Introduction to Choline bitartrate
Choline is one of the most vital nutrients your body needs to function normally. It is particularly great for your brain.
So if you don’t want your mental faculties slowing down (which will be most of us anyway!) or you need to tap heavily on some brain resources for your daily work, this is one nutrient you don’t want to skimp on.
But where do we get this stuff from?
Some of it will come from your food, but the body also makes some in the liver. Unfortunately, the amount we get from food is sometimes not enough, and what our body makes is also very little. This makes supplementation of the substance necessary.
Supplements are formulated in different ways using different ingredients to supply you with choline. But which is one is best? Is it Citicholine, Alpha-GPC or CDP- Choline? And how does choline bitartrate stack up to the rest?
In this article, I am going to tell you about choline bitartrate and whether it is the best option for you. But before that, let’s get into the history, uses, and benefits of choline.
German chemist Adolph Strecker was the first person to discover choline in 1862. He managed to isolate it from the bile of pigs and oxen.
Coming up with a synthetic form of choline was left to another German, Oscar Liebreich who did it in 1865. He named the substance he had produced neurine, but it wasn’t until later in 1898 that the stuff he had discovered was found to be identical to choline. So it was renamed back to choline.
In time, it dawned on food experts that choline was not a trivial nutrient to the body.
In fact, so important was choline that in 1998, the US Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine was forced to list it as an essential nutrient.
Choline has a close chemical resemblance to the B group of vitamins
Something is an essential nutrient when a body deficiency in it can only be corrected by getting the nutrient from food or a supplement. The body cannot make enough of it to overcome the shortfall.
Some rich food sources of choline include milk, peanut butter, fish, chicken liver, eggs, broccoli, steak, and cod.
Benefits of choline
Choline has a wide range of benefits for the body. These benefits can be grouped into those that are nootropic functions (mental enhancing) and those that support other areas of the body (non-nootropic).
- Brain support – choline is so crucial for your brain to operate at all! All cognition, thinking, remembering, muscle coordination and movement, sleep, and nerve function depends on it. You wouldn’t do much without this molecule beyond being vegetative!
Your own brain is so hungry for choline that when it senses a shortfall, it goes hunting for it by raiding cell membranes, This may give a brief solution, but when it is prolonged, it can lead to extensive cell damage
- Liver health –your liver needs enough choline to operate properly. Choline helps to clear the liver of fat which can accumulate in it and clog it. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are removed by choline and transported to other body areas where they can be used. A shortage of choline in your body can lead to liver failure or damage
- Heart health – choline can also help you maintain a healthy heart. Along with folate, it acts to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that causes accumulation of fat in the body. Choline’s action here contributes to better cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. This action can also help in achieving weight.
So how do we get choline into the body?
If choline is so important for your body, how do you get more of it into the body so that you can get all the great stuff it does?
First of all, the body makes its own choline from the food you eat. But this isn’t always enough so you may need to throw in some supplements to make up for the shortfall.
Fortunately, manufacturers have made great efforts to come up with various supplements designed to fix the problem.
This is where choline bitartrate supplement comes in. Since it contains choline, it can be used to transport choline to its intended destination.
Ingredients of choline bitartrate
Choline bitartrate supplements are the most basic choline supplements you can get. The compound is made up of choline, and a tartaric acid salt joined together. This combination makes it much more bioavailable than choline itself.
Choline bitartrate is about 41 % choline by weight. (1000 mg of choline out of 2,400 mg of choline bitartrate)
How choline bitartrate works as a nootropic
How does choline bitartrate work in the brain? The way choline bitartrate works in the brain is still puzzling in some aspects. Researchers have been able to unravel a few things, though.
It is needed to make acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter that controls the cognitive process. This neurotransmitter is made and stored in the brain, so choline needs to get there.
Remember, the goal of choline bitartrate is to get choline where it is needed in your body where it can do this work. To get there, however, there are hurdles to overcome, or it will never arrive there. It also needs to arrive all in one piece. It won’t do any good if it came degraded and beat up!
First choline needs to make its way through your digestive tract and get absorbed by your intestines, No problem here.
Choline bitartrate has high bioavailability in the gut, so it is absorbed through the intestines with the choline passenger in it in tow. Once in the bloodstream, the next goal is to enter the brain-blood barrier that shields the brain.
Here there is a problem because this barrier does not welcome any entrant. Molecules seeking to enter this inner sanctum need to be vetted, and not all will enter.
Choline bitartrate is absorbed but only partially. This means not all the choline will get into the brain, but quite a bit will be locked out.
This makes choline bitartrate less bioavailable for the brain. However, its bioavailability for the rest of the body is reasonably good. Those seeking to use choline bitartrate for anything other than cognition will find this supplement to be ideal for them.
Most people generally tolerate choline bitartrate. A few side effects have been observed in using it such as the following
- Stomach upsets
If recommended dosages are exceeded, users typically get the following symptoms.
- Fishy body odor
- Unusual increased sweating
- High salivation
- Low blood pressure
- Liver damage
- Risk of heart disease
The right dosage will vary with age, health situation, and weight. That said, here are FDA daily guidelines
- Men – 550 mg
- Women – 425 mg
These are only general guidelines, and users can vary it according to their individual needs and goals.
For example, the recommended dosage for brain-boosting is 350 gm to 3,000 gm per day.
Price and availability
What is the price of Choline bitartrate? The price of choline bitartrate is the cheapest out of all the choline supplements you will find in the market. Its peers, such as GDC Alpha and CDP choline, are much more expensive.
It is also widely available and can be easily purchased online. It requires no prescription because the FDA has not licensed it as a drug.
It is available only as a dietary supplement.
Those who need choline bitartrate
In most cases, your choline intake may be enough. However, watch out if you are in of these categories
- Those who are heavy alcohol users.
- Endurance athletes
- Pregnant women – to ensure that the fetus has proper development in the womb
- Those with fatty liver disease
- Hemorrhagic kidney disease
These people may need more than what they can get from their diet in terms of choline
- Is cheap and in plentiful supply
- Is sufficiently absorbed in the gut
- Benefits the liver
- Requires no prescription
- Has limited bioavailability of choline to the brain due to partial absorption
If you are looking to improve your general body health and particularly improve your liver, choline bitartrate is an excellent supplement to include in your regimen. Among the supplements designed to help you get choline in your body, it is the most basic and rudimentary place to start.
It is also very pocket-friendly and widely available.
For nootropic goals, however, it is not very effective compared with the alternatives. Nonetheless, it is excellent for newbies who want to improve their cognitive performance. Those seeking something more potent than this will not be very impressed, and I will recommend trying alternatives like GDC Alpha or CDP choline. These are more expensive options but are more efficiently absorbed into the brain, maximizing the choline content and its brain-enhancing effects.