Category: Choline

Choline Capsules as the Ultimate Nootropic Supplement

For those who wish to try the latest wonders from the nootropic world, Choline capsules would be the right choice, which brings a solid foundation to neuroscience and medicine. In general, choline supplements are necessary for your brain to synthesize Acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter to various brain functions, including conscious thought and memory. Choline supplements could be found in regular diet, especially with eggs and meat, yet some people, due to certain medical conditions and drug intake, need an additional quantity of Choline through supplements in order to make their brain, function properly. In this case, Choline pills can bring the additional Choline quantities and enhance the cognitive activity of the brain, ensuring a better maintenance and health of the neurons. When it comes to Choline supplements, there are numerous members of this supplement family, with all the formulations produced equally. Prices may vary with each Choline supplement, but those that are considered the cheapest have usually a less significant impact on the brain functions, probably due to poor absorption. So, what kind of Choline pills should you purchase? Discover more in this article, and start the safest way to a nootropic therapy.

Choline pills

Choline supplements – a general overview

The safetiness of this supplement is well determined by the fact that Choline supplements belong to the B4 group of vitamins, as fully recognized by the FDA in the U.S.A. This essential nutrient appears in abundant forms from Sphingomyelin and Phosphatidylcholine. As a significant precursor for the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, Choline is also involved with brain functions such as memory, focus, attention control, muscle control, and learning. The beneficial effects of Choline can be seen in the prevention of Steatosis, or the fatty liver disease. That is when Choline removes fats from the liver and prevents the toxic effects of fat from affecting your liver.

The recommended daily dosage for Choline is somewhere between 425 and 550 mg in the diet. However, less than 10% of the population in the world can actually follow this. The supplement is water-soluble like any other presented member of the vitamin B group, so it is important to take it on a daily basis, replenishing the body in order to achieve the brain’s full potential. According to sources, it could be found in sunflower lecithin, soy lecithin, chicken, fish, eggs, and beef liver. Choline could also be found in various chemical forms, such as Choline citrate, Choline bitartarate, Phosphatidylcholine, Choline chloride, Lecithin in combination with Choline, and nowadays, the more popular Alpha GPC and Citicoline choline.

Different Choline supplements have different potencies, levels of cerebroactivity, prices, conversion rates to Acetylcholine, and bioavailabilities. If you compare these supplements by its costs, Lecithin wins, yet less than 10% of Choline is delivered when this supplement is administered, which means that you need to take a much higher dose for best effect. For a higher potency degree and also a higher price, one can have Phosphatidylcholine, and other forms of Choline salts like Citrate, Tartarate and Chloride. On the other hand, the bioavailability of such a group is low and does not improve your brain functions significantly. Probably the best and the most popular Choline supplements are Citicoline and Alpha GPC. Both are more expensive, but are more efficient, showing an increase levels with the brain functions and bringing the ultimate nootropic effect on cognitive functioning. Both are quickly absorbed and converted in the brain, which means that much a lesser dose is needed in order to enjoy the full benefits of these Choline precursors.

Why are Choline pills the best choice for you?

As mentioned in the beginning, Choline can convert into Sphingomyelin and Phosphatidylcholine, alongside Acetylcholine, which are essential for the brain’s functions and maintenance. These substances, which are normally present in low concentrations in the brain cells, act as insulators for the neuron’s electrical circuitry, which leads to a much quicker and efficient neurological communication process. Many brain conditions can lead to the disintegration of this lipid tunica, which can also lead to a poor brain communication between neurons that leads further to cognitive denial. Therefore, the absence of electrical transmission between neurons is unimaginable, so it is important to maintain the levels of these substances.

Choline supplements are also Acetylcholine precursors, potentiating the formation and effect of this powerful neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine maintains mental concentration and thinking, including memory development and consciousness. It helps in the transmission of the nerve signals from the brain, spinal cord, to the muscles, heart, lungs, glands, and the whole gastrointestinal system. As we age, the formation of Acetylcholine becomes lesser, potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease and other mental conditions linked to memory deficiency. By taking Choline supplements, we could prevent these conditions, ensuring the complete formation of Acetylcholine without the neuronal damage linked to aging.

