Choline Bitartrate Review: Discover The Memory Enhancing Benefits and Possible Side Effects

As one of the most affordable sources of choline on the market, Choline Bitartrate is a solid choice for those who are worried about getting sufficient levels of choline through diet alone.

Choline is needed for memory, learning, sleep, energy, and much more. With its involvement in both the brain and nervous system, it’s crucial that you obtain this nutrient from either diet, supplementation, or both.

What is Choline Bitartrate?

Choline Bitartrate is a supplement most widely used for its cognitive benefits. Structurally it is choline combined with a salt of tartaric, which helps to boost its bioavailability when compared to pure choline.

Many adults are deficient in choline, an essential nutrient present in certain foods, particularly meat and dairy, and widely sold as a variety of over-the-counter supplements.

If you use Piracetam or other members of the racetam family for their nootropic benefits, it is important to add in a supplemental source of choline to your nootropic stack.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive option that has been found to boost choline levels in both the brain and body, this supplement may work for you.

What is the Function of Choline and What is it Used For?

When you take this supplement, it provides your body with a source of choline.
The main functions of choline in the human body include:

  • Protects cell membranes, improves brain health, and protects against age-related cognitive decline
  • Acts as a precursor for Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for memory and learning
  • Boosts liver health, particularly when it comes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • May protect against cardiovascular disease
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Choline Bitartrate Health and Nootropic Benefits

Choline and the Brain: Can Choline Bitartrate Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier?

In a study on healthy young adults (20-40) and older adults (60-85), both plasma and brain levels of choline were boosted after supplementing with Choline Bitartrate.

It was found that after one dose of 50 mg/kg body weight, both the plasma and brain concentration of choline and choline-containing molecules increased for both age groups. While the plasma concentration increased 76% in the young adults and 80% in the older adults, the brain levels increased 60% in young adults and only 16% in older adults.

This study demonstrates two things:Supplementation with this compound increases both plasma and brain concentrations of choline and choline-containing compounds in adults of all agesAs we age, our uptake of choline into the brain decreases
This decrease in choline as we age can lead to many symptoms:

  • Poor memory and recall
  • Brain fog
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Mood issues

These effects can happen at any age if you are deficient in choline. A deficiency is common if you take certain nootropics that heavily rely on the choline in your body (racetams), or if you do not consume enough of it in your diet.
Daily use of this supplement may help to improve these deficits.

Choline and Brain Health

When it comes to brain health, choline plays many important roles. Multiple studies have found benefits of supplementing with a variety of choline supplements on brain health and cognitive function. Few of these studies are on Choline Bitartrate specifically, largely thanks to studies finding other sources of choline more able to pass into the brain.

Even though few of these studies were on this specific supplement, this supplement has been found to increase both the plasma and brain concentration of choline and choline-containing molecules, as outlined above. Thanks to this impact, benefits of choline in the brain from other supplements are likely to carry over, to some degree, to this drug as well.
Choline has been found to:

  • Improve memory
  • Reduce physical and mental fatigue
  • Increase energy and focus
  • Boost brain health
  • Improved sleep

Choline Enhances Memory

Many of the positive benefits of choline on memory are thanks to it acting as a precursor to acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain.
ACh is a neurotransmitter critical for memory formation and learning. It is also linked to improving mental clarity.
Animal studies have found that supplementation with choline improves memory in rodents. (5)

While similar studies in humans find mixed results, some do find improvements in working memory, verbal learning, and memory in populations with impaired memory performance.

More studies are needed on humans to confirm the benefits for healthy adults.

Choline Improves Sleep

Choline has been shown to help initiate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. One of the five stages of sleep, REM sleep is considered the most important when it comes to memory formation and storing what was learned throughout the day.

One way in which it is believed to contribute to restful sleep is through its impact on the stimulus barrier. This barrier helps us to ignore noise and other input from the external environment when we sleep, allowing us to sleep without interruption.

This nutrient is also known to boost the vividness of dreams. Some users even report that choline has allowed them to experience lucid dreaming, where they are aware that they are dreaming and in control of what happens.

Choline Boost Overall Brain Health and Function

Through its ability to help with developing new cells and maintaining the integrity of cell membranes, choline is known to help improve overall brain health and function.

Studies on Choline Bitartrate and the Brain

While there have been few human studies on this specific supplement, there have been a few that show promise.

