Best Choline Supplements

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best choline supplements

Last Updated October 2019

Choline is neither a vitamin nor a mineral but is an essential nutrient for your body. Your body actually produces a small amount of choline but doesn’t make enough for our metabolic needs. Food is our biggest source of the nutrient, especially beef, liver, eggs, and fish. However, getting your choline intake from food alone may not provide enough choline for certain people.

Pregnant women, aging people, and anyone looking to boost their brain function can benefit from a choline supplement. Choline is also beneficial for the liver and plays a role in the detoxification process.

There are four types of choline available in supplements, and some forms are better than others. To learn more about the health benefits of choline and which supplements are the best for your body, check out our guide below. Be sure to also take a look at our top recommendations for choline formulas that stand out from the rest.

The types of choline supplements that are more readily absorbed and used by the body are CDP choline or Alpha GPC choline.

Benefits of choline supplements

While choline isn’t exactly a household name when it comes to the vitamins we take, it is important nonetheless. Even though many of us eat foods containing choline, it’s possible that our bodies don’t absorb enough through our diets. Genetic factors may also prevent us from having enough choline in our bodies naturally. Supplements will address any choline deficiencies. As always, consult with a healthcare practitioner before starting any supplement.

Here’s a partial list of choline’s potential health benefits:

  • Supports nervous system and proper nerve function
  • Clears liver of fat buildup
  • Keeps brain function sharp, including memory
  • Improves energy levels and exercise performance
  • Helps post-workout muscle recovery
  • Supports a healthy pregnancy
  • Builds cell membranes and creates DNA
  • May help promote a healthy heart
  • Supports fetal and early childhood neural development
DID YOU KNOW?

Natural food sources of choline include eggs, liver, beef, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and salmon. Some nutrition experts, however, believe that a percentage of food-sourced choline isn’t absorbed by the body, which may contribute to choline deficiencies.

Considerations for choline supplements

Types of choline supplements

There are four types of choline available on the market in supplement form.

Plain choline and choline bitartrate are both inexpensive, basic types of choline. While they both will boost blood levels of choline, and also support your liver, they’re less likely to support your nervous system.

CDP-choline (Citicoline) and Alpha GPC are better formulated to support the nervous system and brain. They are also thought to be better absorbed and used by the body because they more closely resemble natural food sources of choline. Unless you’re on a shoestring budget, we recommend either of these two types of choline supplements.

Forms of choline supplements

Choline supplements come in the following forms:

  • Capsules: The most prevalent form of choline supplements come in capsules. For vegans and vegetarians, there are capsules widely available that don’t use gelatin.
  • Tablets: Choline supplements may also come in tablet form, which may be easier to swallow than capsules.
  • Powders: Choline powders eliminate the need for swallowing pills and are mixed into liquid. However, they can be messy and hard to measure. Some users make their own capsules from powders.
  • Gummies: Chewable gummies are great for kids. Often gummies combine other brain-boosting nutrients, like omega-3s. Prenatal gummies containing choline are also available.

Choline is a macronutrient that supports energy, brain function, and helps in the process of methylation.

Choline supplement features

  • Dosage: Dosage ranges per manufacturer. Smaller doses start at 100 mg and go up to 175 mg per capsule, tablet, or gummy. A medium dosage is 300 mg per capsule or tablet. Larger doses are typically 500 to 650 mg per capsule or tablet.
  • Inositol: Choline supplements sometimes contain Inositol, which is sometimes called B8. This nutrient also helps regulate the brain, and may be helpful for sufferers of severe anxiety and other mental health conditions. It may also improve PCOS and fertility.
  • Nootropics: Some choline supplements contain other brain-boosting ingredients, known as nootropics. These range widely from omega-3s to medicinal mushrooms to herbs. When a formula contains more than one cognitive-enhancing ingredient, it’s considered “stacked.” 
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO: In addition to vegan and vegetarian formulas, some manufacturers also offer gluten-free and non-GMO supplements. If you have a wheat allergy or avoid gluten, definitely select a GF supplement. Non-GMO means the supplements contain no genetically modified organisms.

