Choline Bitartrate is choline combined with tartaric acid. Binding choline to tartaric acid increases bioavailability. Choline (2-hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethyl-ethanaminium) is a primary building block for the critical neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh).
Your brain uses acetylcholine to maintain clear communication. In fact, it’s used to maintain communication between all the cells in your body.
You need choline for cognition, memory, sleep and even maintaining your balance, stability and mobility. Your brain needs choline to function.
When choline is in short supply, your brain goes on a scavenger hunt. And starts to steal choline from nerve cell membranes. In your brain’s attempt to maintain normal acetylcholine signaling, it starts taking cells apart.[i]
This works in the short term. Your brain uses this technique to keep your memory and other functions running smoothly. But in the long run it takes a toll on your brain at the cellular level.[ii]
This is the primary reason you need to add a choline supplement to your nootropic stack.
Choline Bitartrate helps:
- Brain Energy. Choline Bitartrate improves mood, and boosts mental energy. Choline is needed to maintain alertness and clarity of thought.
- Neurotransmitters. Choline Bitartrate helps improve memory. Once it reaches your brain it helps produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.[iii]
- Brain Optimization. Choline Bitartrate contributes to the development of new brain cells. And enhances your brain’s ability to repair damaged cell membranes.
Table of Contents
Choline Bitartrate is choline combined with tartaric acid. Tartaric Acid helps increase the bioavailability and effectiveness of this nootropic.
Choline was declared an essential nutrient by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine (USA) in 1998.
Choline is considered an essential nutrient because when your body uses it faster than it can produce it, you need supplemental choline either from food or a supplement.
Choline is found in foods such as fish, beef steak and liver, chicken liver, eggs, cod, broccoli, peanut butter and milk.
You need choline for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. And to form phosphatidylcholine (PC), used in building cell membranes.
In fact, choline is so vital to cognition and nerve function that, without it, we couldn’t move, think, sleep or remember anything.
Numerous human and animal studies have shown enhanced brain function when given supplemental choline.
Choline Bitartrate vs. CDP-Choline vs. Alpha GPC: What’s the Difference?
Choline is a water-soluble nutrient and its composition is similar to B-vitamins. Choline Bitartrate, CDP-Choline, Choline Citrate and Alpha GPC are all sources of choline.
Choline Bitartrate: An economical form of choline, and about 40% choline by weight. So 1 gram of Choline Bitartrate offers 400 mg of actual choline. It does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier. So you won’t experience the same level of nootropic benefits as with Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.
CDP-Choline (cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine): Is only about 18% choline by weight. Your body naturally synthesizes choline into CDP-Choline (Citicoline). It’s then converted to phosphatidylcholine (PC) which assists cell membranes, and helps create acetylcholine.
Alpha GPC: About 40% choline by weight and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Alpha GPC naturally occurs in your brain as a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC). When your brain needs more choline, and the choline floating around in your brain is running low, it breaks down PC from cell membranes. And turns it into Alpha GPC.
Your body and brain loves it when you use choline. Because it doesn’t have to cannibalize its own cells to get more choline.
How does Choline Bitartrate Work in the Brain?
Choline Bitartrate boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.
- Choline Bitartrate boosts acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter tied to memory and overall brain function.
Choline Bitartrate is a precursor to acetylcholine. Improving the efficiency of communications between neurons in your brain. This increase in neural signaling boosts memory, learning, cognitive processing and mental clarity.
A research team in the Netherlands set out to determine if choline bitartrate could affect coordination of movement and visual perception. In this study, they worked with a group of 28 people who took 2 grams of choline bitartrate or a placebo.
An hour and 10 minutes after they took the choline or placebo, they had participants rapidly trying to hit the center of a target. Participants who took the choline were not only far more accurate at hitting the target center than the placebo group. They also did it faster.
The researchers concluded there was a “choline-induced bias” towards precision, speed and accuracy.
They even measured pupil-size in participants. And determined, “The changes in pupil size suggest that choline uptake alters cholinergic functions in the nervous system.”[iv]
- Choline Bitartrate Boosts Memory. Researchers and medical professionals have long known about poor memory in people with a choline deficiency.
A study at Northwestern University in Chicago tested people with a choline deficiency. They gave them a series of memory tests and found their scores below average.
In this study, they then gave one group extra choline, and the others were given a placebo. After 24 weeks, both groups repeated memory tests.