Improves Visuomotor Performance</h3

In a study on twenty-eight adults it was found that ingestion of two grams of Choline Bitartrate improved their ability to hit the center of a target, improving precision, when compared to placebo. (5)

Alzheimer’s-Type Dementia

In a small study on three patients with Alzheimer-type dementia, it was found that 12.0 g/day of Choline Bitartrate was found to improve some cognitive performance abilities, including auditory and visual word recognition. (1)

Bipolar Disorder

Another very small human study found improvements in manic and mood symptoms in the majority of patients treated with Choline bitartrate, along with a rise in the concentration of choline-containing compounds in the basal ganglia region of the brain. (2)

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Choline Bitartrate: Comparison to Other Choline Sources

When deciding what choline supplement to take, some of the most common and talked about options in the nootropic community are CDP-Choline, Alpha GPC, Choline Bitartrate, and Phosphatidylcholine.

Choline Bitartrate vs Phosphatidylcholine

In the body, choline is used as a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, which is in turn used to create ACh.

When you take supplemental phosphatidylcholine, in essence you are taking a combination of choline, fatty acids, and phosphates.
Between these two supplements, Choline Bitartrate has a higher concentration of actual choline, however they both provide powerful benefits to cognition and brain health.

Alpha GPC vs Choline Bitartrate

Both of these supplements are about 40% choline by weight.
The main benefit of Alpha GPC when compared to this supplement is its ability to easily cross over the blood-brain barrier.

Chemically, Alpha GPC is a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC), and thus it occurs naturally in the brain. PC is found in cell membranes and is broken down when brain levels of choline are too low, and then the PC is used to create Alpha GPC.

Citicoline vs Choline Bitartrate

Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline, is 18% choline by weight, in comparison to 40% choline by weight of this supplement. Citicoline makes up for this lack of choline with its ability to cross over the blood-brain barrier and be used as a precursor to make ACh.

What happens chemically in your brain in the creation of ACh is this: choline passes over the blood brain barrier, is synthesized into CDP-Choline, is converted into PC, and then used to create more ACh.

When you supplement with CDP-Choline, you boost the creation of both PC and ACh. This effect is greater than with Choline Bitartrate thanks to its greater ability to cross over into the brain.

Side Effects

When taken at or below the daily upper intake of 3.5 grams for adults over 18, few side effects are experienced.
The more you take the more likely side effects will occur. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Sweating
  • Fishy body odor
  • Digestive upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

Click here for more details on dosage and side effect based on age and medical condition.

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Choline Bitartrate Dosage: How Much Choline Should I Take?

So how much choline should you consume per day? That depends on your age, diet, and nootropics that you use. The recommended daily intake (RDA) of choline for adults is 425 mg/day for women and 550 mg/day for men. This is combined from both food and supplement sources.

But what if you need a good source of choline to get the most out of your nootropic stack?

Certain nootropics boost levels of ACh in a variety of ways, and without sufficient choline in your body, you won’t only be unable to get the most out of the cognitive benefits. You may also suffer unpleasant side effects, like headache and fatigue.

As one of the most affordable sources of choline, many young adults looking to up their choline supply may turn to this compound. It is a good start as studies have shown it to increase brain choline levels.

If this is you, experts recommend taking between 500 and 1,000 mg/day of this supplement for nootropic purposes.

If you are a neurohacker looking to supply your body and brain with ample choline, you may find that this supplement doesn’t yield the effects that you were looking for. If so, you may want to look into supplementing with a more bioavailable source of choline, such as Citicoline or Alpha GPC.

Where to Buy Choline Bitartrate Supplement Powder

As one of the least expensive and most widely used choline sources, Choline Bitartrate can be found in both bulk powder and capsule forms.
It can be difficult to find in local pharmacies, but is widely available through reputable nootropics vendors online, who vet for quality of the supplements that they sell.

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See all references

  1. Choline bitartrate treatment of Alzheimer-type dementias
  2. Choline in the treatment of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder: clinical and neurochemical findings in lithium-treated patients
  3. Decreases brain choline uptake in older adults. An in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study
  4. No acute effects of choline bitartrate food supplements on memory in healthy, young, human adults
  5. Improved human visuomotor performance and pupil constriction after choline supplementation in a placebo-controlled double-blind study

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