What is Choline Bitartrate?
Choline Bitartrate is a choline supplement that is combined with a tartaric acid to increase the absorption rate of choline, an essential nutrient which is similar to the B vitamin complex family.
Choline is a water-soluble nutrient and plays an important role in the body in metabolizing fats, transporting fat from the liver to cells in the body and thus partially responsible for protecting from the accumulation of unhealthy lipids in the liver (fatty liver). It is also involved in mobility and maintaining your balance.
Within the brain, it supports the growth and maintenance of cell membranes and aids in the production of Acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter thought to play a key role in memory, learning skills, attention span and other mental processes.
Increasing the level of circulating Acetylcholine is what is thought to be mostly responsible for the positive cognitive effects of choline supplementation.
The body can make Choline in very small amounts but cannot store it. It is thought to be largely converted to metabolites within a few hours.
Most of our source of choline comes through our diet in foods such as beef, egg yolks, fish, dairy products, broccoli, peanuts and other foods. However, recent studies have indicated that deficiencies of this nutrient seem to be very common and it is speculated that 90% of adults are at least mildly deficient.
Low amounts of this nutrient in your diet along with low natural production is why supplementing may be very useful. Low levels of choline can manifest itself in low energy levels, memory issues, unstable moods, difficulty in processes thoughts, muscle problems and in extreme cases, liver damage.
Postmenopausal women are especially vulnerable to choline deficiency, where studies have shown that only 2% get the daily suggested amounts. Adult men need even more Choline Bitartrate than women to potentiate the maximum benefits.
The brain needs choline for proper mental function and to develop and maintain healthy neural cell membranes. The result of this nutrient is thought to provide a slew of cognitive benefits including improved memory, focus, logically thinking, mental energy and learning capacity.
However, more concentrated choline supplements such as Alpha GPC and Citicoline (CDP Choline) are both suggested to produce far greater cognitive effects. These are a little more costly than Choline Bitartrate but show better bio-availability and are considered much more effective at reaching the brain and raising Acetylcholine levels.
Benefits of Choline for Cognition
Supplemental Choline is popularly used by people looking to boost cognition, mental performance and memory. Choline plays an important role in supporting the production and function of an important neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which may lead to raising its concentration in the brain and encouraging many cognitive benefits.
Acetylcholine is a brain chemical that communicates via signals to other neurons. It is involved in many processes related to memory formation, recall, focus, verbal reasoning and planning.
Higher levels of this organic chemical can be especially favorable for memory where it tells the brain to store a memory in the hippocampus. This may not only lead to noticeably enhanced memory but with higher levels of Acetylcholine, you may experience clearer thoughts and faster cognition.
Additionally, Acetylcholine is thought to be highly involved in supporting synaptic plasticity the brain’s ability to reorganize itself in response to learning, thinking, behavior and environmental conditions. This happens when we have a new experience or connecting new insight to facts, stimuli or emotions. As we age, fewer connections are formed.
Supplementing choline is especially important later in life when Acetylcholine levels in the brain are naturally lower. A lowered level of Acetylcholine in healthy people slows down our general reaction time. We may noticeably experience this when we lose our train of thought, we can’t think as fast or remember things as we use to and it is hard to find our words.
In addition, when choline supply is low, the brain searches for sources, cannibalizing cell walls to normalize the level of Acetylcholine. In the long-term, this may be problematic and has been associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and mental disorders.
Choline Bitartrate is an economical form of choline. It is absorbed through the intestinal tract, crosses the blood-brain barrier and then enters the central nervous system, however, by volume, it is unsure just how much actually reaches the brain.
Acetylcholine itself cannot be absorbed by the brain from the bloodstream since it cannot itself cross the blood-brain barrier. This is why more experienced Nootropic users report turning to more concentrated forms of choline such as Citicoline or Alpha GPC to promote synthesis and storage of Acetylcholine when looking to achieve cognitive effects.
Choline Bitartrate is available in the United States as a health supplement only. It is not approved by the FDA to treat or prevent any conditions. There is still much more research needed on humans to understand the cognitive benefits of choline.
Possible Side Effects
Choline Bitartrate is considered generally well tolerated and safe to use within the suggested dosage guidelines. Side effects are considered rare and are usually associated with higher dosages but may occur in some people including nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
Higher doses of Choline Bitartrate is not recommended since it may increase the potential risk of adverse side effects such as low blood pressure, dizziness, excessive perspiration and a fishy body odor.
If any of these side effects occur, you can try lowering the dosage, taking a break or you may want to discontinue use entirely. Always consult with your doctor first if you have any concerns regarding side effects.
Choline Bitartrate is available in capsule or powder forms. The proper dosage of Choline Bitartrate can depend on many factors such as current health status, age and weight. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor first before taking any new supplements. Below are just suggested dosage guidelines.
The typical dosage ranges between 500mg-1,000mg per day. The recommended dosages of choline established by the FDA is 550mg daily for men and 425mg daily for women.
The higher dosage range (not to exceed 1,000mg daily) has been suggested by many Nootropic experts as the most effective if you are looking to enhance mental performance.
Choline Bitartrate is water-soluble and still considered safe within this dosage range since only a limited amount actually reaches the brain. Most users should not experience side effects even at the higher dosage level.
More concentrated versions of choline such as Alpha GPC and CDP Choline are thought to cross the blood-brain barrier more readily and act faster in the conversion to Acetylcholine, which means lower doses are needed and the effects are more rapid.
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