The best choline supplement
While choline isn't the most well-known vitamin available on the market, it's an important nutrient, nonetheless. Most of us get enough choline through foods like eggs, liver, and beef, but some people can benefit from taking a choline supplement. Pregnant women, aging populations, and biohackers looking to boost their cognitive function are prime candidates for a choline supplement. It also can help with liver detoxification.
Read this shopping guide to learn about the four different types of choline supplements as well as some of their features. We've also included our top recommendations, like this supplement from NOW Foods, which packs a powerful punch of choline.
Benefits of a choline supplement
While you should always consult with a doctor before starting a supplement, here are some of the main benefits of taking choline:
Nervous system support
Maintains healthy liver function
Sharpens mental acuity, including memory
Supports fetal development in pregnancy
Boosts energy levels and improves athletic performance
Builds cell membranes and DNA
Supports neural development of children
May support a healthy heart
Considerations when choosing choline supplements
There are four different types of choline supplements:
Plain choline and choline bitartrate are the least expensive types of choline and do their basic job of liver support, plus boost blood levels of choline if you have a deficiency. However, they won't support your nervous system as well as the following two types.
CDP-choline, also called Citicoline, and Alpha GPC choline support the nervous system and brain. If you're looking to improve your mental acuity, select either of these two types. They also are more bioavailable to the body because they mimic natural food sources of choline.
Features of choline supplements
Form: Choline supplements come in four different forms. Pill form includes capsule and tablets. Select vegetarian capsules if you are vegan or vegetarian. If you have trouble swallowing pills, powder and gummy forms of choline supplements are also available, though not as common as capsules.
Dosage: The dosage of choline supplements ranges from 100 milligrams to 650 milligrams per unit. The recommended daily dosage for adult women is 425 milligrams and for adult men is 550 milligrams. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to take 450 milligrams and 550 milligrams a day, respectively.
Inositol: Some choline supplements contain inositol, also known as B8, which may help regulate the brain and decrease anxiety. Choline may also help with PCOS and other fertility issues.
Nootropics: Some choline supplements contain other cognitive-enhancing ingredients called nootropics. Nootropics range widely from omega-3s to herbs to mushrooms -- any ingredient thought to boost the brain -- and a choline supplement combined with any of these nootropics is considered "stacked."
Choline supplement prices
Basic choline or choline bitartrate costs from six to 19 cents a pill. Expect to pay more, between 22 to 65 cents a pill, for Alpha GPC or CDP-choline.
Q. How does a choline supplement combat aging?
A. Choline is needed to produce the neurotransmitter "acetylcholine," which is considered an anti-aging neurotransmitter that maintains nerve signaling. As we age, nerve signaling declines and this can lead to memory loss and dementia.
Q. Can children take a choline supplement?
A. Children can absolutely benefit from these supplements as choline is beneficial to brain development. There is some evidence that choline may help with ADHD and learning disabilities. As always, check with your pediatrician before starting your child on a supplement.
Choline supplements we recommend
Best of the best: NOW Foods Alpha GPC Choline
Our take: A highly bioavailable form of choline from a trusted brand in the industry.
What we like: Ample amount of choline in each vegetarian capsule: 300 milligrams of Alpha GPC choline. Rigorously tested for quality. Made without parabens and artificial colors or flavors.
What we dislike: Because of its high potency, there can be side effects for some.
Best bang for your buck: Nature's Way Choline and Inositol
Our take: Affordable choline option with the extra perk of inositol.
What we like: Stacked with inositol for mood elevation. Quality formula is free of gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and preservatives. Supports liver function.
What we dislike: Choline bitartrate isn't as easily absorbed by the body as other forms.
Our take: A great option for CDP choline from a manufacturer known for high-quality supplements.
What we like: CDP choline is less intense with fewer side effects than Alpha GPC. Non-GMO formula made from pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. Great for the brain; may help memory and focus.
What we dislike: Gradually increases choline levels, so results are not immediate.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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