You may be wondering: What is choline, & certainly why is it so favorably recommended among various nootropics enthusiasts?
Certainly, the easy solution is that choline is a crucial nutrient that — like several nootropics — can heighten your cognitive process, & it may assist lessen headaches linked with nootropic use.
Read this Choline supplement review guide to know more about its types, dosage guide, its benefits, possible negative effects, interactions, its comparisons with the famous king of nootropics — modafinil, and the most useful brands of choline supplement available today in the market.
Like methionine (found in fish, meat, & also dairy products) which plays a crucial role in the many functions within the body, let’s explore more about the choline supplement in this guide. But first things first!
What Exactly Is Choline?
Choline is an indispensable nutrient comparable to B vitamins, but a pretty impressive one compared to other vital vitamins & minerals. That means it’s neither a vitamin nor a mineral — it’s a remarkable organic compound located predominantly in animal sources such as nuts, beans, meats, fish, & eggs as well as in foods (i.e., vegetables, fruits, & whole grains). It can be made in the liver & is indeed used in considerable chemical reactions in the body.
Choline wasn’t even recognized as a paramount nutrient by the National Academy of Medicine until 1998 . It’s certainly essential in the nervous system & also for the growth of normal brain functioning.
Your brain plus the nervous system require choline to regulate mood, memory, muscle control, & other functions. Additionally, you need this nutrient to form the membranes that encircle your body’s cells.
The phospholipids that line your cell membranes undoubtedly contain choline, & the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine — as the name implies — contains it as well.
Because choline is fairly new on the nootropic nutrient scene, nootropics enthusiasts seem to value it. It indeed has nootropic properties while supporting to lessen some of the undesirable negative effects linked with some nootropic use — scilicet headaches.
And although we’re always discovering about this new nutrient, undoubtedly there has been a substantial amount of scientific research & reviews on its function in cognitive augmentation, among its several additional advantages. As to how long to work, choline takes about an hour to function, and its brain concentrations peak around 2 up to 3 hours after ingestion.
Several distinguishable types of choline are indeed found in some food (i.e., whole grains, vegetables, & fruits), in your body, or certain supplements. Here’s a list of what you must understand regarding the most standard ones :
- Choline bitartrate: It’s the most regular supplemental form of choline — about 40% choline by weight, & is incredibly affordable, but not as well-absorbed or used by the body as some different choline forms. It can maintain memory recall, maintain neuromuscular function muscles as you age, & support healthy liver function, etc.;
- Citicoline: Also understood as cytidine diphosphate-choline (or CDP-choline), it is a widely utilized nootropic & a precursor to uridine, one of the major 5 nucleic acids utilized by the body to build DNA. It has 18% choline & certainly boasts some remarkable cognitive advantages. It undoubtedly aids memory loss due to aging, ameliorates vision in individuals with glaucoma, & also supports recovery in stroke patients. CDP-choline is also utilized for the treatment of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease, lazy eye, bipolar disorder, as well as other conditions of the brain ;
- Phosphatidylcholine: It’s found in most choline foods & is a phospholipid. It contains 13% choline by weight & can augment the neurotransmitter acetylcholine & it may also ameliorate memory function. Understand that phosphatidylcholine breaks down into choline in the body to offer similar choline benefits. It helps ameliorate cognitive function, aids in liver repair, aid ease signs of ulcerative colitis, heighten lipolysis, & help dissolve gallstones, etc. ;
- Alpha-glyceryl phosphorylcholine (Alpha-GPC): It’s 40% choline & is a favored choline supplement type among nootropics enthusiasts as it’s well-absorbed & can certainly cross the blood-brain barrier ;
- Choline chloride: It’s frequently used in animal feed but is rarely used in supplements created for human use.
Furthermore, choline is also discovered in soy lecithin, & some individuals take lecithin supplements. Certainly, choline supplements stem mood swings, lessen cholesterol, & guard the liver against harm due to booze. They also may lessen blood pressure, heighten memory, & treat Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s ailments. It may ameliorate athletic performance & may assist thwart neural tube defects in pregnancy as well.
The National Academy of Medicine set a guideline about how much choline most individuals need. The guide is known collectively as the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Choline has an Adequate Intake (AI) level. The AI ensures that most healthy individuals won’t undergo signs of deficiency. The amount of choline you require each day relies on individual age & sex. Average daily suggested amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg) :
|Life Stage||Advisable Amount|
|birth to 6 months||125 mg|
|infants 7 to 12 months||150 mg|
|children 1 to 3 years||200 mg|
|children 4 to 8 years||250 mg|
|children 9 to 13 years||375 mg|
|teen boys 14 to 18 years||550 mg|
|teen girls 14 to 18 years||400 mg|
|men 19+ years||550 mg|
|women 19+ years||425 mg|
|pregnant teens & women||450 mg|
|breastfeeding teens & women||550 mg|
However, most people don’t get adequate choline to satisfy the AI level, implying that — between food sources as well as the choline that’s naturally created by the body — they aren’t getting perfectly enough nutrients. Although manifestations of authentic choline insufficiency are rare, many individuals come up short when it comes to choline foods in their diet.
