Choline

How Choline May Be Affecting Your Sleep&h=140&w=140&zc=1

How Choline May Be Affecting Your Sleep

Added March 4, 2015 in Choline, Sleep

While focusing on both your body and brain, choline is an important nutrient. Due to its role in acetylcholine production, it helps boost cognitive abilities, while supporting cell membranes, liver function, and more. Choline is a water-soluble nutrient, which belongs to the B-complex vitamin family.

Not only does it play an important role regarding the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, but it also promotes sleep. You can source choline from your diet, however not everyone is consuming enough. For this reason, choline supplements are available.

Why Do We Need Choline?

While focusing on our sleeping patterns, choline helps maintain smooth, healthy sleep-cycles. We naturally produce choline in our bodies, which helps to regulate our internal clock. This is known as our circadian rhythm, which is directly linked to our wake-sleep cycle. Choline can also target symptoms of depression, nerve injuries, and even PMS.

As mentioned, choline is used to make acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter plays numerous roles within our brain and body. Since neurotransmitters influence communication between various systems, they help regulate anything from hunger, to sleep, to mood.

Acetylcholine specifically, is involved in both consciousness and memory. Not only does it help induce sleep, but it promotes dreaming. When you’re asleep and dreaming, acetylcholine levels tend to be high.

Why Sleep Is So Important

On average, we spend about 25 years of our life sleeping. Although this may seem alarming, sleep is essential for overall health and cognitive functioning. In fact, many do not get enough sleep. This is why many are looking for ways to increase their quality of sleep. Sleeping pills are not generally ideal, so more natural solutions are being explored.

While we sleep, our body goes into a state of repair. Our bodies do a lot for us during the day, which is why this time is required for daily maintenance. Although possible, repairing our bodies while we’re awake is more difficult. Some of the key processes during this time, include eliminating toxins, consolidating memories, utilizing nutrients, and resetting neurotransmitter levels.

Think about when you do not sleep for even a night. You typically feel the effects, whether you feel tired, confusion, or grumpy; lack of sleep can really affect you. When individuals are continuously deficient in sleep, this can lead to significant health concerns. You will feel increased levels of fatigue, which can disrupt your mood, and make you more susceptible to illness.

If you cannot sleep, you could be experiencing a number of issues. One possibility is the potential for chemical imbalances. Our hormones drop and rise based on external factors and the time of day. Melatonin for instance, increases when your body is preparing for sleep. If you suffer from imbalances, you may struggle to maintain consistent sleeping patterns.

How Is Choline Linked to Sleep?

We now know that sleep is important for various processes and maintenance of positive health, but what does choline have to do with all this? While taking choline supplements, users are often attempting to target their brain health or memory. However, choline may also be linked to REM sleep.

As we sleep, we go through different stages. The fifth, deepest stage of sleep, is known as REM sleep (rapid eye movement). It is believed that choline is directly linked to this cycle, which is viewed as the most vital sleep state. Research supports the idea that REM sleep is responsible for processing learned information.

Choline is also associated with our ability to avoid distractions. Our stimulus barrier allows us to focus on one task, avoiding external cues while awake. The same is believed to be true for sleep. While we’re asleep, our stimulus barrier helps filter out noise, so that we can achieve REM sleep.

In terms of dreaming, choline can increase dream activity. When we process memories, acetylcholine plays a role while we sleep. When memories are processed, it creates dreams. For some, choline supplements allow individuals to remember their dreams more effectively.

Although choline has been linked to sleep, it is not recommended that you take a dosage before bed. This can actually lead to higher stimulation, forcing you to stay awake. Take your dose early in the day, as this is not meant to be a sleep-aid taken directly before bed.

Choline and Lucid Dreaming

It is believed that choline increases overall dream activity. In some cases, when users take choline supplements, they can remember their dreams more vividly. Choline supplements have also been reported, in terms of making dreams more exciting. Lucid dreams are often experienced when taking choline supplements.

When you’re in a lucid dream, you tend to be more aware. Although you will be asleep, you can become slightly conscious in terms of your dream’s content. This level of consciousness, could potentially allow you to control the circumstances of your dream.

