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Centrophenoxine Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects & Reviews

Written by Randa Laouar, BS (Biochemistry & Physiology) | Reviewed by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology) | Written by Randa Laouar, BS (Biochemistry & Physiology) | Reviewed by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

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Centrophenoxine is a nootropic and memory booster – one that can improve brain function, learning, and memory. Could it also help you live longer? Read on to learn more about its benefits, mechanisms, and side effects.

What is Centrophenoxine?

Centrophenoxine, also known as Lucidril and Meclofenoxate, is one of the earliest and most studied nootropics or so-called “smart” drugs. Originally developed in 1959, this drug has been used to help age-related brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also used by healthy people to enhance memory and cognitive function and improve overall brain health [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Centrophenoxine is a combination of two chemicals:

  • Dimethyl-aminoethanol (DMAE), which is a natural substance found in some foods (fish, seafood) and in small amounts in the brain. It is a source of choline and has brain-stimulating effects [7].
  • Parachlorphenoxyacetic acid (pCPA), a synthetic version of plant growth hormones called “auxins” [4].

DMAE is the main active component in this drug. DMAE doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier well. However, within centrophenoxine, it can go through the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain effectively [8, 4, 9].

Once it is absorbed in the body, a portion of centrophenoxine breaks down into DMAE and pCPA in the liver. DMAE is then converted to choline, while the remaining centrophenoxine circulates throughout the body [2, 9].

Centrophenoxine works by:

  • Increasing acetylcholine in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter essential for memory and learning [8, 10].
  • Reducing lipofuscin. Lipofuscin is a waste product that builds up in cells (including brain cells) as we age. This is the same waste product that causes brown liver spots on the skin [11, 12].
  • Increasing glucose uptake (more energy) and promoting blood flow (more oxygen) in the brain [13, 14].
  • Increasing RNA production. This increases protein turnover in neurons where worn-out or free radical-damaged proteins can be more effectively replaced [13, 15].
  • Protecting neurons from oxidative stress by boosting antioxidant defenses [3, 16].

Health Benefits

1) Neuroprotective

Centrophenoxine protects nerve cells from oxidative damage due to toxin exposure or stroke. In rats with various types of brain injury, this drug reduced the damage caused by free-radicals and improved the resulting deficits in memory, cognitive function, and movement [8, 17, 18, 14].

This drug increases the activity of major antioxidant enzymes like glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the brain, which may account for its beneficial effects [3, 12].

It also increases brain energy by stimulating glucose uptake and oxygen consumption, which is essential for energy production [13, 19, 3, 20].

2) Improves Learning and Memory

This drug promoted the forming of long-term memories and increased alertness in a study of 60 healthy elderly subjects [21].

It also improved memory in 50 elderly patients with dementia [1].

Centrophenoxine also improved learning and memory in old mice [4].

3) May Improve Mood

Centrophenoxine significantly reduced anxiety in rats exposed to stress [22].

It may also improve mood in humans. In a study of 80 healthy subjects, taking a drug containing DMAE for three months increased energy and improved wellbeing. Therefore, centrophenoxine may improve mood through its active DMAE component [23].

4) May Increase Lifespan

Centrophenoxine extends the lifespan of mice by 30 to 40% [24].

It also reverses the effects of aging in the brain by reducing free radicals and lipofuscin buildup in the rat brain (hippocampus), both of which are linked to neurodegenerative disease [11].

5) May Enhance Cancer Treatment

This drug enhances the action of specific types of cancer drugs that damage cancer cell DNA [25].

Side Effects & Safety

Safety Concerns

Centrophenoxine is generally safe and nontoxic [1, 26, 27].

However, it can raise acetylcholine levels. An excess of acetylcholine could cause mild side effects like nausea, headache, gut issues, and sleeplessness [28].

Although this drug has proven to be beneficial in older individuals, there are no scientific studies to back up its use as a nootropic in young adults.


People with major depression, bipolar disorder, seizure disorders, or Parkinson’s disease should avoid this drug, as too much acetylcholine can worsen these conditions [29, 30, 31, 32, 33].

Also, pregnant women should avoid it because its DMAE component may cause birth defects [34].


This drug comes in powdered form and capsules. Doses used in clinical trials are typically 600 to 2000 mg/day, taken in two divided doses at breakfast and lunch [1, 21, 26].

Some users combine centrophenoxine with racetams.

Combining choline with piracetam enhanced memory in old rats. Since centrophenoxine is a good source of choline, it may enhance the effectiveness of racetams in improving learning and memory [35, 36].

However, there are no human studies that support this combination.

User Reviews

Positive Experiences

Centrophenoxine boosts memory, concentration, and energy:

  • “Definitely notice a focus increase, and there is probably a learning improvement as well. It seems I get more done when taking it, I suspect there is a subtle direct effect on goal orientated motivation”
  • “Keeps the mind sharp”
  • “Centro is definitely slightly stimulating. It also made me more confident and social”
  • “Centro is the only choline supplement I’ve tried but in my experience, it has been very effective when combined with the racetams”

Negative Experiences

On the downside, centrophenoxine caused depression, headaches, and heartburn in some users. Most say it also has a horrible taste and complained of the following:

  • “Prolonged use of high doses of 1000 mg to 1500 mg per day for a week caused depression”
  • “Did have headaches for about a week which wasn’t fun but those have gone away”
  • “I was in a hurry this morning and didn’t have time to take a capsule with a meal so I just took it with some water. 15 minutes later dull heartburn starts. I drank some water and that seemed to help. It subsides around noon and I decide to have my lunch”
  • “It tastes… awful. The only thing I’ve found to kill the taste is taking it with orange juice”


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About the Author

Randa Laouar

BS (Biochemistry & Physiology)

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