If you’re searching for the best nootropics to use, and you’ve determined that you want to consume choline supplements, you may be wondering what the difference is between varying choline sources. While there are many food sources packed with choline, most people don’t consume enough, resulting in cognitive issues. Supplementing with choline nootropics is the most effective way to ensure you’re receiving enough choline. To discover the best choline supplement for your requirements, our comparison on the different sources of choline will give you a helping hand.
What is Choline?
Choline is required for optimal levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is important for your memory and other cognitive functions. When you have low acetylcholine levels, you experience sluggish memory. To raise acetylcholine levels, choline, the precursor to acetylcholine, must be consumed.
Choline is significantly effective on brain cognition — a study of 1400 subjects revealed a higher choline intake showed better visual and verbal memory.1
The Different Sources of Choline
There are varying sources of Choline, each offering different strengths.
CDP choline, also known as citicoline, is close to an original form of choline. In the body, choline is converted into CDP choline to enhance dopamine receptor densities. CDP choline is then broken down into Phosphatidylcholine to create acetylcholine when required and aid the manufacture of cell membranes in the body.
CDP choline is a molecule to help with brain health. There are many studies which have documented the significant effects of CDP choline on the brain. A study of women aged between 40 and 60, taking CDP choline at a dose of 250 to 500mg over 28 days, showed an improvement in attention and focus.2
CDP choline has also shown to be effective in improving memory in comparison to piracetam and centrophenoxine.3 Additionally, CDP choline has also been found to reverse memory deficits seen in aged rats, with a dose of 500mg/kg over a period of 8 weeks.4
CDP choline boasts neuroprotective properties. Supplementing with CDP choline after a stroke has been shown to improve recovery.5
The suggested dosage of between 500 to 2000mg daily can be split into two doses. Improvements in attention have been found at a lower dose, so consuming a large dosage may not always be required. CDP-choline should not be taken when breastfeeding or pregnant. Some users experience minimal side effects, including headache, insomnia, nausea, and blurred vision. However, most users don’t experience any side effects, although the long-term effects are not yet known.
Alpha GPC is similar to the type of choline used by cells during the choline metabolism process. Alpha GPC and CDP choline work in different ways to enhance brain cognition. During the breakdown of Alpha GPC, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is produced as a by-product.
Alpha GPC benefits include improving cognition. Some users state that they find Alpha-GPC to act faster than CDP choline in producing effects, but some users note the opposite. Alpha GPC is water soluble, easily crossing the blood and brain barrier, meaning it works quickly for brain cognition.
There are many studies which have determined the effects of Alpha GPC. One study revealed that rats with induced amnesia who consumed Alpha GPC showed reverse memory loss.6 In another study, Alpha GPC was found to aid fatigue, potentially helping to prevent brain ‘fog’.7
In dementia patients, 1000mg of Alpha GPC has been shown to assist with behavioural and memory symptoms of vascular dementia, performing better than the same dose of CDP choline.8 Studies on cognitive disorders has also shown improvements with the use of Alpha GPC.9
Normal doses of Alpha GCP are around 300 to 600mg daily. However, studies of this nootropic on cognition have used doses of 1200mg daily which can be split into three separate doses per day.
At a lower dose, Alpha GPC is not known to have any side effects. Users taking higher doses may notice a decreased appetite, nausea, and sweating as a side effect. If these occur, the dose should be reduced until the symptoms have been alleviated.
Centrophenoxine, also known as meclofenoxate, is a choline compound which is bound to an absorption enhancer. Centrophenoxine combines two chemicals — Dimethyl-aminoethanol (DMAE), a choline source found in small amounts in the brain, and parachlorphenoxyacetic acid (pCPA) which is synthetic plant growth hormones. DMAE is difficult to cross the blood and brain barrier, however, it does so effectively when combined with centrophenoxine. This makes it efficient for boosting brain cognition.
Centrophenoxine enhances the levels of acetylcholine in the brain, as well as promoting blood flow to the brain, protecting neurons from oxidative stress, and reducing a waste product called lipofuscin that builds up in cells.
Centrophenoxine has been shown to improve memory and learning. In one study, consuming centrophenoxine was found to improve memory in subjects with dementia.10 Additionally, this nootropic may increase mood by enhancing energy levels and well-being via its DMAE component.11
Centrophenoxine protects nerve cells by reducing damage caused by free radicals in association with brain injury.12 In a study of mice, centrophenoxine was found to increase life span by 30 to 40%.13
The recommended dose of this nootropic is between 600mg to 2000mg daily, taken in separate doses. There are minimal side effects associated with centrophenoxine — elevated levels of acetylcholine can produce nausea, sleeplessness, headache, and gut problems. If symptoms occur, your dose should be decreased until all side effects subside.
Which Form of Choline is Best?
The best choline supplement depends on your overall requirements. Many nootropics users try varying choline sources until they discover the best choline supplement for them. The three forms of choline in this review all produce beneficial effects on cognition. Low doses of CDP choline have been found to enhance cognition, so this may be the best nootropic to start with — you can then switch to an alternative source of choline if you’re not noticing the effects you desire. If you’re unsure as to which choline supplement to use, remember, you can also stack your nootropics to maximize their effects.
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