The group who received extra choline showed a dramatic improvement in memory. The placebo group performed poorly as expected with scores the same as on the original test.[v]
How things go bad
As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes. This can happen at any age once we enter our adult years.
↓ Brain fog and/or a sense of confusion
↓ Fatigue or lack of energy
↓ Unable to learn new things
↓ Memory loss and poor recall
↓ Feeling distracted or irritable
↓ Poor balance
↓ Lack of energy/fatigue
And these changes can happen at any age. Our bodies are influenced by the food we eat (and what we don’t eat!), what we drink, lifestyle habits, the air we breathe and more.
Choline Bitartrate can help reverse cognitive decline. It can help you perform better in your work, and at school. By boosting acetylcholine and repairing neural cell membranes.
Choline Bitartrate benefits
Research from hundreds of studies have shown that choline will:
- Eliminate brain fog and confusion
- Boost energy
- Improve learning
- Enhance memory and recall
- Help focus and reduce irritability
- Improve physical performance
- Eliminate fatigue
Choline Bitartrate is water-soluble. After it’s digested it will enter your bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. Once in your brain it boosts neural signal transmission, and repairs neurons.
Choline Bitartrate improves your brain function and memory by increasing the production of acetylcholine. And prevents neurons from getting cannibalized when your brain is searching for more choline.
How does Choline Bitartrate feel?
After taking Choline Bitartrate you should feel a boost in your ability to think, mood should improve, and your energy level should go up.
Choline Bitartrate influences the level of acetylcholine in your brain. This crucial neurotransmitter affects memory, cognition, recall and learning.
Low levels of choline will leave you with brain fog and an inability to think clearly. You may also experience a drop in mood and some irritability.
If you’re using anything from the racetam-family of nootropics and you experience a headache – your brain is likely starved for choline.
Choline Bitartrate Clinical Research
The Framingham Heart Study is a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study on residents in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The study began in 1948 with 5,209 adults. And is now on its 3rd generation of participants.
This study of Framingham Offspring involved 1,391 dementia-free subjects. Ages ranged from 36 – 83 years. The participants underwent a food-frequency questionnaire, and MRI brain scan. This study was in two parts, from 1991 to 1995, and 1998 to 2001.
They were tested for verbal memory, visual memory, verbal learning and executive function. And a MRI-scan measured brain volume.
The study concluded that those residents with a higher choline intake was directly related to significantly better cognitive performance.[vi]
Choline Bitartrate Helps with Exercise and Muscle Performance
Choline Bitartrate boosts mental energy, focus and concentration. All critical for physical activity and athletic performance.
Choline’s effect on your metabolism and neurotransmitters in the brain produce quicker reaction times. And shorten the time needed for mental processing.
Choline helps improve your energy levels, mood, and recovery time following a workout. It is also critical for muscle nerve function, and in preventing fatigue, muscle aches and pain following a workout.
When your muscles move, choline is needed to activate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). ACh sends signals to muscles, and makes them move.[vii]
Choline Bitartrate Recommended Dosage
Recommended Choline Bitartrate dosage is 500 mg to 3,000 mg per day.
You can use higher doses of Choline Bitartrate because this is a water-soluble version of choline. And a limited amount of this choline source will cross the blood-brain barrier.
Other fat-soluble versions of choline such as Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline will readily cross the blood-brain barrier and make its way into your cells. So lower doses are required.
Choline Bitartrate Side Effects
Recommended dosages even for extended periods are considered well-tolerated and safe. While Choline Bitartrate is considered non-toxic, it is possible to experience toxicity with too much choline in your body.
If you experience trouble sleeping, headache, diarrhea, low or high blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision or chest pain – you should stop using Choline Bitartrate.
Type of Choline Bitartrate to buy
Choline Bitartrate is sold in capsule or powder form. Capsules are usually 500 mg each. Many of the nootropic stacks available on the market, and even some brand name vitamins contain Choline Bitartrate in their formula.
Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Choline Bitartrate 500 – 3,000 mg per day
i recommend using Choline Bitartrate as a nootropic supplement.
Your body does not make Choline Bitartrate on its own. But some versions of choline naturally occur in your body and brain. Choline sources like Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline.
You do get some choline from the food you eat. But studies show we don’t get an adequate supply of choline from food sources in our modern diet.