It’s indeed tempting to infer how much better the health of most people would be as a whole if every individual was getting enough of this insanely great nutrient.
Compared to the AI table given above, there is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). This is the most dosage that an average healthy individual can take without forming to risk the negative effects of choline toxicity. The recommended UL dosage for choline for adults (male, female, pregnant, & breastfeeding) is up to 3,500 mg/day.
Certainly, when selecting your choline dose, it’s most useful to at least use the AI of 425 to 550 mg/day — though that would incorporate choline from all sources, including foods with choline. Undoubtedly, most choline supplements comprise anywhere from 45–100% of the AI for the nutrient.
Choline citrate or Nutrasal Cerebra GPC Liquid offers a lot of benefits & you can buy it online (i.e., at Amazon). The well-documented choline supplement benefits are as follows:
- neuroprotection & cognitive boost: As a structural component of acetylcholine neurotransmitter which communicate signals to & from the nervous system. Acetylcholine carries signals among brain cells & is indeed essential for memory & other brain functions while supporting muscle movement, learning, arousal, working memory, motivation, attention span, & REM sleep;
- cholesterol management: Choline supplement may also assist to regulate cholesterol digestion & metabolism, as well as keeping excess cholesterol from building up in the liver. This activity could potentially lessen heart disease risk ;
- cell membrane structure & function: Choline is indeed a fundamental component of the phospholipids that form cell membranes, especially phosphatidylcholine. These phospholipids form the structural membrane surrounding the cell & also regulate the permeability of cells;
- protects memory & loss of brain function: It keeps the mind mentally sharp as one ages. It also preserves memory & prevents dementia, memory loss, as well as other signs of cognitive decline as an individual becomes older. It maintains brain elasticity by functioning to maintain the correct levels of acetylcholine, which naturally decreases into old age. Low levels of acetylcholine may certainly lead to cognitive decline, including senile dementia & Alzheimer’s disease ;
- helps with exercise performance & muscle function: It indeed helps to enhance mental energy, concentration, & focus, which are all essential for physical activity as well as athletic performance. Choline’s effect on the metabolism & brain neurotransmitters can certainly produce swifter reaction times & lessen the time required for mental processing . The supplement enhances energy levels, individual mood, sleep cycles, as well as recovery time following strenuous activity. Besides, the choline supplement is used in muscle nerve functioning & may indeed be beneficial in controlling fatigue as well as muscle aches or pains following exercise. Certainly, every time a muscle moves within the body, choline is undoubtedly required to activate acetylcholine, which transmits chemical signals to muscles & also makes them mobile;
- helps support heart health: Choline together with folate helps in the conversion of homocysteine, which thwarts the body from stashing too much fat. It may be advantageous in cutting down on the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke . Choline & lecithin can assist to lessen blood cholesterol as well as the risk for heart disease. However, different investigations have yielded conflicting results, so more study is still required before physicians will begin to prescribe choline for its capability to decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol & triglycerides .
Choline also supports DNA synthesis as well as fetal & infant brain development. Indeed, pregnant women are frequently advised to take choline in complement to their prenatal vitamins. The nutrient is also good for weight loss. It aids the body burn fat, resulting in more effortless weight loss & certainly better metabolic health.
Possible Side Effects
Choline is somewhat free of side effects unless ingested in higher doses. The negative effects of overdoing choline (roughly 20 g) can undoubtedly be undesirable, including things like :
- fishy body odor;
- low blood pressure;
- extreme saliva production;
Also, diarrhea, stomachache, or loose stools can occur at normal doses. High doses may also induce liver toxicity, where the liver is incapable to process such large doses of the nutrient.
Besides, there’s some debate over the healthfulness of free choline because it augments the body’s production of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which has been connected to heart illness . Fortunately, meals high in choline don’t seem to ameliorate heart disease risk, according to a study of over 184,000 participants .
Certainly, choline is probably safe for most individuals when ingested in doses below 3.5 g daily.
Interaction with Meds, Food, and Alcohol
Choline can interact with many drugs such as Nevirapine & Pancuronium, etc. Some interactions can be minor, while others can induce severe interactions . Some interactions can boost or lower serum concentration of another drug. Additionally, there are no available or notable interactions between choline and any other supplements, alcohol, & foods. Also, ingesting the nutrient with atropine might lessen the effects of atropine. On the whole, it’s safe to use choline without mixing with other drugs that might induce drug-drug interaction & unless you are taking massive doses.
Choline and Modafinil
The most favored modafinil stack that aids potentiate the effects of modafinil is choline. Modafinil vs choline stack offers impressive results.
The most typical regular negative effect of modafinil is a headache. Taking it together with choline makes this annoying negative effect vanish.
Modafinil enthusiasts can enjoy the “smart tab” benefits if taken with choline because it’s the only thing that functions to overcome its headaches. Besides, there are no interactions between modafinil & choline that would make them unsafe to take together .
Just recall, though, there’s no substantial research to back up a mix between modafinil & choline. If you intend, mix them with the correct amount of doses. For some other ways to lessen modafinil headaches, check out our other guide on how to get freed of modafinil headaches.