Recommended dosages for Choline pills

The FDA recommends a certain range of dosage for Choline supplements, and that is between 425 and 550 mg per day. In order to prevent brain deficiency, one must meet the daily dietary needs of an average person. A higher dose can improve the desired cognitive function, where some experts recommend the dosage at 3,000 mg daily from supplements such as Choline chloride and Bitartrate. A higher dose is recommended for these forms because Choline salts are degraded in the gastrointestinal tract by bacteria.

For highly potent Choline supplements, like Alpha GPC and Citicoline, it is important to take a lower dose because these supplements have a good absorption rate. Concerning Alpha GPC, a daily dosage of 500 mg is enough to enjoy its beneficial effects. Please pay attention to your diet, because you may as well take additional Choline through food like meat, fish, and eggs, so calculating your daily intake of Choline through food along with the supplements is essential. Vegetarians who certainly avoid meat should take a higher dose of these supplements in order to replenish the poor choline intake from their diet.

Since these supplements are considered to be the members of the vitamin B group, Choline supplements in such forms are safe and are even naturally found in the body and in our common diet. The risk for any side effect is low when the administration is practiced through the recommended dosage. The supplements are safe and can be tolerated by everyone, especially by young healthy adults. In some rare cases, some side effects are possible and are mostly sweating, appetite loss, and an increase in body temperature. Please, consider a consultation with a medical professional in order to start a much safer nootropic treatment with Choline supplements such are given in this review. It is also extremely important to maintain a healthy way of living while offering your brain an opportunity for better cognitive functions and preventing cognitive denial brought by many medical conditions, such as the Alzheimer’s disease.

Top 5 Best Choline Supplements

Choline is essential for healthy function in every-day life. Most people with healthy diets get enough natural choline to keep the brain and body running at required levels. Regardless, some people look into supplementing choline for other various reasons.

Choline supplementation is an area of interest to racetam nootropic users. This is because certain choline supplements may offer potentiating benefits to certain racetam nootropics. It has been suggested that choline supplementation can help to increase the benefits of these racetams as well as to reduce certain side effects (this has not been proven).

There are many types of choline supplements that all work in different ways. In the end, you get what you pay for. It is important for a nootropic user to understand the biology of each supplement. This may help to determine which supplement is the right one based on the below factors as well as cost.

See bellow to see the top 5 best choline supplements:

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC has been suggested to be the best choline supplement. It is purified in a complex process from lecithin. The process is expensive when compared to other supplements. This explains why alpha GPC is one of the most expensive choline supplements and also one of the most effective.

This choline supplement is different from other types. It helps to synthesize acetylcholine, not by acting as a precursor but instead the opposite by metabolizing into acetylcholine. The unique metabolism of alpha GPC explains its unique and powerful nootropic benefits.


Citicoline is listed as the number two choline supplement. Like alpha GPC, it is also considered a nootropic choline supplement. It is utilized in several nootropic blends as a superior form of choline.

Citicoline has a different metabolism than both choline and alpha GPC. It is an intermediate in the synthesis of acetylcholine rather than acting as a direct precursor or metabolising directly into the neurotransmitter. This allows for more choline in the brain to become free while also replenishing levels of phospholipids in certain parts of the brain. This allows for citicolines’ unique benefits and nootropic qualities.

Choline Bitartratecholine bitartrate

Choline bitartrate is a very common form of choline supplement that is used often with racetams. This is because it is a cheap and a great source for raw choline. It is not in the same caliber as alpha GPC or citicoline and is not considered nootropic on its own.

This type of choline acts as a direct precursor to acetylcholine. It does not have the same method of action as alpha GPC or citicoline and therefore the extra health benefits do not exists. Overall, choline bitartrate is a great choline source for those looking to improve overall levels of choline.


Phosphatidylcholine is our most natural source of choline. It is the most common source of choline within our foods and also the most natural. It can be extracted as pure supplement from a variety of choline rich foods. These food are converted into lecithin and further purified into phosphatidylcholine.

Phosphatidylcholine is less effective of a choline supplement than choline bitartrate. It contains choline and is metabolized within the body to release the nutrient. By weight, phosphatidylcholine only contains about 13% choline.