Choline Bitartrate is especially helpful for those suffering from age-related cognitive decline. Studies show supplemental choline helps stop or reverse brain degeneration like Alzheimer’s Disease, and other cognitive disorders. Especially in the early to mid-stages of the disease.
We suggest starting with a dose of 500 to 1,000 mg daily. Choline Bitartrate is a good compliment to a stack including any nootropics from the racetam-family.
Piracetam for example affects your neuroreceptors for acetylcholine. So stacking Piracetam and Choline Bitartrate boosts acetylcholine activity even more.
If you’re on a tight budget and you need choline, Choline Bitartrate is a great place to start. It is the most affordable version of Choline available. Particularly when purchased in bulk powder form. You just need more of it than other choline sources like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.
1 gram of Choline Bitartrate offers 400 mg of actual choline. And it does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier. So if you’re using this form of choline with any of the racetams it will take some experimenting.
For example, try 1 gm Choline Bitartrate with each 1,600 dose of Piracetam. And see how it works. You may need to adjust your dose up or down depending on your unique brain chemistry.
[i] Ulus I.H., Wurtman R.J., Mauron C., Blusztajn J.K. “Choline increases acetylcholine release and protects against the stimulation-induced decrease in phosphatide levels within membranes of rat corpus striatum.” Brain Research 1989 Apr 10;484(1-2):217-27. (source)
[ii] Wurtman R.J. “Choline metabolism as a basis for the selective vulnerability of cholinergic neurons.” Trends in Neuroscience 1992 Apr;15(4):117-22. (source)
[iii] Hollenbeck C.B. “An introduction to the nutrition and metabolism of choline.” Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2012 Jun;12(2):100-13. (source)
[iv] Naber M., Hommel B., Colzato L.S. “Improved human visuomotor performance and pupil constriction after choline supplementation in a placebo-controlled double-blind study.” Scientific Reports 2015 Aug 14;5:13188. (source)
[v] Buchman A.L., Sohel M., Brown M., Jenden D.J., Ahn C., Roch M., Brawley T.L. “Verbal and visual memory improve after choline supplementation in long-term total parenteral nutrition: a pilot study.”Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2001 Jan-Feb;25(1):30-5. (source)
[vi] Poly C., Massaro J.M., Seshadri S., Wolf P.A., Cho E., Krall E., Jacques P.F., Au R. “The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011 Dec;94(6):1584-91 (source)
[vii] Sanders L.M., Zeisel S.H. Choline – Dietary Requirements and Role in Brain Development Nutrition Today 2007; 42(4): 181–186. (source)
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Jo Ann says
David, is there a difference between Choline Bitartrate and Choline L-Bitartrate? I bought from Bulk Supplements…600 mg per dose of 3/4 teaspoon daily. I started taking it recently with 500 mg (1/5 t daily) of Inositol …(both pkg dose recommendations)…also bought from Bulk Supplements. After reading your website here for better cognitive ability (I am 75 yrs old and experiencing memory loss), looks like I need to take Citicoline (Cognizin®) or CDC Choline… 250 mg instead as it DOES cross the blood-brain barrier, which is needed to be effective…correct ? .
David Tomen says
Jo Ann, CDP-Choline or the patented form called Cognizin® easily crosses into your brain. But you need to use it with Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) and a B-Complex to produce acetylcholine. Choline Bitartrate cannot easily cross into your brain.
Wanted to share my experience with Choline Bitartrate 250mg. Reading an article about joint pain I noticed it mentioned Choline Bitartrate used with Turmeric and how it helped. I turned my knee when going down some icy stairs and it has been very painful for over 4 months. I did not want to go for any surgeries so thought I would try this and see how it worked for me. I had an old bottle (3months old) in my herbs drawer and pulled it out and I noticed it had Inositol with it. Let’s give it a try and took 1 and 1 Turmeric 250mg. It was about 2 hours later and I felt much less pain in my knee and decided to stick with this combo for a day or two to see if it was going to keep working. I am so happy with this combo as it has been 2 weeks and I take this amount once in the morning and once before bedtime. Not saying anything is healed or whatever, but the pain is so mild and in time hope it will be completely gone, Thank you for being there for people like us, who are tired of doctors that shove pills and hand out braces instead of finding a natural way to fix the problem. God bless you on your endeavors in health !!! sincerely Nancy
David Tomen says
Thank you Nancy. I have found much less shoulder pain when using Choline Bitartrate. So anyone reading this and you suffer with muscle pain you may want to try this supplement.