Uridine is a component of RNA that can improve brain function, relieve depression and nerve pain, and protect the heart. Research shows it can strengthen and restructure brain synapses, improving learning ability and memory.
You’ve heard of DNA, the little double helix that codes for all your genes, but have you heard of its related molecule: RNA? Where DNA stores your genetic information, RNA (which stands for ribonucleic acid) translates it into proteins. To do this, RNA uses a ribonucleotide called uridine to translate the DNA code. In addition to its role in RNA, uridine helps the body break down sugar to produce energy. It plays a large role in brain and cognitive function. In the elderly, the liver produces uridine in the form of uridine monophosphate (UMP) and secretes it into the blood. Uridine can also exist as uridine triphosphate or uridine-5′-monophosphate.
Among the health benefits of uridine are:
- May improve cognitive function
- May reduce nerve pain
- May protect mitochondria
- May improve symptoms of lung disease
- May help with depression and bipolar disorder
- May improve sleep quality
Uridine-5′-monophosphate is a natural compound and can be taken in the form of a dietary supplement. It supports cognitive functions, synaptic connections between neurons, sleep, dopamine functioning, and more.
Because it can cross the blood-brain barrier, uridine is involved in several important processes in the brain and nervous system, including maintaining the fatty membranes of cells and creating connections between neurons. This chemical compound binds to receptors in the brain called P2Y2, P2Y4, P2Y6, and P2Y14.
What are food sources of uridine?
Uridine is present in various plants and is also found in large amounts in breast milk.
Food sources of uridine include:
- pork and beef liver,
- brewer’s yeast.
Uridine is also found in sugar beets, nuts and fish. When consumed, uridine is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Adding choline and fish oil to uridine consumption increases its absorption by the body.
Consumption of RNA-rich foods can lead to high levels of purines (adenosine and guanosine) in the blood. High levels of purines are known to increase uric acid production and can lead to conditions such as gout. Moderate consumption of products containing RNA, such as yeast, in amounts of about 5 grams per day, can provide the necessary uridine without causing significant side effects.
Health benefits of taking Uridine Monophosphate
- Supports cognitive ability and sleep
Uridine monophosphate (UMP) has been linked to improving cognitive ability and brain function. Uridine has been shown to work synergistically with other dietary ingredients, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and choline, to improve cognitive processes and brain function.
Uridine is naturally present in breast milk and plays an important role in promoting sleep not only in infants but also in the elderly. This nucleotide plays a key role in infant brain development and supporting sleep rhythm.
In the adult liver, uridine is produced in the form of uridine monophosphate (UMP) and this process influences sleep. Uridine works as a neuromodulator that stimulates brain activity and circadian rhythm, which is important for establishing the sleep cycle in adults. It can promote relaxation and help restore physical and mental performance.
- Improves memory
Prolonged use of uridine has shown positive effects on memory. It has been found to improve both verbal and logical memory in humans. Uridine has also been shown to help slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, as it stimulates the formation of synapses in the brain. A study conducted on rats showed improvement in learning skills and optimization of memory.
- Reduces inflammation
A study conducted on patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome showed promising results in reducing the general pain that is characteristic of this condition. Evidence from clinical trials shows that when uridine is combined with vitamin B12 and folic acid, it can dramatically reduce pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. It also successfully reduces the number of affected areas. These effects have been confirmed by numerous other trials and studies looking at conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy. Because uridine was always used in combination during this study, science is not yet able to say definitively whether it alone has enough of an effect on these conditions.
Administration of uridine also reduced and alleviated inflammation and symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. It works by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines. Tests done on human lung cells also confirmed these findings and showed that uridine has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Protects the heart
Uridine appears to play an important role in protecting the heart and improving heart function by promoting blood flow and heart rhythm. Studies conducted on rats have shown that uridine is able to effectively normalize heart rhythm. This process is critical to maintaining normal heart function and preventing heart problems. Uridine has the ability to reduce high blood pressure. This effect is achieved by increasing the blood flow in the blood vessels, which helps the relaxation of the vessels and therefore reduces the pressure in them. This mechanism is important in preventing hypertension and other cardiovascular problems.
- Beneficial effect in depression and bipolar disorder
There is extensive scientific research that focuses on the effects of uridine in the context of mental health – in conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. This chemical improves mitochondrial function, which is often compromised in the brains of people suffering from mental disorders.
Uridine has proven to be a powerful tool in helping to restore the healthy function of mitochondria, which are responsible for energy production in cells. Improving mitochondrial function may be essential in supporting healthy brain function in people affected by mental disorders.
In addition, research has shown that uridine contributes to the improvement of the structure of nerves in the cell membrane. This process can support more efficient communication between neurons and strengthen cell membranes. This process plays an important role in optimizing brain function and improving mental health in people suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.