Choline Bitartrate improves memory and mood

Choline Bitartrate

David Tomen
David Tomen
10 minute read
Choline Bitartrate is known to increase cognition and brain function, improve focus and motivation, and reduce fatigue

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.


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 Bitartrate
Choline Bitartrate

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 boosts cognition

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.

  1. 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.choline bitartrate improves speed and accuracy

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]

  1. 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 for your nootropic stack

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 taking Choline Supplements 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.Choline Bitartrate improves memory and mood

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 versions of choline such as Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline will more readily cross the blood-brain barrier and make its way into your cells. So lower doses are required.

Some hospitals may offer intravenous choline supplementation if you have been tested low in choline.

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, chest pain, or fishy body odor – 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 cheaper 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

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend Choline Bitartrate as a nootropic if you need a choline supplement and you cannot get the preferred forms of CDP-Choline or Alpha GPC

Your body does not make Choline Bitartrate on its own. But some versions of choline naturally occur in your body and brain including 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 may be 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.

I 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. But should not replace or be use instead of CDP-Choline or Alpha GPC.

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 good 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. But 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.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[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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Join The Discussion - 48 comments

March 16, 2021


So it seems if you are taking Alpha GPC, there is really no need for Choline Bitartrate. They both do the same?

    David Tomen
    March 17, 2021

    Matt, that is correct in that both provide a choline molecule for the synthesis of acetylcholine. The only difference between the two is Alpha GPC easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. And Choline Bitartrate does not.

Danny O
November 4, 2019

What would be the ratio of Choline Bitartrate powder to Aniracetam powder? a 6:1 ratio was mentioned with regards to Piracetam. Just to clarify, the 6:1 mentioned is racetam:choline bitartrate? It seems counterintuitive considering you need to take a lot of choline in this form to get the benefits. Thanks in advance!

    David Tomen
    November 5, 2019

    Danny, I’m going to re-write that recommendation for using choline bitartrate with the racetams. The thing is 1 gram of Choline Bitartrate offers 400 mg of actual choline. And it does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

    This will take some experimenting because each brain is different. But I’d try 1,000 mg for each 1,600 mg dose of Piracetam. For Aniracetam I’d try the same per dose. Forget about the ratio. And see how this dose works. Adjust up or down depending on your result.

September 23, 2019

Hi. Good article. You recommended Choline Bitartrate throughout but also had a section where you explained that ALPHA GPC or CDP-Choline is better. Which is it?

    David Tomen
    September 24, 2019

    Kevin, Choline Bitartrate requires mega-doses to achieve what you can do with much smaller doses of Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. I’ve had better success with them than I have had with Choline Bitartrate as well.

José Manuel Solorza
July 24, 2019

Hello David

Do you know if Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline also helps to clean fatty liver?

    David Tomen
    July 25, 2019

    José, the only supplements I know of proven to help fatty liver are Milk Thistle + Vitamin E + phosphatidylcholine (PC) or Berberine:

    Use the search function top right and you’ll find reviews for each of these here on Nootropics Expert with the exception of Milk Thistle.

May 28, 2019

Would You please make a video about Nicotinamideriboside, its benefits and risks?
Thank You very much!

    David Tomen
    May 28, 2019

    MB, I’ve already done reviews on Vitamin B3 (niacin) and NADH so not sure how another one on Nicotinamide Riboside would be helpful.

September 21, 2018

what is the shelf life of choline bitarate – what happens if you take expired – does it have any side effects

    David Tomen
    September 21, 2018

    I believe the shelf life of choline bitartrate is 1 – 1.5 years but cannot provide definitive proof of that statement. If it’s in a sealed container “stored in a cool, dark place” and hasn’t been contaminated by anything I can’t imagine it causing problems a few months past that. If anyone reading this knows otherwise, please comment.

April 17, 2018

Hello. Good reviews i needed someone like you to share experience cos i think you have similar disorders.
I have a question for you where I want you to be honest with me. Have you had stuttering problems in the past or similar speech problems.
What nootropics have you used? Thank you

    David Tomen
    April 18, 2018

    David, I’ve never personally had a problem with stuttering or speech problems. And I’ve not done any research on its causes. If you have looked into this would you consider sharing what you know with us here?

Barry Tegeler
February 27, 2018

Hello David,

I am wondering if the idea of consuming raw egg yolks from healthy chickens was ever pursued. According to nutrition facts the yolk of a large egg has 116 mg of choline at 53.9 calories. it also contains 24.8 mcg of folate along with high levels of vitamin D and A. Many of us have been introduces to partially cooked eggs through sunnyside up offerings. I prefer to derive my supplements from natural sources when possible.

    David Tomen
    February 27, 2018

    Barry, up until not too long ago we got most of the nutrients we needed to thrive from healthy, nutrient-rich food. Unfortunately, the quality of our food has degraded to the point where we simply cannot get all we need from our diet. Certainly, eggs are an amazing source of choline and other nutrients as you pointed out. You are certainly aware of the dangers of consuming raw food. But if you are willing to take the risk then …

    One other thing … depending on what other nootropics you are using including any of the racetams, you would need a lot of eggs to get the choline needed to get the full benefit of those supplements. At least with quality supplements, you know exactly the amount of each you are are getting.

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