Although we have learned so much, there is still a lot we do not fully understand. This has created some skepticism on lucid dreams. Some say that lucid dreaming may not be a state of sleep at all. Instead, it is a brief moment of wakefulness.

Regardless of conflicting views, many find lucid dreams enjoyable. For some, it allows them to visualize potential goals. While taking choline supplements, it is believed that lucid dreams become more achievable. Some great options are Alpha GPC or Citicoline.

Although this sounds like an exciting adventure, there are precautions. If you take a choline supplement late at night, it can lead to very vivid nightmares. Once again, consume your choline supplements early in the day. At this point, research suggests that choline supplementation is a potential short-term treatment for sleep. There is no evidence at this point, suggesting that it’s effective long-term. If you have any questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

Treating Depression and Anxiety Through Choline Supplements&h=140&w=140&zc=1

Treating Depression and Anxiety Through Choline Supplements

Added February 13, 2015 in Anxiety, Choline

Depression is a condition in which we commonly treat with antidepressants and other drugs. These medications create many potential side-effects, as they combat one’s symptoms. Since these drugs increase neurotransmitter levels and activity, your diet and supplementation can also play a role.

Choline supplements are now being researched for their effects on depression and anxiety. In fact, choline supplementation has been shown to improve mania in patients that suffer from bipolar disorder. Although evidence is limited at this time, many have reviewed choline supplements, explaining how they’ve helped improve their overall mood.

When choline levels are low, individuals often experience anxiety. Therefore, choline may be a great way to boost your mood, while reducing anxiety. First, let’s take a closer look at depression and anxiety, then focus on the ways in which choline may benefit the symptoms of these conditions.

Current Treatment Options for Depression and Anxiety

It is hard to generalize, as each individual is unique. Not only does your environment play a role in your mental state, but your brain chemistry does as well. When someone experiences mild to moderate depression, they may also suffer from anxiety. The symptoms of both these conditions, tends to hinder one’s ability to maintain their quality of life.

Currently, most people being treated for depression and anxiety, are taking prescription medication. Due to the rising concerns regarding antidepressants, more and more people are looking for alternative methods. For some, antidepressants actually worsen their mood, leading to thoughts of suicide. As some people take these drugs, their symptoms of depression and anxiety tend to worsen.

Your lifestyle choices can have a large impact on your mood. There have been many studies conducted, which support the fact that a balance diet and ample exercise, contribute to a more stable state-of-mind. What happens when a healthy diet is not enough? What if you are not getting all the nutrients you need? For this reason, many are seeking out supplements, eliminating various deficiencies.

Taking Choline Supplements for Depression

Although our bodies can produce choline, it is typically not enough. It is highly recommended that you seek-out choline sources, incorporating them into your diet. If you do not get enough choline in your diet, then supplements are your best bet.

When you have enough choline in your body, you experience multiple benefits. Not only is this molecule linked to improved mood, but increased cardiovascular health, the prevention of neural tube defects, and improved memory.

The level of choline in your system, directly influences your acetylcholine levels. Since choline is a direct precursor to this neurotransmitter, it indirectly affects cognitive functioning, mood, brain health, and more.

How Acetylcholine Relates to Mood

We now know that choline influences acetylcholine production, but what then? How do increasing levels of acetylcholine benefit one’s mood? It is believed that acetylcholine may hinder or stimulate various functions regarding mood. Mood regulation is crucial, when attempting to prevent depression.

Although research has been fairly limited, numerous studies have found a correlation between high levels of anxiety, and low levels of choline. There is also a relation between acetylcholine and GABA, a neurotransmitter that is known for its ability to regulate high levels of stress.

In some cases, acetylcholine helps to increase GABA levels, which can help combat overwhelming symptoms of depression and anxiety. Since choline plays such a vital role in the production of acetylcholine, supplementation may successfully treat anxiety and depression.

How Choline Impacts Your Brain

If you are deficient in choline, you could potentially experience a number of complications. Not only are poor moods common, but a lack of energy, as well as memory loss. When you become deficient, it may be necessary to supplement. Although supplementation is typically the best way to get enough choline, you should also focus on incorporating more choline-rich foods into your diet.