Lecithin refers to any animal or plant derivative fatty substance that contains related nutrients including choline and phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine. There are several sources to recover lecithin with the most popular being soy and egg yolks. This type of choline supplement is perhaps the most widely available and cheapest in cost of all the choline supplements.

Lecithin contains choline and phosphatidylcholine but is still less effective than pure phosphatidylcholine at raising choline levels. By weight it is only 2.5-9.5% choline. Lecithin can be obtained at a cheap cost however more of the supplement is needed. Alpha GPC is a purified version of lecithin however neither of these choline supplements works in the exact same way.


An In-Depth Review of Citicoline

Citicoline is considered a pro-supplement for both choline and uridine. It confers both choline and uridine into your body after its oral ingestion. This supplement first dissociates into choline and cytidine, and later, cytidine converts into uridine.

Citicoline is known to prevent or treat memory impairments linked with aging because the two molecules conferred by this supplement are neuroprotective and are believed to improve learning. While citicoline seems to have more effective results than phosphatidylcholine because it enhances PC synthesis in your brain, citicoline’s potency can be compared to that of Alpha-GPC.

The recommended dosage of citicoline is 500-2,000 mg, which should be divided in two doses of 250-1,000 mg. The two doses are typically separated by around 12 hours, but a single daily dose may also be used. It’s important to note that a single dose of around 4,000 mg is no different than a dose of 2,000 mg in terms of its effects on the blood. So, you don’t need to take a high dose of 4000 mg to get powerful results.

There are certain properties of this supplement like attention or bioenergetics improvement, which appear to have stronger responses to lower dosages. Other properties such as appetite work differently and therefore, the right dosage is based more on the goal you want to achieve.

Being an intermediate between choline and phosphatidylcholine, citicoline gets converted into choline in your intestines and then takes the form of citicoline again as it makes its way through the blood-brain barrier. Phosphatidylcholine is a rate-limiting biological catalyst that is used to perform this transformation.

Choline is considered the brain’s first choice for Acetylcholine synthesis. In fact, it is involved in the breakdown of phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine. Acetylcholine is an essential neurotransmitter and its deficiency is believed to be associated with cognitive complications.

Citicoline also enhances Acetylcholine levels by freeing up choline for synthesis. It is also useful in restoring depleted phospholipid levels. By preserving phospholipids, this supplement has positive neuroprotective effects as well. This also helps in protecting the brain from oxidative damages.

Citicoline and Dopamine

Citicoline aims at encouraging dopamine release by means of the tyrosine hydroxylase activity. In fact, this supplement acts as a dopamine agonist by preventing dopamine re-uptake. Research has shown that when combined with L-DOPA, citicoline has positive effects in people experiencing Parkinson’s.

Citicoline and Hormones

This supplement affects the hormone levels in your body as well. It raises Adrenocorticotropic hormone and at the same time, makes sure that the stress hormones don’t increase. These effects tend to increase HPA axis hormones without stimulating stress hormones. HPA axis hormones such as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone carry several health benefits.

Citicoline and Neurology

According to a study, a dose of 250-500 mg of citicoline can enhance attention. It is also believed that this supplement has minor appetite reducing effects in the body at high doses like 2,000 mg daily. However, the reason behind this effect is yet to be known.

Choline generally has pain-killing effects as it enters the brain. This is because activated choline receptors promote the release of opioid painkillers. Citicoline injections appear to have painkilling effects because of its choline content. However, there isn’t any orally supplemented evidence at present. Citicoline is also known to have anti-addictive effects if taken at 500 mg two times every day. However, the supplement doesn’t seem to be excessively potent.

Side Effects

Citicoline is fairly tolerated in most people. Having low levels of toxicity in the body, citicoline doesn’t appear to have any connection with liver toxicity. Citicoline may lead to gastrointestinal issues in some cases. This can be associated with diarrhea and stomach problems. However, such side effects rarely occur.

Citicoline may also result in mild side effects when used in combination with racetams. Similarly, when used in combination with other supplements, citicoline may cause headaches.

Alpha GPC Citicoline Comparision

Both citicoline and alpha GPC are effective in improving memory and accelerating learning. But, you may find it difficult to determine which one would work best for you. By comparing the benefits and method of action of each supplement, you can make a well-informed decision.

