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Choline and its Different Forms

Brief Overview of Choline

Choline is the substance that acts as the precursor to Acetylcholine in the brain; it plays a role in memory formation, attention, and focus.  It is usually recommended that the average adult human get between 425 – 550mg/day of choline; those who take any of the Racetams may or may not need to have a higher intake to combat headaches and brain fog.

There are 5 different ways to get choline into your diet: Dietary choline, Choline Bitartrate, Lecithin, Alpha GPC, and CDP-Choline [1].

Dietary Sources of Choline [1]

Animal and plant foods

Choline (mg)

32 gram sunflower lecithin syrup


15 gram soy lecithin granules


5 ounces (142 g) raw beef liver


Large hardboiled egg


Half a pound (227 g) cod fish


Half a pound of chicken


Quart of milk, 1% fat


30 gram Brewer’s yeast (2 tbsps)


100 grams of Soybeans dry


A pound (454 grams) of cauliflower


A pound of spinach


A cup of wheat germ


Two cups (0.47 liters) firm tofu


Two cups of cooked kidney beans


A cup of uncooked quinoa


A cup of uncooked amaranth


A grapefruit


Three cups (710 cc) cooked brown rice


A cup (146 g) of peanuts


A cup (143 g) of almonds


Choline Bitartrate

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One of the most common forms of Choline (other than Dietary), Choline Bitartrate is formed by combining choline with the salt Bitartrate.  Often, Choline Bitartrate is one of the least expensive forms available on the market, you should be careful to check the purity of it (some supplements can be as impure as only 20% Choline by weight).  Choline Bitartrate has also been shown to have some unpleasant side effects at higher doses including gastrointestinal issues and an odd body odor [2].

Suggested dosing is 500-1000mg TID.


Suggested dosing is 400-800mg/day.Lecithin is another supplement that delivers choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine which the body can then convert to acetylcholine in the brain; it is sometimes used in the treatment of memory disorders like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Lecithin is derived from the soy plant and appears to have good bioavailability and some positive effects beyond the delivery of choline to the system [3].  Lecithin carries some of the same side effects as Bitartrate.

Alpha GPC

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Alpha GPC is a pure form of Soy Lecithin and is also known as Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine or Choline Alfoscerate.  As compared to the other forms of choline discussed so far, Alpha GPC has a much greater ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, thus making it a more optimal form of Choline.  Another benefit of Alpha GPC over the other forms so far discussed is the apparent lack of side effects; it has also been shown to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Suggested dosing is 300-1200mg/day.


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Also known as Citicoline, CDP-Choline is a Nootropic in its own right as well as being a choline source.  It has been shown to be effective in treating ADD/ADHD, ischemic stroke, as well as improving mental energy and focus; on top of these cognitive improvements, Citicoline has also been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of glaucoma and other eye-related diseases.  Citicoline also is known for having a very high level of bioavailability, making it one of the more recommended versions of Choline.  Side effects of citicoline in healthy adults are rare (but are similar to those of the other forms), and high doses of it is contraindicated for those with Major Depressive Disorder and/or Type II Diabetes [4].

Suggested dosing is 500mg/day.

References [1] [2] [3] [4]

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  1. Pingback: The Dietary Sources of Choline |

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