When you consume foods that are high in essential fatty acids and B6, you can start to balance low levels of choline. The following are some the richest sources of choline within your diet:

  • Vegetables: While attempting to kickstart acetylcholine production, there are various vegetables to choose from. The same is true for some herbs and spices, so make sure you’re consuming a varied, yet balanced diet. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are both great options, each containing around 60 mg of choline.
  • Nuts, Seeds, and Soy: If you’re looking to amp up your choline intake, then add more flax seed, organic soy, and nuts into your diet. If you do not eat meat, then focus on consuming foods such as tofu (as 3 ounces, yields about 100 mg of choline).
  • Eggs and Milk: Eating one large egg, will provide your body with approximately 120 mg of choline. Although not as high, 1 cup of skim milk, still yields 38 mg of choline.
  • Meat and Seafood: Meat is typically very high in choline. Only about 3 ounces of beef liver, provides you with 350 mg of choline. The same is true for seafood, as 3 ounces of cod, salmon, or shrimp; all provide you with 60-140 mg of choline.

Recommended Dosage of Choline Supplements

It is recommended that you take anywhere from 250 mg to 500 mg, once daily. The maximum dosage is debatable amongst providers, however, adults can typically use up to 1.0 grams daily. If you have never taken this supplement before, start with 50 mg a day. From there, you can increase your dosage.

Although choline bitartrate is the most commonly sold supplement in health stores, Alpha GPC and Citicoline are more reliable sources, as they contain higher concentrations of bioavailable choline. You can purchase these options online, as they are harder to find in retail stores.

The Most Significant Benefits Associated with Citicoline&h=140&w=140&zc=1

The Most Significant Benefits Associated with Citicoline

Added December 5, 2014 in Choline

Citicoline is a nootropic supplement that benefits your intelligence and brain health. It has become an increasingly popular supplement, as it’s well tolerated. Due to its benefits and low level of side-effects, Citicoline is popular within the nootropic community.

Our bodies can actually produce Citicoline, as it’s a natural chemical that our bodies produce. Although our bodies are capable of making this chemical, it’s only produced in small amounts. Some of the key benefits include improved memory, increased mental energy, and improve learning abilities.

When used in a stack, it helps increase the benefits of other nootropics. Experts tend to agree, Citicoline is a supplement that should be incorporated into everyone’s routine. Whether you’re a student, athlete, or mom; you can benefit from taking this supplement.

What Exactly Is Citicoline?

As mentioned, Citicoline is a nutrient that is found within our body. In terms of nootropics, it’s so beneficial due to its effects on acetylcholine within the brain. When you take this supplement, you increase metabolism and mental energy, improve blood circulation, while increasing levels of focus, concentration and motivation.

It was originally developed in Japan, to help people recover from the symptoms of stroke. In addition to its cognitive benefits, Citicoline also shows promising effects for patients suffering from glaucoma. It is highly recommended within any stack or can be taken on its own.

What Benefits Can I Expect to Experience?

Whenever you begin taking a supplement, you want to make sure that you will benefit. The following benefits are the most important and significant:

Improving Memory

When users begin exploring the world of nootropics, they’re often looking to improve memory function. Users look for memory boosting effects for numerous reasons. For students, increased memory function and retention help with studying efforts. For middle-aged users, they are often looking to prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

As we age, our cognitive functioning begins to decline. It’s important to take preventative measures at any age. Being proactive towards your brain health, can have positive effects on your future. This is why boosting acetylcholine levels through choline supplementation, is common and beneficial.

When users take Citicoline, they experience improved memory function. This is not only in terms of memory formation, but memory recall and learning capacity as well. This is achieved through increased levels of acetylcholine. This vital neurotransmitter boosts various cognitive processes that include memory benefits.

We are all unique beings, therefore not everyone experiences the same level of effects. Some users only feel a subtle improvement, while others experience a more significant effect. Some users can recall certain facts that they may have forgotten; or can recall dreams they once had. Others, experience more long-term memory effects. Meaning they’re able to recall details from conversations or from books they’ve read for the first time.