Method of Action

Although both the nootropics achieve the same goal of ensuring acetylcholine abundance in the body, alpha GPC and citicoline significantly differ in terms of their respective methods of action. While citicoline functions as an intermediate to acetylcholine, alpha GPC works as a synthetic precursor to acetylcholine.

By freeing up choline for synthesis, citicoline aims to increase acetylcholine levels within the body. It further helps in restoring phospholipid levels that eventually become depleted. It should be noted that depleted phospholipid levels tend to result in cognitive decline. On the contrary, alpha GPC works by mimicking choline effects for producing acetylcholine. In fact, alpha GPC is deemed more effective than choline at acetylcholine conversion because of its exceptional chemical properties


The two nootropics have positive effects on the brain’s function and overall mental health. By enhancing acetylcholine levels, these nootropics address cholinergic deficiency. In fact, both alpha GPC and citicoline benefit individuals with choline or acetylcholine deficiencies.

The unique properties of citicoline cause it to affect the functioning of the dopamine transporter (DAT) while influencing dopamine release. Unlike alpha GPC, citicoline may positively affect dopaminergic neurons, which eventually leads to improvements in attention and focus.

Alpha GPC is known to improve cognitive function in individuals with damaged cholinergic systems like brain trauma sufferers or Alzheimer’s patients. Moreover, this nootropic triggers the release of essential human growth releasing hormones that further leads to natural HGH release. Natural human growth hormone plays an important role in repairing body tissue while stimulating the immune system.

It is important to note that both the nootropics have “anti-aging” effects on the nervous system. However, alpha GPC is better suited as a post workout choline replenishment supplement since it tends to activate the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, while citicoline serves as a stimulatory agent, making it a suitable option for enhanced focus and drive.


The use of both alpha GPC and citicoline is considered highly safe, particularly when used in their recommended amounts. Neither alpha GPC nor citicoline carry risk of causing addiction or toxic reactions. Having limited interactions, citicoline serves as a neuroprotective agent as well.

It is important to note that the two nootropics have very few, mild side effects that are usually experienced by sensitive individuals. However, a majority of these side effects can be avoided by reducing the dosage. Headaches and upset stomach are common side effects associated with the use of both nootropics.

It has been observed that cholinergic hyperactivity can lead to mood problems and abnormally high acetylcholine levels are related to depression. This makes depression a possible outcome of the over-dosage of both alpha GPC and citicoline. Alpha GPC may cause heartburn, rash, confusion or insomnia in sensitive individuals whereas citicoline may lead to nausea.


Both alpha GPC and citicoline are known to enhance the advantages of other nootropics, particularly the racetams. Citicoline stacks quite well with many cholinergics, particularly with racetam nootropics. This happens because citicoline tends to facilitate enhanced acetylcholine demand, which results in fewer side effects as compared to choline supplementation. Furthermore, citicoline stacks well with ACh inhibitors, particularly in individuals experiencing cholinergic deficiency. However, in other cases, this stack may lead to increased side effects.

The synergetic effects of alpha GPC are best observed when stacked with a racetam. For potentiating the effects, alpha GPC is typically stacked with cholinergic racetams. Racetams are known to increase the acetylcholine demand while alpha GPC facilitates the replenishment of these amounts without causing choline overload in the brain. It is typically believed that excessive choline can cause headaches and therefore, stacking with alpha GPC may reduce the possibility of experiencing such side effects. However, it is important to note that it is still a disputable claim.


While alpha GPC and citicoline greatly differ in terms of the method of action, the two share several similar nootropic effects. Both the nootropics enhance brain function by improving acetylcholine levels.  Neuroprotection has been observed in both as well. Alpha GPC and citicoline are equally effective in preventing aging. In fact, the two have very few, mild side effects.

At the end of the day, the decision of determining the better option between the two nootropics boils down to personal choice. Because each individual responds differently to these acetylcholine sources, the best strategy would be testing each of them out. Consider starting with any one of the two for several weeks before switching. Lastly, it is important to make sure that you have the most beneficial combination in your stack.

Why Do Some People Experience Headaches When Using Nootropics

Many people complain of headaches when using nootropics, especially racetams and cholinergics. There have been cases of other side effects as well like nausea and restlessness, but headaches seem to be the most frequently occurring side effect. It can be really irritating for the user if he/she gets headaches while trying to improve mental functioning.

