Centrophenoxine: All You Need to Know

In 1959, the development of centrophenoxine by French scientists represented a breakthrough discovery, and it helped to birth nootropics as we know them today. With many prospective benefits, there’s a lot to know about this legendary nootropic.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you need to know.

What is Centrophenoxine?

Centrophenoxine has been used for well over fifty years, and it laid the foundation for many of today’s most popular nootropics, while still remaining popular in its own right.

Originally created as a drug to combat the cognitive decline that comes with aging, centrophenoxine is mostly comprised of DMAE (dimethylethanolamine), which is an amine that occurs naturally inside your brain. DMAE slows choline metabolism, which allows your brain to produce more acetylcholine (ACh).

However, the issue with DMAE on its own is that it has difficulty passing the blood-brain barrier, so very little, if any DMAE can be absorbed when administered on its own. To circumvent this, pCPA (parachlorphenoxyacetic acid) is added, which helps DMAE make it through the blood-brain barrier, helping with bioavailability.

Centrophenoxine is available by prescription in many countries under the brand name Lucidril, but it’s available in the United States without a prescription.

Centrophenoxine benefits

Most importantly, what kind of benefits does centrophenoxine provide? With over fifty years of research, there seems to be a strong case for the benefits of centrophenoxine as a helpful nootropic that helps support memory recall and formation while inhibiting brain aging.

By increasing acetylcholine activity in the brain, short-term memory and cognition are both improved, which are two of the foremost benefits of centrophenoxine.

This powerful nootropic also helps to remove free radicals from the brain, which become more abundant in cell membranes as we age. These free radicals are caused by oxidation, and also include heavy metal waste that must be removed. When our bodies can’t cleanse these free radicals quickly enough, lipofuscin can form.

While you may not be familiar with it by name, you’ve seen lipofuscin before, as it manifests as age or liver spots in older individuals. Just as your skin can show these spots, so can other cells throughout your brain and body. Centrophenoxine also helps to eradicate lipofuscin from brain cells.

In one study, centrophenoxine was administered to older animals, and they had an increased lifespan by 30-50% when compared to the control group. While we’re not ready to profess centrophenoxine as the anti-aging wonder drug, this research certainly gives credence to further study on the topic.

With age comes changes in brain chemistry and metabolism. Our cell membranes degenerate, and acetylcholine production decline. These changes are also major factors in the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There also may be a link between centrophenoxine and brain damage, as one study has drawn positive conclusions. In a study of brain injury on an aging mammalian brain, researchers concluded that centrophenoxine might support rehabilitation from brain injuries including post-apoplectic stroke and cerebral atrophy.

How does Centrophenoxine work?

Even though it’s been studied for over half a century, researchers are still unable to pin down the exact mechanism by which centrophenoxine works. For the most part, scientists have nailed it down to one of two theories.

Once inside the brain, centrophenoxine is either converted to a phospholipid which aids in acetylcholine production. Or, centrophenoxine is broken down into choline, which then facilitates the production of acetylcholine.

Regardless of the mechanism involved, what is clear is that the increased cholinergic activity is the catalyst for the nootropic benefits of centrophenoxine.

As an antioxidant, centrophenoxine also works to remove free radicals and toxins from brain cells so that they can be excreted from the body.

Centrophenoxine side effects

Having been developed some sixty years ago, there’s been plenty of time to document the side effects and interactions that centrophenoxine may present.

Centrophenoxine is non-toxic, and most people experience no side effects from this nootropic, nor are there any drug interactions with centrophenoxine that are known at this time.

However, those with epilepsy or seizures of any kind, and those with high blood pressure should avoid this nootropic. You should also avoid centrophenoxine if you’re currently being treated for bipolar disorder or depression.

There are a few common side effects, and they include:

  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Jitteriness

These side effects are often mild, and most people tolerate centrophenoxine quite well. Many neurohackers will stack centrophenoxine with other nootropics, at which point, it becomes even more important to be mindful of potential side effects. If you experience any side effects while taking centrophenoxine, discontinue use, or cut your dose.