Increased Levels of Energy

Another key benefit is increased brain energy. Once again, this is due to heightened levels of acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter helps regulate mental clarity and focus. When taking these supplements, users also experience an increase in their attention span. When users need to sit through lengthy presentations or lectures, this supplement is ideal.

When you increase mental energy, you essentially improve your ability to concentrate. After taking Citicoline, you may notice that you’re less distracted. This will help you achieve the task at hand. Users have also experienced an increase in ambition and motivation. Overall, this improved mental energy, makes users more productive and focused.

Using Citicoline within a Clinical Setting

Although less common in the United States, many countries are prescribing Citicoline for medical purposes (especially in Europe). As mentioned, this supplement was first developed for victims of stroke. It helps repair some of the damage that’s caused by a stroke. In some cases, it helps develop new neurons and connections within the brain.

Citicoline is also being used for diseases that cause cognitive decline. Whether individuals are experiencing age-related memory loss, or they’re suffering from dementia; this supplement is a common treatment within many countries.

There have been some promising advances made in terms of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s been research that supports the benefits of Citicoline and Alzheimer’s. Although the cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood, it’s believed that low levels of acetylcholine play a role.

Since Citicoline helps boost acetylcholine levels, it may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s patients. This is encouraging, as millions of people are affected by Alzheimer’s worldwide. Citicoline is also believed to help treat patients with ADHD, as well as other disorders that affect one’s ability to focus.

Taking Citicoline In a Stack

When taking nootropics, Citicoline is generally included in a stack. This helps to increase the benefits that are experienced, while decreasing one’s risk of side-effects. Although nootropics tend to create only mild side-effects, these effects can be improved by taking Citicoline.

For example, the racetams class of nootropics, can cause users to experience headaches. Although these headaches are not often severe, no one wants to experience headaches when taking supplements. Citicoline is very effective at relieving this unpleasant possibility.

When users experience headaches, it’s generally due to acetylcholine receptors being over-worked. Since choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, it helps one’s brain meet acetylcholine demands. This helps to prevent synapse burnout.

The main reason to take Citicoline within your stack, is to intensify the benefits experienced. When you incorporate Citicoline into your stack, it strengthens the pathways, helping both supplements to work together. Due to the two different methods of action, these supplements increase the power of one another.

A classic example of this is Citicoline and Aniracetam. This type of stack increases one’s memory performance and plasticity. If you are currently taking any nootropics, you should consider adding Citicoline to your routine.

Overall Review

Due to the number of benefits, this is one of the safest and most effective supplements for beginners. Although it’s great for beginners, it does not rule out more experienced users. Since it directly affects acetylcholine in a positive manner, it helps to improve mental energy, memory, and a number of other cognitive processes for any user.

The Role and Importance of Acetylcholine In the Brain&h=140&w=140&zc=1

The Role and Importance of Acetylcholine In the Brain

Added November 18, 2014 in Choline

Within the nootropic world, choline and acetylcholine are popular topics. What role do they have within the brain? How do they relate to cognition and brain health? Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitters that plays a large role in a variety of cognitive abilities.

Not only does it help improve memory, reasoning, and concentration, but it also creates protective benefits. This helps to reduce the effects of neurological decay and degenerative diseases. As many nootropics create these positive effects, it’s a topic being explored for Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

How Do Neurotransmitters Work?

There’s no doubt that our brain is highly complex. The way it communicates and functions is incredible, as we’re still learning new information everyday. When you think of neurotransmitters, picture them as chemical messengers within our brain.

These brain chemicals originate naturally within our body. They deliver messages from one neuron to another, communicating across synapses. When neurotransmitters travel between synapses, they bind to specific receptor sites.

These receptor sites are designed to receive messages from specific chemicals. When these receptor sites are activated, they will either fire an excitatory response, or an inhibitory response. Based on the response, we will experience different effects and benefits.

What Is Acetylcholine’s Role?