Racetams like piracetam and aniracetam are especially known for causing unwanted headaches and even slight to severe migraines. Still, nootropics are generally safe to use and the chances of getting a headache depends on the dosage and user. There exist rational explanations for such side effects. Headaches caused by nootropics are not a cause for concern in most cases and also may be avoided by making use of some remedies.

The reason for such headaches is related to how nootropics work to enhance mental functioning. Most cognitive nootropic supplements work by affecting neurotransmitters and receptors inside the brain, often increasing their concentrations or up regulating the receptors. These neurotransmitters are responsible for memory formation and retention, learning, concentration, focus and attention span.

Neurotransmitters are released at a nerve ending, from where they travel across the synaptic cleft and bind to specific receptors. Because of the increased activity of neurotransmitters due to nootropics, there is a demand of higher concentrations of precursors for these neurotransmitters inside the brain. If the demand is not met, this over activity leads to depletion of neurotransmitters.headaches

Often, there aren’t enough precursors pre-existing to match up with the increased demand. These headaches can be compared with cramps and body ache that one feels after a long strenuous activity or exercise. The pain is due to the fact that the body is not used to working copiously for a long time. Same is the case with heightened brain activity and headaches. Just like the body gets used to an exercise after some time period, the brain adjusts to the enhanced neural functioning.

One way to deal with the problem of side effect of headaches is to consume precursor supplements along with cognitive nootropics. This will ensure that concentration levels of precursors stay high when there is an increase in demand and neurotransmitters are not depleted. For example, when taking racetams, use of choline supplements is recommended. This eases up the strain to keep up with the high demand of acetylcholine and prevents choline deficiency.

The use of choline or acetylcholine precursors is thought to help reduce the headaches caused by types of nootropics that work on acetylcholine receptors. The exact mechanisms of how this works is not completely understood because there are many steps and contributing factors in the synthesis, release and binding of acetylcholine. Nevertheless, supplementing with choline has anecdotally been reported to reduce the occurrence and severity of these headaches.

Nootropic users can increase acetylcholine with precursors like choline. The human body produces choline by itself, and most has be obtained through diet. Beef liver and eggs have high choline content. Another way is to give your brain time to adjust to the hyper neural activity. This can be ensured by starting off with smaller doses of the nootropic supplements and gradually increasing the dosage. This also helps you in finding out how your body reacts to the nootropics.

But if the headaches persist and continue to get stronger, it is recommended that you consult with a medical professional and revise your nootropic dosage. These headaches may not always be caused by nootropics alone. If the headache persists after adding in choline precursors, stop using all supplements and consult your doctor.

Acetylcholine/Choline Precursors to Stack with Racetams

bags of cholineRacetams are special types of nootropics that have a pyrrolidone nucleus and their primary purpose is to enhance different cognitive and mental functions. By using racetam supplements, one can enhance his/her focus, attention span, concentration and mood. One of the most well-known and commonly used racetams is piracetam, which is used in several countries to fight symptoms of different mental conditions ranging from Senile dementia to Schizophrenia.

What seems to be common among most racetam drugs is that they allosterically modulate acetylcholine receptors to enhance their activity and thus speed up the process of signal transfer in the nervous system and increase memory capacity. They also may stimulate the production of different neurotransmitters.

Surveys have shown that the consumption of racetam supplements is highest among college students. But that doesn’t imply that students are the only ones that can benefit from these drugs. Business executives, professors, basically anyone who works in a fast-paced but a stressful environment and needs a higher amount of mental focus can use the supplements to their advantage. Customers of nootropics range from all different ages and may use them for different purposes.

If racetam nootropics are stacked with choline or acetylcholine precursors, it may boost their effectiveness and potentiate their positive effects on cognitive abilities. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter among living organisms, which aids in transmitting electric signals throughout the nervous system via synapses. It is a very important neurotransmitter responsible for cognitive functioning, like memory formation and retention.

Choline is a natural precursor molecule for acetylcholine, which is formed when choline forms an ester bond with an acetic acid molecule. Hence, racetam nootropics with acetylcholine precursors may have far better effects in comparison to just consuming racetam supplements alone. Whether or not one will benefit from stacking racetams with choline is completely dependent on the individuals’ physiology.

