Which is the best Choline

This blog is written with OpenDyslexic font (https://opendyslexic.org/). Studies show that this font helps us read quicker and easier. Give it a go…

When it comes to boosting brain function and improving memory, choline supplements should be one of the core ingredients in a nootropic blend that was designed for cognitive enhancement. Choline is an essential nutrient that is important for brain function, neurotransmitter synthesis, and overall brain health. While choline is found in a variety of foods, including eggs, liver, and soybeans, many people turn to supplements to ensure they’re getting enough of this important nutrient. Not all choline supplements are created equal. Here we explore the differences between three popular choline supplements: CDP CholineAlpha GPC, and Choline Bitartrate, all of which are available in South Africa.

CDP Choline

CDP Choline, also known as citicoline, is a choline supplement that is rapidly gaining popularity. It is a naturally occurring compound that is found in every cell in the body. It is needed for making phospholipids and therefore essential for healthy brain function. A study done in 2019 found that CDP-Choline had better cognitive effects than phosphatidylcholine: The main benefits from recent studies:
  • Improved brain function and memory1: A human trial done in 2021 showed an improvement in overall memory in healthy mature adults. An added bonus was that regular supplementation with CPD Choline was found to be safe.
  • Brain Protection / Brain Restoration2: A European analysis done in 2023 showed a significant improvement in the number of people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that regained their independence after supplementing with CDP-Choline
CDP Choline

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC, (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), is a choline supplement that is thought to increase levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in learning and memory. The main benefits from recent studies:
  • Athletic performance3,5,6: In a variety of studies, supplementation with Alpha-GPC improved speed, power, pull force and jumping power, particularly in the lower body.
  • Preventing cognitive decline7: A study of 261 patients concluded that Alpha-GPC was useful in the treatment of dementia-type disorders
  • Better motivation4: On a study of 40 healthy volunteers between ages 20 and 60, researchers concluded that Alpha-GPC supplementation had a higher tendency to be motivated, particularly at night.
Alpha GPC 01

Choline Bitartrate

Choline Bitartrate is a basic choline supplement that is commonly used as a dietary supplement. It is an inexpensive form of choline that is often added to nootropic stacks to enhance cognitive function. While Choline Bitartrate is believed to improve memory and focus, its effects are generally considered to be milder than those of CDP Choline and Alpha GPC.

So which one is better?

CDP Choline and Alpha GPC are both considered to be more effective than Choline Bitartrate, with Alpha GPC being more popular with athletes for the physical performance benefits. They are also more expensive. Choline Bitartrate is therefore a good option for those who are on a tight budget or who are looking for a mild boost in cognitive function. Neurologica® FLOW and ACTIVATE were developed using a blend of Alpha GPC and CDP Choline, which offers the benefits of both forms of choline and enhances cognitive support for individuals during times of elevated mental activity. CDP Choline, Alpha GPC, and Choline Bitartrate are all popular choline supplements that can help improve cognitive function and memory. However, they differ in potency, price, and dosage. If you’re not sure which one to choose, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional who can help you determine which choline supplement is right for you.

1 Nakazaki E, Mah E, Sanoshy K, Citrolo D, Watanabe F. Citicoline and Memory Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Nutr. 2021 Aug 7;151(8):2153-2160.

2 Secades, J.J.; Trimmel, H.; Salazar, B.; González, J.A. Citicoline for the Management of Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury in the Acute Phase: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Life 2023, 13, 369.

3 Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B. The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 17;12:42. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0103-x.

4 Tamura Y, Takata K, Matsubara K, Kataoka Y. Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine Increases Motivation in Healthy Volunteers: A Single-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Human Study. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 18;13(6):2091.

5 Marcus L, Soileau J, Judge LW, Bellar D. Evaluation of the effects of two doses of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on physical and psychomotor performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Oct 5;14:39

6 Parker AG, Byars A, Purpura M, Jäger R. The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Sep 21;12(Suppl 1):P41.

7 De Jesus Moreno Moreno M. Cognitive improvement in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia after treatment with the acetylcholine precursor choline alfoscerate: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Ther. 2003 Jan;25(1):178-93