This neurotransmitter was the the first to be identified, back in 1914. Specific cells respond to acetylcholine, which are spread out across the brain. These sites are referred to as ‘cholinergic.’ When receptor sites are activated, communication is sent from the basal forebrain to the hippocampus. These areas manage learning and memory.

Acetylcholine is responsible for various processes, including the encoding of memories and our ability to concentrate. Acetylcholine also encourages synaptogenesis, which is the growth of healthy synapses within the brain. This helps increase the productivity of communication.

This is known as ‘neuro-plasticity,’ which is linked to various conditions. When there’s a lack of plasticity, diseases such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s are more probable. Not only does this neurotransmitter affect our brain, it also influences the respiratory and cardiovascular system.

How Does the Body Make Acetylcholine?

Although the body naturally produces acetylcholine, it needs specific pre-cursors. When choline is present, the body can naturally make this neurotransmitter. Choline is a nutrient, in which you should be supplying your brain with. Typically, you should consume around 550 mg of choline per day. At this consumption level, you’ll be able to maintain proper levels of acetylcholine, preserving its role in the brain.

There are various food sources that provide choline, including low-fat dairy, eggs, meat, seafood, nuts, and oat bran. However, even a healthy, balanced diet can leave you deficient of choline. This is why many individuals are supplementing.

How Can I Supplement Choline and Acetylcholine?

Taking acetylcholine on its own would not be effective, as it cannot cross the blood brain-barrier. An acetylcholine pill would not make its way to the brain, which would limit the effects you’re after. With that being said, there are several ways to boost choline, allowing your brain to make acetylcholine.

The first option is Citicoline, as it’s the most highly bioavailable form of choline. In comparison to any other supplement, Citicoline or CDP Choline, is the most effective for this purpose. Alpha GPC is another pre-cursor, breaking down into the chemical immediately. This supplement works as an antioxidant, while improving learning and memory.

You can also supplement with choline bitartrate, which is technically classified as a salt. Although it’s inexpensive and easy to find, it does not create strong benefits like the top options do. You can also consume pills of soy lecithin, which is the choline naturally found in meat, fish, and eggs. However, it can be difficult to get enough through this option.

Another way to increase acetylcholine is to block enzymes that inhibit this neurotransmitter in the brain. An example is Acetylcholinesterase, which is an enzyme that limits excessive levels of acetylcholine. Huperzine A is a great supplement to reduce inhibition, which allows your brain to retain higher levels of acetylcholine.

Choosing the Best Acetylcholine Supplements

When it comes to nootropics, sometimes you need to experiment with the best option for you and your needs. You can try any of the supplements mentioned above, or you can experiment with others. There are three basic types of acetylcholine supplements.

The first is agonists, such as Piracetam and other racetams. They help release more acetylcholine, by stimulating receptors. The second is choline sources as mentioned above. These target the production of acetylcholine. Last, there’s antagonists, such as Huperzine A.

Although each type directly affects acetylcholine, the best option will combine all three. You can stack Piracetam, Alpha GPC, and Huperzine A, to ensure the highest levels of acetylcholine. You aren’t limited to this stack, so your stack will depend on your personal goals.

Losing Weight with the Help of Choline&h=140&w=140&zc=1

Losing Weight with the Help of Choline

Added October 13, 2014 in Choline

Losing weight can seem like a never ending battle. Many people struggle to reach their goal weight, as weight loss is a complicated process. Individuals are always looking for the next trendy diet in order to lose weight. However, there are many options that do not yield negative, or even painful side effects.

Although choline is essential for your health (both body and mind), many people are not aware of it. Within the nootropics community, many are familiar with stacking choline supplements, as they provide many benefits regarding brain health. Well, what about weight loss? Can choline make you lose some of that excess weight?

Health Benefits of Choline

It wasn’t until the 1970s that researchers discovered the connection between choline and acetylcholine. Since choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, it helps enhance memory, learning, and attention.

Due to its effect on the brain, choline has been shown to help with symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related memory conditions. Aside from cognitive diseases and conditions, choline is also helpful for Huntington’s, asthma, allergies, Tourette’s, and schizophrenia.