There are a number of effective acetylcholine or choline precursors that can be stacked with racetam supplements. The best ones are listed and discussed below:


Phosphatidylcholine is a class of phospholipids (lipids with a phosphate group) that is turned into choline. Our natural sources of Phosphatidylcholine are foods like egg yolk and soy beans. The process of conversion to choline happens inside our bodies. Phosphatidylcholine as a dietary supplement is usually purified from lecithin (a brownish yellow fatty substance in plants and animals). Once inside our bodies, ten to twelve percent of the amount is converted into choline.

Choline Bitartrate

Choline Bitartrate is a salt from which choline can be obtained by the body, after the salt has been consumed. Choline Bitartrate has a high absorption rate which means it is readily absorbed by our digestive system. With the help of this supplement, high levels of choline and consequently acetylcholine can be achieved. Another choline salt that is commonly used as a supplement is Choline Citrate.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine or ALCAR

ALCAR is a precursor for acetylcholine. Inside the body, it is broken down into a chemical called acetyl-COA, which can form acetylcholine by simply combining with a choline molecule. Hence, it helps in making the biological process of converting choline to acetylcholine even more efficient. ALCAR is often used with choline salts like Choline Bitartrate to achieve maximum effects.

Citicoline (CDP choline)

CDP choline is one of the most effective choline supplements for increasing acetylcholine levels. It is so effective and potent, that it doesn’t require any other choline supplements with its use and also may have fewer side effects. CDP choline can pass through the blood brain barrier releases and releases choline in the brain during its metabolism. Thus, it makes more choline molecules available for conversion to acetylcholine.


Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is a naturally occurring choline compound found in milk and brain. It is also a precursor molecule for acetylcholine. It is synthesized from soy lecithin to be used as a nootropics supplement to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Like CDP choline, its high effectiveness makes it possible to use it without other choline sources.

Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors

Apart from these precursors, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can also be combined with racetam nootropics. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine. The inhibitor’s job is to stop the working of this enzyme and thus leads to higher levels of acetylcholine inside the brain.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may be used in combination with racetams and choline. Usually, using acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may be effective without choline. Stacking them with choline may increase negative side effects depending on the person. Two of the most popular acetylcholinesterase inhibitors used are huperzine A and galantamine. Many nootropic formulations make use of the ACh inhibitor + choline combination as less choline per capsule is needed to get a positive effect on acetylcholine levels in the brain.

What Are Cholinergic Nootropics?

You may hear the word “cholinergic” tossed around quite frequently on this blog and others. This is because the word cholinergic often involves nootropics. Cholinergic means the acetylcholine-producing system. This is the system that manages and creates acetylcholine however the word often refers to anything involving acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine Function

Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter discovered. It plays a number of roles within the body and throughout the different systems. It is vastly important in maintaining heart rate and moving muscles. These are just some of the important methods acetylcholine carries.

Acetylcholine is also important in cognitive functioning. It plays a prominent role in decision-making and learning as well as memory. Acetylcholine is also very important in sensory perception and this is the reason why many people taking racetam nootropics may have an enhancement in the vividness of colors (a commonly reported effect when first starting racetams).

The cholinergic system is important because it helps to create and manage acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is derived and synthesized from the natural compound, choline. There are many factors in determining if choline will be synthesized into acetylcholine. If the cholinergic system is damaged, it may have trouble creating acetylcholine or getting a successful reaction from the receptors. This is thought to be in part, what causes or causes the degradation in Alzheimer’s disease.

Types of Cholinergic Nootropics

There are many types of cholinergic nootropics. Technically, cholinergic nootropics would only involve nootropics involved in the synthesis of acetylcholine. For simplicity, any nootropic involving acetylcholine is referred to as cholinergic. Examples of cholinergic are: acetylcholine precursors, positive allosteric modulators and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

Acetylcholine Precursors

Acetylcholine precursors are considered true cholinergic nootropics because they help to produce acetylcholine. Choline itself is an acetylcholine precursor but not a nootropic because it does not produce noticeable enhancements to cognitive functioning (unless the individual is deficient).

