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.
What is Uridine?
Uridine is one of 5 nucleotides that make up a nucleic acid. It is an important component of RNA, is involved in the glycolysis pathway, and plays a big role in central nervous system function [1, 2].
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 .
It is found in many types of plants and is also present in breast milk .
- Cognitive enhancer
- Helps protect the brain and improve memory
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- May help treat depression, cystic fibrosis, bipolar disorder, etc.
- Not recommended for those with cancer, heart disease or osteoporosis
Health Benefits of Uridine
1) Cognitive Enhancer
Brain plasticity improved after four continuous days of uridine dosage. Neurite filaments and neurites increased in brain cells .
Uridine administration was also shown to improve sleep, prevent epilepsy, and promote plasticity (changing of the brain’s structure and function) .
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 .
P2Y2 receptors are required for enhanced neuron creation and increase growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43), a marker for axon growth .
2) Improves Memory
Long-term exposure to uridine also increases memory in both humans and rats.
Uridine can help delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s by stimulating synapse formation .
In rats, learning and memory skills improved. Memory dysfunction related to hippocampus damage was also alleviated .
3) May Reduce Pain and Inflammation
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 .
Oral administration of uridine triphosphate combined with vitamin B12 and cytidine resulted in less back, neck, and hip pain in humans .
Uridine supplementation was also shown to relieve inflammation and lung fibrosis symptoms in mice by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines .
When testing was done on human lung cells, uridine also showed anti-inflammatory effects .
4) 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 .
Uridine/Adenosine causes increased blood flow (through eNOS via P2Y2 receptor) and reduced high blood pressure in mice .
5) 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 .
6) May Help Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Mitochondrial Function
Bipolar disorder may be influenced by mitochondrial dysfunction. Uridine has been proven effective in preventing problems with the mitochondria in human cells .
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 .
In rats, uridine alleviates symptoms of depression .
7) Supplementation May Helps With HIV-Related Problems
HIV-positive patients have a lower uridine level in their blood than healthy patients .
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 .
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 .
8) May Help Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system .
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 .
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 .
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) .
9) 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 the activity of the uridine and cytidine .
This study was testing nerve pain that arose from “neural compression associated with degenerative orthopedic alterations and trauma.”
- Uridine can blunt the increase in dopamine from cocaine (in the striatum) .
- Uridine significantly elevated Uridine Triphosphate (UTP) and CDP-choline levels .
Risks & 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 .
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.
Usage of uridine may be carcinogenic .
P2Y2R and uridine triphosphate may play an important role in cancer metastasis when tested in breast cancer lines .
Activation of the 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) .
It could also increase and help spread liver cancer in a cell model .
In contrast, dietary uridine supplementation reduced intestinal tumor number and tumor burden by 40% relative to the control diet in mice.
2) 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 .
3) Insulin Resistance
In humans, patients with diabetes had higher concentrations of uridine than healthy patients .
Higher uridine was associated with higher HbA1c in children with type 1 diabetes .
4) Decreased Bone Density
Uridine triphosphate prevented bone creation and increased fat cells .
However, a different cell study found UTP promotes bone mineralization, by increasing various bone growth factors (via the P2Y2 receptor) .
Sources of Uridine
- Nutritional Yeast
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Beer 
- Breast Milk 
- Vegetables: mushrooms, broccoli, oats, etc. 
- Meat (pig and cow liver and pancreas) and fish 
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 cancer/autoimmune tradeoff. P2RY2 activation is good for autoimmune conditions, but not so great for most cancer:
Activation of T Regulatory Cells (Tregs) is on the whole bad for cancer, but good for autoimmune conditions.
If you have your genetics sequenced, you can check these SNPs out in the P2RY2 gene:
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