Many athletes also take choline to give them an edge over their competitors. Taking choline, helps delay fatigue. Athletes that benefit the most are weight lifters and body builders. Endurance athletes also benefit greatly.

Choline as a Weight Loss Solution

Choline works by promoting lipolysis, meaning you can burn more fat than you would at your normal metabolic rate. Choline helps to transport dietary fats to various cells, allowing them to be burned as an energy source. This is beneficial for the prevention of future weight gain.

Although we consume choline in our diet, our bodies are capable of producing it (only in small amounts). There are a wide variety of foods that are high in choline, however many are supplementing to meet their daily needs. Foods highest in choline are; shrimp, beef liver, cauliflower, turkey, cod, and collard greens.

Since choline is important for liver function, low choline levels can lead to fatty liver disease. A healthy liver is of course crucial for maintaining good health, including a healthy weight. Recent studies have found that consuming additional sources of choline, promotes weight loss, reducing total body fat percentage.

Effects of Choline on Weight Loss

Our bodies typically burn glucose first over other energy sources. However, choline is an important supplement for weight loss, because of its lipotropic effect. This means that choline uses fat for energy, in comparison to glucose.

Choline is also highly beneficial for the liver. It helps break down fat that is ‘trapped.’ Having this nutrient ensures that fatty acids are available to convert fat into energy. Although it is not the most conventional weight loss solution, it is a great complement within a stack. Stack choline with natural diet pills, enhancing weight loss potential.

After your take a choline supplement, it’s beneficial to exercise, using your muscles. Once this fat is freed up, it can be used as energy. Working out will allow you to burn this fat at an even faster rate. Getting into this habit can promote a healthier lifestyle as well.

Which Stacks Work Best for Weight Loss?

Individuals that actively take choline to lose weight, typically take it in a stack. For example, choline is often taken with carnitine or caffeine, making a more potent weight loss stack. When you take choline and carnitine together, you increase the rate of which you’re metabolizing lipids.

The carnitine component, ensures that your muscles get enough energy and inhibit the storage of carbohydrates as fat. Caffeine is known to boost one’s metabolism, effectively burning more fat. If you’re looking for fast results, consider a potent source of choline. Alpha GPC is your best option, as it’s most potent.

Alpha GPC has a high bioavailability, and has been shown to increase human growth hormones (especially when taken while exercising). This hormone is key regarding lean muscle mass, and the ability to burn extra calories. These effects are not as powerful when taking choline citrate or choline bitartrate.

Recommended Dosage

If you’re specifically taking choline to lose weight, then you should be taking approximately 300 to 500 mg daily. It is best to take your dose in the morning, as choline taken late in the day may affect sleeping patterns. You can also take it prior to working out.

If you’re unsure, start with a smaller dose, seeing how your body reacts. This is a natural supplement, however you should always be cautious when trying any new supplement. There have been some minor side effects reported, so be aware of this.

Some users have reported headaches, sweating, loss of appetite, and raised temperatures. If you’re using a lower quality choline supplement (such as choline bitartrate), you may experience some stomach discomfort. However, it’s recommended that you take high-potency options such as Alpha GPC or Citicoline to avoid this.

Are You Getting Enough Choline in Your Diet?&h=140&w=140&zc=1

Are You Getting Enough Choline in Your Diet?

Added October 12, 2014 in Choline

There are a million diets out there. Some of the most common are gluten-free diets, low carb diets, vegan diets, and many more. A choline-rich diet is not as common as other diets, however it is highly critical for your mental health and cognitive performance.

Since nootropics focus on enhancing cognitive function, having enough organic compounds like choline, helps maintain, repair, and improve brain health and functioning. Choline is found in many foods, as it is critical for mental performance.

What is Choline?

Choline is a water soluble nutrient, which is related to the B complex vitamins. Although our bodies can naturally make small amounts of choline, we rely on our diet and supplementation. It plays a vital role in many internal systems, especially within the brain.

Choline increases cholinergic activity, due to its role in acetylcholine synthesis. When levels of acetylcholine are low, individuals generally experience inattention, decreased mental energy, and difficulty recalling memories.