Two common acetylcholine producing nootropics are alpha GPC and citicoline. These two work in different ways to create higher levels of acetylcholine. One of them breaks down into acetylcholine whereas the other acts and an intermediate in the production of acetylcholine. Alpha GPC and citicoline both have nootropic benefits.

Cholinergic Positive Allosteric Modulators

A positive allosteric modulator is any substance that amplifies a signal at a receptor. In the case of cholinergic positive allosteric modulators, we are primarily referring to racetam nootropics. Racetam nootropics act to amplify the signal of acetylcholine receptors. This is a primary nootropic action of these substances. The reason racetam nootropics do not get their own category is because many act as ampakines as well.

Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. The enzyme is important for life by terminating muscle movements and contractions. Having too much acetylcholinesterase can be negative for cognition. This is where acetylcholinesterase inhibitors come into play.

acetylcholine acetylcholinesterase

There are two groups of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors: reversible and irreversible. Reversible are the only types that can used as nootropics because irreversible inhibits are toxic. Many toxins and chemical weapons like nerve gas are irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. On the other hand, reversible inhibitors like galantamine and huperzine A are reversible and great nootropics.

Cholinergic Stacking

Many people will choose to create a cholinergic stack. Most nootropic stacks involve cholinergic nootropics somehow as these are a primary type aside from glutamatergic and dopaminergic nootropics. Choosing a combination of cholinergic nootropics may create a synergy that amplifies the effects of the others.

This is why many people will combine a cholinergic racetam(s) with a choline source or acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. The cholinergic racetam acts as a positive allosteric modulator at the acetylcholine receptor therefore creating a demand of choline within the brain. Combining the choline with the racetam may help to potentiate the nootropic benefits or reduce possible side effects due to cholinergic deficiency.

Understanding the Different Types of Choline

Choline is a word we hear quite commonly when talking about nootropics. Outside of this, we do not hear a lot about choline. This is unfortunate because a lot of people do not get enough choline and this can have negative effects on cognition.

Choline used to be considered a member of the b-vitamin family due to its close similarities in structure. Like other members of the essential b-vitamin class, choline also plays a large role in cognition. Unlike the b-vitamins however, choline is often deficient especially in those who don’t get enough quality nutrition for animal products (vegans, elderly).

Cholines’ Function in the Human Body

Cholines’ main function is to convert into acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is vastly important in cognition and having a depleted supply has negative consequences on the brain. Therefore, not having enough choline in the body may negatively impact acetylcholine levels.

Being deficient in choline can have some negative consequences to cognition. The amount of recommended choline needed to be healthy increases through childhood and remains high throughout adulthood. Not meeting these levels can directly impact your health. Some people are more at risk of being deficient and the number is much higher than most may think (even in western culture). The side effects of choline deficiency may vary depending on the level of severity. Below are some of the most common choline deficiency signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Trouble Remembering

Types of Choline Supplements

Not all choline is created equal. When nootropic users refer to choline, they are often referring to choline supplements. In this case, choline means some type of supplement which has an end result of higher acetylcholine levels. Just how the supplement converts in the process to acetylcholine may differ. This differing in process can greatly impact the efficiency of acetylcholine conversion. It is important to remember the difference between choline and acetylcholine as choline itself plays a number of other important functions within the body.

Choline in Food

Choline can be obtained naturally through food. The recommended amount will differ based on age and sex. The chart below will show the needed amount of choline recommended based on age and sex. If you don’t think that you meet these requirements through food alone, supplementation may be a good option.

choline recommend daily intake


Phosphatidylcholine Supplements

Phosphatidylcholine is extracted from certain food sources rich in choline and turned into a purified supplement. It is the most prominent type of choline is most foods. Phosphatidylcholine coverts into choline within the body however it is only about 13% choline based on weight. For this reason, it is one of the least efficient choline supplements for acetylcholine conversion based of weight.

Lecithin Supplements

Lecithin is another type of common choline supplement. It can be derived from either soy of egg however soy lecithin is the most common form. Lecithin is pretty good at converting into choline however there are still much more efficient supplements out there.


Choline can come in pure form. It is a water soluble nutrient that can become available in many different forms. The nutrient is available in a number of salt forms. One of the most common types of salt forms is choline bitatrate and this is the most used by nootropics users. Choline bitatrate is popular because it is effective, cheap and highly available. Regardless, there are still even better “choline” sources as nootropics.