Best Brands of Choline Supplement
The best choline supplements offer several advantages that can heighten your overall health. It’s an important nutrient that ameliorates cognitive function, helps fetal development in pregnancy, heightens liver health, & more.
Today, there are several choline supplement brands, but not all of them are produced equally.
Because we can’t list all of them, the most suitable choline supplements that are available to aid you to make the superior choice include the following:
Nature’s Way 100 Vegan Tablets
Nature’s Way supplement consists of a plant-derived capsule (hypromellose). It’s gluten-free. No sugar, wheat, soy, salt, yeast, dairy products, corn, & no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. Three capsules should be taken 3 times daily, preferably with food.
Alpha GPC Choline from NOW Foods
NOW Foods is a family-owned & operated firm that has been in business since 1968. The firm offers natural products on the market. NOW argues that Alpha GPC supplement can aid boost normal cognitive function & certainly support mental acuity.
It’s made with choline bitartrate, so it’s extremely reasonably priced. This product is gluten-free, vegan, as well as A-rated by the NPA GMP. This means every aspect of their manufacturing procedure has been determined to fulfill a high level of compliance. Each capsule of Alpha GPC supplement comes with 300 mg of choline.
Solgar Choline 350 mg
Founded in 1947, Solgar has been offering science-backed nutritional supplements. The brand doesn’t use artificial fillers, but it does in-house manufacturing in small batches to guarantee that each bottle retains its freshness for a prolonged time.
Their choline supplement supports brain health & since it contains choline bitartrate, which aids fat metabolism, liver function, & healthy cell growth, it’s efficacious in ameliorating concentration & mental clarity, & the product is suitable for people with fatty liver ailment.
NOW Foods Choline & Inositol
Choline & inositol belongs to the B-vitamin family. This supplement is ideal because choline is essential for brain health, normal synaptic transmission, as well as fatty acid metabolism in the liver. Besides, inositol is also vital for brain & nervous system health. Therefore, both choline and inositol are paramount components of all cell membranes.
This supplement doesn’t contain gluten, soy, yeast, wheat, milk, shellfish, egg, fish, or tree nut ingredients.
That’s all about choline. The nutrient is crucial since it aids regulate cognitive function & also cell membrane permeability. Many enthusiasts report augmented focus & concentration, heightened learning capacity, swifter decision-making, heightened mental energy, accelerated info processing speeds, & more useful working memory functions after taking the nutrient. Besides, choline can also be stacked with modafinil to control the “smart tab’s” headaches, although there’s presently no scientific proof to back the use of choline to stem modafinil headaches.
Nevertheless, if you’re inquisitive about using choline supplements, you can select any of the above-given ones. It can offer you incredible benefits but do not overdose since it can induce serious negative effects.
- Dietary Choline Intake: Current State of Knowledge Across the Life Cycle. By Alejandra M. Wiedeman, Susan I. Barr, Timothy J. Green, Zhaoming Xu, Sheila M. Innis, and David D. Kitts. Published: October 16, 2018. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- The Pharmacology of Smart Drugs. By Jessica Brandes (pdf). Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Documents.grenadine.co.
- Citicoline – Uses, Side Effects, And More. Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Webmd.com.
- What Is Phosphatidylcholine and How Is It Used?. By Annette McDermott. Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson. Updated: September 18, 2018. Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Healthline.com.
- Absorption, tissue distribution, and excretion of radiolabelled compounds in rats after administration of [14C]-L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine. By G. Abbiati, T. Fossati, G. Lachmann, M. Bergamaschi, and C. Castiglioni. Published: Jun 1993. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Choline. Updated: Updated: March 22, 2021. Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Ods.od.nih.gov.
- Choline supplementation protects against liver damage by normalizing cholesterol metabolism in Pemt/Ldlr knockout mice fed a high-fat diet. By Ala Al Rajabi, Gabriela S. F. Castro, Robin P. da Silva, et al. Published: December 24, 2013. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Effects of consumption of choline and lecithin on neurological and cardiovascular systems. By J. L. Wood and R. G. Allison. Published: December 1982. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Choline: needed for normal development of memory. By S. H. Zeisel. Published: October 2000. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Choline deficiency in mice and humans is associated with increased plasma homocysteine concentration after a methionine load. By Kerry-Ann da Costa, Christopher E. Gaffney, Leslie M. Fischer, and Steven H. Zeisel. Published: February 2005. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Choline and Carnitine: Good or Bad for Heart Health? By Lisa Nelson. Published: February 7, 2017. Healthcentral.com.
- Choline. Updated: Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Ods.od.nih.gov.
- Free Choline, but Not Phosphatidylcholine, Elevates Circulating Trimethylamine-N-oxide and This Response Is Modified by the Gut Microbiota Composition in Healthy Men. By Clara Cho, Niklas D. J. Aardema, Madison L. Bunnell, et al. Published: May 29, 2020. Academic.oup.com.
- Dietary Choline and Betaine and Risk of CVD: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. By Katie A. Meyer and Jonathan W. Shea. Published: July 2017. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Choline. Updated: March 02, 2022. Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Go.drugbank.com.
- Drug Interaction Report. Retrieved: March 04, 2022. Drugs.com.