The main benefits associated with choline supplementation include:

  • Prevention of headaches (especially when taken in a stack with a racetam)
  • Better memory recall
  • Improved learning ability
  • Higher levels of mental energy
  • Improved mood
  • Counteracts insomnia, allowing individuals to improve REM sleep
  • Increase focus and concentration
  • Reduces symptoms of ADD and ADHD

How Our Bodies Utilize Choline

The most important role of choline is aiding in the production of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that relates to verbal reasoning, mental clarity, memory, response to stimuli, and the ability to recall.

Although acetylcholine is commonly related to cognition, it is also involved in many other vital functions. Your organs, such as the heart and intestine, rely on acetylcholine. The same is true for your muscles. Any muscle you move requires a signal of acetylcholine in order to contract.

The Dangers of Being Choline Deficient

Although we have access to so much fresh food, many people are still deficient in choline. There have been estimates as high as 90%, regarding the percentage of the population that’s deficient. Over the years, our diets have changed. Modern diets highly differ from ancient consumption.

Choline helps maintain healthy brain cells. When you do not consume enough choline, your brain suffers in terms of plasticity. This means, you’re less able to form new connections. When new connections are not able to form, memory, mental clarity, and reasoning all suffer. Choline deficiency may also be linked to more severe conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.

Although more research needs to be conducted, we know that Alzheimer’s is related to an aging brain. As the brain ages, less synaptic connections are formed, due to hardened tissue. Meaning, choline may help counteract the untreatable symptoms that are associated with Alzheimer’s.

How Can I Get More Choline?

There are two ways in which you can consume choline. The first is the foods you eat. Various foods are high sources, which should be incorporated into a balanced diet. The other option is through supplements. These are becoming more and more popular amongst the nootropics community.

Food Sources

Before you can increase your consumption, you need to know which food items are rich in choline. The good news is, choline-rich items can be found in any local grocery store. Some of the highest options are; beef liver, shrimp, eggs, salmon, peanut butter, turkey, collard greens, milk, and wheat germ.

Sure, all of these items are fairly common, so what’s the issue? Well, majority of people are not consuming enough. The recommended daily dose for men is 550 mg, while women should consume 450 mg daily. To put this into perspective, 3 ounces of liver will provide 350 mg of choline.

Ancient diets were more likely to support this recommended amount of choline. You would need to eat 1 to 2 servings of beef liver everyday in order to reach the recommended dose. No one wants to eat that much liver, so try and incorporate as many different sources into your diet. Vegetarians tend to struggle, as many high choline sources are meat-based.

If you’re vegetarian, focus on the following items:

  • One quart of milk = 175 mg
  • A pound of spinach = 113 mg
  • A cup of wheat germ = 200 mg
  • Two cups of form tofu = 142 mg
  • A pound of cauliflower = 177 mg

Supplements

If you find that it’s too challenging to get enough choline in your diet, then there are a number of great supplements available. When you’re researching choline supplements, make sure you focus on the bio-availability. There are different forms, which is why you want a supplement that can cross the blood-brain barrier.

For example, choline citrate provides positive effects, however it can not access the brain via the blood-brain barrier. The most beneficial supplements are precursors to Phosphatidylcholine. This is a chemical that provides neural cells with the choline they need. Your best options are Alpha GPC and Citicoline.

Choline bitartrate is one of the most common forms sold, but it is the lowest in quality. It is poor at crossing the blood-brain barrier. The same is true for choline citrate and choline chloride. Since choline needs to be converted into a lipid before crossing the blood-brain barrier, anything that is a salt version, isn’t ideal for acetylcholine production.

Citicoline is more potent and more effective. Due to its lipid structure, it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier. In fact, it’s so effective that many countries use this supplement as a treatment for ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Not only does it improve memory, but it increases energy levels and focus.

Alpha GPC is considered the best option for acetylcholine conversion. It is also faster acting in comparison to Citicoline. It is known to have a powerful effect on intellect, reasoning, and memory. Be careful with dosing, as you only need a small dose in order to benefit from its effects.