Citicoline (CDP Choline)

Citicoline is highly sought after as a nootropic. Unlike other choline sources, it is considered to be a highly efficient acetylcholine source and supposed nootropic. It is an intermediate between natural phosphatidylcholine and choline. This property changes how it is metabolized and used within the body. Citicoline converts into choline in the GI tract and then back into citicoline once in crosses the blood brain barrier.

Citicoline helps to free up choline in the brain to be synthesized into acetylcholine. It is better than pure choline and phosphatidylcholine at converting into acetylcholine. Citicoline also helps to replenish depleted phospholipid levels.

Alpha GPC (GPC Choline)

Alpha GPC is another popular nootropic supplement for nootropic users. Like citicoline, it also is highly nootropic on its own. It is more expensive than other choline supplements and can be comparable to citicoline in nootropic qualities.

Alpha GPC differs from citicoline and is not an intermediate between choline. The supplement works to increase acetylcholine levels during the breakdown. When the body breaks down alpha gpc, it creates acetylcholine. In this case, alpha gpc is one of the closest supplements one can take to acetylcholine (pure acetylcholine cannot cross the blood-brain-barrier).

Alpha GPC Review

If you are considering a “choline” supplement, you may have considered alpha GPC as an option. Alpha GPC is a great supplement and perhaps the most suitable for you. Its cost is considerably more than choline however unlike choline, it actually is considered to have nootropic qualities when taken alone. Regardless, it is most commonly stacked with cholinergic compounds such as racetams for best results.

What Makes Alpha GPC Special?

Comparing alpha GPC to choline is like comparing apples to oranges. Both can help increase the amount of choline and acetylcholine however each works and metabolizes differently. There are many ways to increase the amount of acetylcholine. Some supplements like choline bitatrate act as an external choline source whereas alpha GPC is a phospholipid that converts into choline within the brain. Alpha GPC is more effective than choline at getting into certain parts of the brain more efficiently with fewer side effects.

How alpha gpc converts into choline in the brain makes it the most valuable. It is considered a choline prodrug that is hands down the best acetylcholine supplement based on weight. If you are considering the best choline supplement and are less concerned about price, this supplement may be for you.

Benefits of Stacking Alpha GPC

Most of the benefits of alpha GPC will be apparent when the supplement is stacked with cholinergic supplements and drugs. Its effects when supplemented alone may not be fully transparent however one might experience a slight increase in their cognitive functions.

Stacking alpha GPC with racetams is the most common and the combination may have synergistic effects. Some people suggest that they can feel a difference between choline and alpha GPC when stacking with racetams however there have been any documented studies to verify this. It is possible that alpha gpc may have efficiency over choline on how it produces acetylcholine in certain parts of the brain.

Studies have shown alpha GPC to be effective when combined with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. There are several types of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors one may decide to stack however huperzine A and galantamine are two of the most popular.

Is Alpha GPC the Best Choline?

Many people claim alpha gpc to be the best choline source. This is not far off from the truth and cdp choline (citicoline) is probably the most comparable to it. As far as choline potency, gpc wins over cdp. On the downside, it is more expensive than cdp choline so this is something to take into consideration. In regard to nootropic effects, both work very well at increasing choline and how it is used in the brain. Both are recommended choline sources.

One thing to consider when buying alpha gpc, is how it is purified. Some nootropic suppliers will sell the cheaper version which in comprised of mostly filler. These versions are much less in potency because the substance has only been purified once. Retailers buy the cheaper version for higher profits may or may not offer it for the same price and the pure version of gpc. At elite nootropics, we only sell the high purified version.


Alpha gpc has been considered to be very safe and low in side effects however there are some things to remember. Having too much acetylcholine can affect some people and therefore increasing these levels with supplements can cause problems. Most of these problems do not affect the central nervous system and exist mostly as side effects on the mood.

It is thought that side effects like: depression, irritability and aggressiveness may be a result of neurotransmitter imbalances caused by an acetylcholine spike. There is not exact science but some believe having too much choline supplementation will cause these problems. Alpha gpc seems to cause less side effects than supplements like choline bitatrate however one must be aware of this when taking these types of supplements