Centrophenoxine dosage

This nootropic is widely available online and over-the-counter, and it can be found in both pill and capsule form. Capsules are usually 250-400mg each. Since it’s water-soluble, centrophenoxine doesn’t need fat or oil to act as a carrier, but you may find that it absorbs better when taken with a meal.

An acceptable dosage for centrophenoxine can range from 500-1,200mg per day. Users can either take their entire daily dose in the morning, or split it into two doses; one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.

We recommend starting with a daily dose of 500mg and adjusting from there as necessary. When stacking centrophenoxine with other nootropics, you’ll need to adjust your dosage to around half.

Those who are dealing with a traumatic brain injury or age-related cognitive decline often take a considerably larger dose, which can eclipse 2,000mg per day. Doses this large should be avoided by anyone without need and should come at the recommendation of a physician.

Centrophenoxine stacks

Many neurohackers will stack different nootropics to improve the effectiveness of each component. It’s critically important that you exercise proper caution when stacking different nootropics to ensure that you aren’t doing anything dangerous, or inviting unwanted side effects into the picture.

Since centrophenoxine appears to increase choline production in the brain, it’s a popular addition to racetam stacks, and it seems to interact well with oxiracetam, phenylpiracetam, aniracetam, or piracetam.

Since centrophenoxine doesn’t actually provide additional choline, you may also choose to include another choline source in your stack, such as Alpha GPC or something similar.

Another popular stack combines centrophenoxine with huperzine A, as huperzine A is also a cholinergic compound, and it appears to add to the overall effect of centrophenoxine compared to when either is taken on their own.

Finally, centrophenoxine and modafinil are another popular nootropic stack. The memory enhancing and neuroprotective properties of centrophenoxine are well documented, but since it does little to address focus or concentration, many neurohackers have searched for an addition that allows them to take advantage of as many nootropic benefits as possible.

Enter modafinil, a powerful nootropic that can enhance memory and concentration, and you have a match made in heaven. Since modafinil is restricted in many countries, including the United States, it’s often substituted with similar supplements like armodafinil or adrafinil.

Besides modafinil and its derivatives, you can stack centrophenoxine with virtually any legally available stimulant, such as caffeine or something similar.

Centrophenoxine alternatives

Depending on your needs and goals when it comes to nootropics, you may find that there are other options that are more effective or that you interact better with. Centrophenoxine represents a solid starting point as an introduction to nootropics, and many users later move on to other nootropics which they find more effective.

Popular alternatives to centrophenoxine include Alpha GCP, CDP-choline, choline citrate, choline bitartrate, phosphatidylcholine, and DMAE.

Centrophenoxine vs. DMAE
A common question people have when researching centrophenoxine is the difference between it and DMAE. Since centrophenoxine is comprised of DMAE to begin with, what exactly is the point?

We touched on this subject briefly above. While DMAE is the component of centrophenoxine that’s responsible for it’s cognitive and anti-aging benefits, DMAE on its own is virtually unable to pass the blood-brain barrier, which prevents it from ever reaching your brain and doing its job. With the inclusion of pCPA, more DMAE is able to pass the blood-brain barrier, which greatly increases the bioavailability

Centrophenoxine vs. Alpha GPC
These two popular nootropics are similar in the sense that both increase choline production in the brain. Centrophenoxine does so by a mechanism that’s still being understood by scientists. Meanwhile, Alpha GPC is simply a choline source, with other compounds included, helping it pass the blood-brain barrier.

Both centrophenoxine and Alpha GPC may provide memory, cognition, and learning, and you may find that one or the other responds better for you. Some people include both in a stack to provide the greatest amount of available choline inside the brain.


Regarded by the neurohacker community as the grandfather of nootropics, centrophenoxine is a useful and effective compound that’s favored by those just getting started with nootropic supplements, as well as seasoned users. If you’re looking to provide yourself with a learning and memory boost, centrophenoxine is one nootropic to take a closer look at.