Choline is a water‐soluble B‐group vitamin, which humans must consume through their diet to remain healthy. Several nootropics rely on a mechanism of generating more neurotransmitters in the brain, whose job is to transmit signals from nerve cells to target cells. One of those neurotransmitters is called Acetylcholine (or ACh) and it plays a key role in learning strategies and memory development. When taking nootropics that increase the production of Acetylcholine, it is important to always supplement them with a Choline source in order to meet the increased demand for Acetylcholine production in our bodies.
We recommend either Citicoline or Alpha-GPC as excellent Choline sources for maintaining good health by being an essential component of cell membranes, and for stacking with other nootropics (especially with -racetams).
The short answer is now. Most people in the United States consume less than the suggested adequate intake of Choline. Choline helps prevent cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease, neurological disorders, and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Natural sources of Choline are found in organ meat, eggs and yeast extract.
Products like Alpha-GPC and Citicoline have been shown to be powerful nootropics on their own, but if you are considering using -racetam nootropics (such as Phenylpiracetam, Piracetam or Aniracetam, etc.), Choline supplementation acts as a powerful complement to this class of nootropics. Choline can maximize the impact of these nootropics by providing the fuel needed to work at their maximum efficiency while preventing possible negative side effects such as headaches. Choline needs can be widely variable depending on your diet and lifestyle, but we recommend starting with the following dosages:
- Alpha GPC: 150mg
- Citicoline: 250mg
Choline is an essential nutrient (i.e. compounds that the body can’t make or can’t make in sufficient quantity) that experiences increased demand in the body with the consumption of some nootropics, such as ‘-racetams’. Nootropics that increase the demand for Acetylcholine in the brain require a quality Choline source to maximize their impacts, and to possibly prevent negative side effects . There is some evidence that some negative effects caused by ‘-racetams’ are the result of depleted Choline levels in the brain and that these side effects can be mitigated through stacked supplementation with a good source of Choline.
This is why we strongly recommend Citicoline and Alpha-GPC as highly effective sources of Choline supplementation. Both substances easily cross the blood-brain barrier to increase the bioavailability of Choline in the brain. Bioavailability refers to the extent a substance or drug becomes completely available to its intended biological destination(s).
Let’s have a closer look at these two substances and how they work in our bodies.
Citicoline (or CDP-Choline) is a unique Choline source because it metabolizes to produce both Choline and Cytidine – Cytidine is a precursor for Uridine. Both Cytidine and Uridine are utilized in RNA synthesis. Citicoline is great to be taken on its own, but it is most often combined to boost the effectiveness of other nootropics.
Cytidine converts to Uridine in the body; a nucleotide (i.e. an organic molecule that is the building block of DNA and RNA) important to neural membrane synthesis, which is a process that helps cognition and thinking.
The suggested range of dosing for Citicoline is 250 – 750 mg. per day .
Alpha-GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is a naturally occurring substance in the brain that acts as a biological precursor (i.e. a substance from which another, usually more active or mature substance is formed) to Acetylcholine (see above).
When taken as a nootropic, Alpha-GPC directly increases the amount of available choline in the brain. Increased bioavailability of Choline gives the brain the fuel it needs to produce Acetylcholine and thus contributes to improved learning and a stronger memory.
Alpha-GPC is synthesized naturally within the body after the consumption of the essential nutrient. Choline, which is naturally available in organ meat (liver), eggs, soy and spinach.
The suggested range of dosing for Alpha-GPC is 300- 600mg* .
*This range assumes you take one 150mg pills twice a day. There are multiple reports of changes in observed effects between very low doses of Alpha-GPC (150mg) and the recommended daily range start point (300mg). Dosages of 150mg are often reported as stimulating, while the same users note that higher dosages (300mg) produce a relaxing/sedative effect.
At first glance, both appear to do have the same effects on overall brain function and mental acuity. However, there are some differences in how those benefits are achieved. For instance, Alpha-GPC and Citicoline have different metabolism processes. Alpha-GPC breaks down into two properties, Choline and Glycerophosphate –used clinically to treat or prevent low phosphate levels. Choline is then used as a precursor to generate Acetylcholine.
Citicoline is hydrolyzed – it breaks down with water – in the small intestine and liver into 2 components: Cytidine and Choline. Cytidine and Choline enter the systemic circulation, where Cytidine is further metabolized into Uridine. Both Uridine and free Choline cross the blood-brain barrier.
Alpha-GPC displays a number of interesting side benefits that Citicoline does not. Taking Alpha-GPC could lead to improved vitality and increased strength as it helps muscles recover after exercise. Alpha-GPC may also increase the production of growth hormone in the human body.
Citicoline, on the other hand, can amplify the impact of other nootropics, as we have seen previously. For this reason, many people consider Citicoline fundamental to any supplementation program.
So, which one should you choose? We think this summarizing flowchart might help you with that:
For more in depth comparisons and clarifications, here are some suggested further readings:
- Best Nootropic Choline Supplement Source: Citicoline, Alpha-GPC, or Choline Bitartrate?
- Piracetam Headache? How To Avoid this Side Effect
- