What is Choline Bitartrate?
Choline Bitartrate is a nutritional supplement that provides the brain with choline. Choline is a very important nutrient for the brain, and is produced within the brain in small quantities through metabolism of our food. Choline Bitartrate is simply a choline salt, having more absorption of choline in the human body than the free choline itself. The FDA has also recognized this dietary supplement as safe (coded as GRAS: Generally Recognized As Safe).
Some of the daily foods are choline-rich, such as eggs (especially their yolk), peanuts, red meat, green vegetable, wheat etc. However, depending on dietary habits, choline levels might be lower than recommended. According to a study, only 2% of participating women got enough choline after their menopause. In another study, it has been reported that about 90% of the US population is choline-deficient. Choline bitartrate is a supplement which helps increasing choline levels and therefore acetylcholine levels.
How does Choline Bitartrate work?
Upon its oral administration, choline bitartrate is absorbed into the blood through the gastrointestinal tract. Some quantity it is capable of entering the brain where it facilitates production and storage of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter facilitates in communication among different nerve cells and thus helps to improve memory, learning ability and mental performance. Fluidity is increased in the brain, which helps performing better in reading, writing, listening as well thinking. In short, the benefits of choline bitartrate supplements are associated with choline or acetylcholine production, where the bitartrate component facilitates the compound’s absorption to the blood stream.
Effects of Choline Bitartrate
The compound is water-soluble and is termed as a lipotropic agent or fat metabolizer. It prevents the fat production from carbohydrates and alternatively produces the “good cholesterol” HDL cholesterol. The benefits of choline bitartrate supplements range from mental improvements to physical benefits. Being a salt supplement for choline, it helps in improving mood, overcoming depression and anxiety, increasing focus and memory as well as in enhancing athletic performance. Choline bitartrate can help to keep choline at recommended levels and has neuroprotective properties that benefit memory while aging. But if someone is looking forward to boost his cognitive performance with relatively high choline levels, more potent nootropic drugs (like lipid version of choline supplements) are suggested to use singly or to be stacked with choline bitartrate, if necessary.
Choline Bitartrate is considered safe when taken in low doses. However side effects are reported for higher doses than recommended. These include dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, increase in saliva and perspiration. Some side effects are related to higher choline levels, such as headache, trouble in focusing and depression attacks.
Recommendations on Choline Bitartrate dosage vary. Most sources suggest to start with a minimum dosage of 50-100mg and adjusting to higher dosage until the personal optimum is reached. Typically, 250mg-500mg once daily, are used for general health purposes. To ignite mechanisms through acetylcholine, choline should be taken acutely in high doses, usually 1-2g.
The proportion of acetylcholine present in the venom of a hornet (Vespa crabro), is about six percent of its dry weight and thus the highest concentration that has been found in an animal.
 - Choline supplementation and measures of choline and betaine status: a randomised, controlled trial in postmenopausal women - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22172554