Choline supplement prices

Inexpensive: A low-priced choline supplement, either choline or choline bitartrate, will cost six to 19 cents a pill.

Mid-range: For 22 to 32 cents a pill, you can find a range of choline supplements, including Alpha GPC or CDP-choline.

Expensive: For a high-quality choline supplement (only Alpha GPC or CDP-choline), expect to pay 33 to 65 cents a pill.

DID YOU KNOW?

Choline is naturally found in breast milk and plays an important role in pregnancy for the development of the fetus.

Tips

  • If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’re more at risk for a choline deficiency because choline is naturally occurring in so many animal products. Select a vegetarian choline supplement.
  • If you’re looking to get your choline intake from food alone, three ounces of beef liver or kidney supplies 290 mg. If that’s hard to stomach, two large eggs will provide half of your daily choline intake.
  • Other sources of choline include soy lecithin, which is a common food additive and also available for purchase as a supplement.
  • Choline, B vitamins, and folate all work together in the body and are similar nutrients. If your folate level is low, especially during pregnancy, choline can step in and perform its function.  
  • If you’re looking for a choline supplement primarily to boost your brain, consider a “stacked” nootropic supplement that contains choline and other cognitive-enhancing ingredients.

Other products we considered

We love Double Wood’s Alpha GPC Choline Supplement, which provides pharmaceutical-grade choline in its most absorbable form. Tested for purity, this popular formula has been embraced as a beginner “nootropic” for enhancing brain function and boosting memory and is a great alternative to stimulants. It increases production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and helps clear up brain fog.

For an inexpensive inositol-and-choline combo, look no further than Solgar’s Choline/Inositol 500 mg. Solgar is a trusted brand that manufactures vegetarian formulas, and these potent capsules are free of wheat, dairy, and gluten. You also get a whopping dose of 500 mg at the low price of 12 cents a pill. Users see results for a whole host of health issues, from liver support to anxiety to fertility.

Choline helps make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is an “anti-aging” neurotransmitter that maintains nerve signaling. Decline in nerve signaling can lead to symptoms of dementia and memory loss.

FAQ

Q. What is the recommended dosage of choline supplements?
A.
A Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of choline has not been established, but the Institute of Medicine has suggested adult women consume 425 mg of choline daily, and adult men consume 550 mg a day. Breastfeeding women should also consume 550 mg a day, and pregnant women 450 mg a day. It’s recommended that female teens ages 14 to 19 consume 400 mg a day, whereas males in that age group consume 550 mg daily. 

Q. What are the signs of a choline deficiency?
A.
Many people are not meeting their recommended intake of choline. Some possible signs of a choline deficiency are fatigue and low-energy levels, memory loss, decline in cognitive function, muscles aches, nerve pain, and mood disorders. These can also be symptoms of other serious health issues, so be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner if you’re experiencing any of them.

Q. Is it safe for children to take choline?
A.
Yes, though please check with your pediatrician to double-check that it’s safe for your child. As children grow and their little brains develop, choline is needed to help form new neural connections called synapses; choline creates the neurotransmitters that will help in memory retention and concentration, both important to learning. There is some evidence that this important nutrient may also help with learning disabilities and ADHD. The recommended daily dosage for ages 0 to 6 months is 125 mg; 7 to 12 months is 150 mg; 1 to 3 years is 200 mg; 4 to 8 years is 250 mg; and 9 to 13 years is 375 mg.

Q. Are there any side effects to taking a choline supplement?
A.
Some users report headaches or nausea when beginning a choline supplement, which is why we recommend starting at smaller than the recommended dosage and gradually increasing. If you vastly exceed the recommended dose (the upper limit for adults is 3,500 mg daily) you may experience drops in blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, a fishy odor of the skin, and vomiting. Always stick with the recommended dosage on the label or as directed by a doctor.

The team that worked on this review
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  • Eliza
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  • Erica
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