If you’re looking for the best choline supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Choline Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Choline Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Way Choline||More Info|
|#2||NOW Foods Choline and Inositol||More Info|
|#3||Bulksupplements Pure Choline DL-Bitartrate Powder||More Info|
|#4||Jarrow Formulas CDP Choline||More Info|
|#5||Double Wood Supplements Alpha GPC Choline||More Info|
|#6||Solgar Choline||More Info|
|#7||Country Life Choline||More Info|
|#8||Thorne Research – Phosphatidyl Choline||More Info|
|#9||Douglas Laboratories – Choline Bitartrate||More Info|
|#10||GNC Choline||More Info|
What Is Choline?
Choline is an essential nutrient that most people need to ingest daily. This water-soluble compound is usually classified as part of the B Vitamin complex, although it is technically a micronutrient. Choline has a variety of important functions in the human body, but it is particularly important for healthy liver and brain functioning.
It plays a key role in the metabolism and transport of fat, making it a beneficial supplement for recovery from liver damage such as cirrhosis or alcohol-related problems. Choline is also used in the body for the production of phosphatidylcholine, a component of cell membranes vital for the membrane’s ability to selectively allow nutrients to pass in while flushing waste out. Choline’s most important role in the human body is as a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter directly involved with cognition.
Acetylcholine is associated with improved memory and concentration, and higher levels can increase the rate of learning. It is estimated that only about 10% of the population gets enough dietary choline, and many would benefit from supplementation.
Choline supplements come in several different forms which range widely in effectiveness. Lecithin and choline bitartrate are the cheapest options, but they provide choline in a form with relatively low bioavailability.
They are effective for users who only wish to correct a choline deficiency, but most people report that they have little nootropic value on their own. The high-end options are Alpha-GPC, CDP-Choline (Citicoline), and centrophenoxine, all of which have significant nootropic benefits.
Benefits of Choline
Choline is an essential part of just about every nootropic and supplement stack because of its role in the production of acetylcholine. Taken on its own, users report better focus, improved ability to retain information, and clearer thinking. But choline is particularly useful in combination with piracetam and other compounds from the racetam family.
Piracetam and other racetams work in part by modulating acetylcholine receptor activity, resulting in an increased use of acetylcholine. This mode of action is responsible for their powerful effects on cognitive performance, but it also causes the brain to use up its choline supply faster.
Many users report brain fog when taking racetams on their own, but this effect usually clears up as soon as they begin a choline supplement regimen. When it comes to racetams and choline, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: the racetam-choline combination is one of the most potent nootropic stacks available.
Since acetylcholine is central to memory, learning, and cognition, choline supplementation is recommended not only with racetams but with a large number of other nootropics, many of which also work by modulating acetylcholine receptors.
Choline supplementation has a myriad of other benefits for people of all ages. Inadequate choline intake in pregnant women is associated with inhibited development of the fetal brain, while sufficient intake can even mitigate the negative effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Choline has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, which can stave off many diseases including Alzheimer’s and Type II Diabetes.
Choline is essential for healthy liver functioning and can help the liver heal from cirrhosis. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are associated with cardiovascular disease, and choline has been shown to lower homocysteine levels. Supplementation reduces the likelihood of developing a wide range of neurological diseases, including Tourette’s disease, schizophrenia, and age-related memory disorders.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Some users report side effects from choline supplementation, but they are generally minor and are highly dependent on both the dosage and source used. As the weakest sources, lecithin and choline bitartrate also have the lowest potential for side effects since the body fails to absorb excessive doses. Alpha-GPC, CDP-Choline, and centrophenoxine all have the potential for side effects from dosing too high.
Overshooting the dose a little is not dangerous, but it can cause mild headaches and depression, both of which clear up naturally as the body uses up the supply. Taking an acetylcholine-modulating nootropic like piracetam can speed up this process. Drinking plenty of water can also reduce choline-related headaches.
At uncommonly excessive dosages, choline can occasionally cause more serious side effects including gastrointestinal upset, low blood pressure, and severe headaches. But most users have no issues as long as they stick to the recommended doses of choline supplements.
How to Take Choline
The best way to take a choline supplement will depend on each individual’s needs. People who only need to correct a potential choline deficiency can take lecithin or choline bitartrate. Typical doses of each range from 500 to 2000 mg once per day. Since choline affects different people in subjectively different ways, users will need to experiment to determine their preferred timing for the dose. Some find choline to cause drowsiness and may wish to take their choline supplement before bed, while others find it energizing and will prefer to take it in the morning.
Lecithin and choline bitartrate will suffice to raise choline levels enough for racetam use, but users who intend to use choline for cognitive enhancement will have better results with Alpha-GPC, CDP-Choline, and centrophenoxine.
Alpha-GPC is a highly bioavailable form of choline (40% by weight) combined with glycerol and phosphate. When taken orally, significant amounts of choline reliably make it through metabolism and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Those who favor Alpha-GPC as their choline source prefer the clean energy it provides. Some even report a calming effect. If taken on its own, it should be swallowed once per day at a dose in the range of 300 to 600 mg. If taken as part of a stack with racetams or other cholinergic nootropics, it should be taken with each dose rather than once per day.
CDP-Choline, also known as Citicoline, is another excellent choice for a highly bioavailable choline source. It is made up of choline (18.5% by weight) and cytidine. Some prefer CDP-Choline over Alpha-GPC because of its slightly stimulating effect. CDP-Choline is not only a choline source, but it is also a unique nootropic in its own right.
It has shown promise as a preventative against neurodegenerative diseases, and it can help the brain heal from injury. The cytidine may contribute to its effectiveness since the body converts it into uridine, a compound the body uses to synthesize neural membranes.
Typical doses are in the range of 250 to 750 mg. CDP-Choline should be taken orally once per day or with each dose as part of a cholinergic nootropic stack.
Centrophenoxine is another effective way to raise acetylcholine levels in the brain, although it is not directly a choline source. Its mechanism of action is not entirely understood. It is essentially a highly bioavailable form of DMAE, another supplement which is structurally similar to choline. Centrophenoxine is known to be a powerful antioxidant, protecting the brain against the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Users report a clarity of thought and an increase in energy. A typical dose is 250 mg. It should be taken once per day or with each dose as part of a cholinergic nootropic stack.
Each person will find certain choline sources to be more compatible than others with his or her needs. It takes some experimentation to find the optimal dosage and timing when beginning a choline supplement regimen since some people have naturally higher levels of choline than others.
What to Look for in a Good Choline Supplement
When choosing a choline supplement, make sure the ingredients are clearly listed. There should be no confusion about the amount of choline in each pill, and good supplement providers also list the materials used as filler in each pill.
Buying the bulk powder directly is also a good option because it is cheaper and usually contains no filler materials. Responsible bulk providers usually are willing to provide information about the labs they source from, along with purity statistics about each individual batch.