevated Uridine Triphosphate (UTP) and CDP-choline levels (R).

Side Effects of Uridine

If you already have cancer, thickened heart valves, osteoporosis, or diabetes, I would not take uridine.

High doses of uridine can induce fevers and cause diarrhea in humans (R).

Most of the negative effects listed are dependent on activation of P2Y2 receptors. However, It’s also important to note that ATP activates the same receptors and ATP is ubiquitous in the body.

1) Uridine and Cancer

Usage of uridine may be carcinogenic (R).

Uridine triphosphate can activate the P2Y2 receptor. The P2Y2 receptor increased the spread of human pancreatic cancer cells in bovine cell samples (in vitro) (R).

P2Y2R and uridine triphosphate may play an important role in cancer metastasis when tested in breast cancer lines (R).

Activation of P2Y2 receptor could promote prostate cancer cell invasion and metastasis in vitro and in vivo via regulating the expressions of some epithelial-mesenchymal transition/invasion-related genes (including IL-8, E-cadherin, Snail and Claudin-1) (R).

It could also increase and help spread liver cancer in a cell model (R).

Another possible way that uridine can cause cancer is by incorporating itself (Uracil) into DNA instead of Thymine (R, R2).  If this were a mechanism, then adequate folate should help.

In contrast, dietary uridine supplementation reduced intestinal tumor number and tumor burden by 40% relative to the control diet in mice (R).

2) Uridine Triphosphate and Heart Disease

In rats, uridine triphosphate induced processes in the heart that lead to fibrosis (by activating P2Y2 receptors). Fibrosis, which results in thickening of heart valves, might lead to heart failure (R).

3) Uridine and Insulin Resistance

In rats, large amounts of uridine infused into the blood causes insulin resistance (R).

In humans, patients with diabetes had higher concentrations of uridine than healthy patients (R).

However, when human cells were tested, uridine diphosphate and uridine triphosphate were shown to increase insulin secretion (R).

4) Uridine Triphosphate Can Inhibit Bone Formation

Uridine triphosphate (via the P2Y2 receptor on bone cells) at low concentrations strongly inhibit bone mineralization and formation (via P2Y2) (RR).

Uridine triphosphate prevented bone creation and increased fat cells (R).

However, a different cell study found UTP promotes bone mineralization, by increasing various bone growth factors (via the P2Y2 receptor) (R).

Other

Activating P2Y2 receptors can increase inflammatory cytokines such as IL6, IL8, and Lymphotoxin-a (R, R, R).

Is Uridine Right For You?

Uridine Triphosphate stimulates the P2Y2 receptor, which is the pathway by which it stimulates neurons.

A point I bring up often is the cancer/autoimmune tradeoff.  P2RY2 activation is good for autoimmune conditions, but not so great for most cancer:

P2RY2 enhances proliferation, adhesion, migration of cancer and increases the immune suppressive ability of Tregs.

Activation of T Regulatory Cells (Tregs) is on the whole bad for cancer, but good for autoimmune conditions.

Uridine SNPs

If you have 23andme, you can check these SNPs out:

  1. RS10898909 (P2RY2)
  2. RS1783596 (P2RY2)
  3. RS4944831 (P2RY2)

Sources of Uridine

Buy Uridine

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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12 COMMENTS

  • Marieke

    Hi Joseph , would uridine be helpfull for a DRD1 and DRD2 gene mutation ? If not what other supplement(s) do you reccomend for those mutations ?

  • Kevin

    I see you pointed toward several genes I can checkout if I have 23 and me…but what exactly am I looking for when I look at these?

  • douglas Gerard

    I would suggest you get your uridine from natural sources like beer or vegetables and NOT pills…more and more otc vitamin supplements are being blamed for numerous health problems when taken in excess dosage

  • Tom

    So uridine will get the brain working right, but might cause cancer, although that scary proposition is mostly a hypothesis in need of more testing at this point. Sometimes facts as they are presently known are disappointingly ambiguous when it comes to decisions about what to use or not to use. It seems uridine exists in that no man’s land at this time.

  • eddie

    would cdp choline or alpha gpc be a better option ??

  • Garry

    What is the difference between pharmacological use of uridine which increases risk of cancer versus dietary supplementation which reduces risk of cancer. Uridine monophosphate seems to have numerous benefits which I would like to explore, but I do not want to increase the risk of cancer. How can Uridine monophospate be taken without increasing risk of cancer? ie. supplementally. Is this by keeping dosage below a certain level or by combining with other nutrients? Thank you.

  • Thepractice

    These “21 Benefits of Supplement X” and “All you need to know about supplement Y” articles are dissapointing me. Seem to be for SEO purposes.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Why are they disappointing?

      I’m trying to build up a supplement database.

      1. Jessie

        This is the most comprehensively researched and referenced article I could find online about Uridine UMP. Most blog articles are simply anecdotal or just repeat what they’ve read on other sites without any scientific references. This article is a thorough overview of uridine in the literature, and while each statement is not necessarily analyzed here, all statements are referenced to lead you into your own investigation. Not at all disappointing.

    2. John jihn

      I agree

      1. John jihn

        I agree to some extend, but they are still helpful… They give a good overall overview but they lack in the aspect of getting a deeper understanding of the substance and how it works.. I feel like they should be some kind of sidebar material.. These articles are also less likely to be affected by tunnel vision..

  • Graeme
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