Uridine is a non-essential nutrient that is present in every organism. It is an essential component of ribonucleic acid (RNA) – the messenger molecule that delivers instruction to DNA, enabling protein synthesis in all cells of the body.
Uridine is a glycosylated pyrimidine-analog. It contains uracil – one of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid RNA – attached to a ribose ring (a simple sugar) via a glycosidic bond.
Uridine is produced by organisms as needed. It is also available as a supplement and has been studied for use in medical applications.
How it Works
Supplementary uridine is synthesized in the liver and then secreted in the blood as uridine monophosphate.
Studies have demonstrated that the translation level of in vitro transcribed messenger RNA (mRNA) is facilitated through the use of “pseudouridines” (structurally-varied uridine). Researchers determined that in vitro (outside the body) transcripts containing uridine activate RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) phosphorylates (attaches a molecule to a phosphoryl group) and inhibits translation. Since mRNAs that contain pseudouridine activate PKR to a lesser degree, it was shown that pseudouridine-containing mRNAs were not repressed. Accordingly, RNA pull-down assays demonstrated that mRNA containing uridine is bound by PKR more efficiently when compared to pseudouridine.
Studies results indicated that the lower activation of PKR mediates the enhanced translation of mRNAs containing pseudouridine (when compared to uridine). This led researchers to conclude that the use of pseudouridine enhances the effect of mRNA.
Additional research studies have also suggested that uridine increases the amount of neurite branching in addition to the number of neurites per cell. Neurites are projections from the cell body of a neuron – a nerve cell that communicates with other cells in the brain. Enhanced neurite outgrowth and branching are strongly associated with improved cognition.
Treatment Outcomes Uridine
Besides its primary function is as a component of RNA, uridine is reported to have a variety of cognitive and physical benefits that include:
Enhanced Learning and Memory Ability
Research suggests that a combination of uridine, choline and DHA can improve learning ability. Uridine has also been shown to positively affect the central nervous system in a way that improved memory.
Additionally, a group of older adults administered uridine in combination with vinpocetine, choline and other supplemental cognitive enhancers demonstrated improvement in short-term memory, recall, recognition and executive function.
Animal studies conducted in the early 2000s have suggested that test subjects treated with a combination of uridine and choline demonstrated improved spatial learning and enhanced focus.
Improves Mental Disorders
Anecdotal evidence from uridine users claims that it can improve mood, fight depression and combat bipolar disorder. Animal studies have suggested that uridine can upregulate the production and release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that can bring feelings of reward and pleasure.
Supplementation with uridine supplementation has also been shown in studies to help with symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. It has also been shown to improve bipolar disorder through its critical role in phospholipid synthesis.
May Help Alzheimer’s Disease Patients
Many cognitive diseases in the elderly result from a decrease in the number of synapses – “bridges” between neurons of the brain that send information.
A research paper documented that the administration of phosphatide precursors such as uridine to experimental animals increased the levels of phosphatides and synaptic proteins in the brain. An additional effect observed was that the treatment increased the number of dendritic spines on hippocampal neurons. These observations led to the researcher’s suggestions that similar therapy to adults with Alzheimer’s disease could be beneficial.
Additional Uridine Research Studies
Research concerning the bioavailability of uridine is somewhat mixed. Researchers at Handschumacher’s Laboratory at Yale School of Medicine found that uridine is destroyed in the liver and gastrointestinal tract and that uridine-containing foods have not been reliably shown to elevate levels of uridine in the blood.
Alternative research has shown that plasma uridine levels rose after beer consumption, suggesting that the ethanol in beer may contribute to the overall uridine level increase. Accordingly, infants that consume mother’s milk have demonstrated the increased circulation of uridine in the digestive tract as bioavailable monophosphate.
Effect on the Brain
A report by Harvard researchers suggests that omega-3 fatty acids in conjunction with uridine (both present in fish, walnuts, molasses, and sugar beets) displayed similar efficacy in preventing depression in rats. “Giving rats a combination of uridine and omega-3 fatty acids produced immediate effects that were indistinguishable from those caused by giving the rats standard antidepressant medications,” said lead author of the study William Carlezon, director of McLean’s Behavioral Genetics Laboratory.
Uridine as an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient
An active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) can be part of a drug that produces an intended effect. Combination therapies that include multiple active ingredients can work together to address varying symptoms as part of a treatment.
API production is typically conducted by pharmaceutical companies in their base country of operation. Some corporations have sent manufacturing overseas to cut costs, necessitating more rigorous guidelines and inspections by health authorities to ensure high quality, safety and efficacy.
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
GMPs are practices required to conform to guidelines recommended by agencies that control licensing and authorization of both the manufacture and sale of cosmetics, food, beverages, dietary supplements, medical equipment and pharmaceutical products.
GMP guidelines provide requirements that manufacturers must meet to ensure their products demonstrate high quality across batches. GMP’s primary purpose is to prevent harm to the consumer.
Medica Pharma partners with GMP manufacturers and specialty labs globally to establish and maintain strong professional relationships, allowing us to source and provide the highest quality chemical products on the market.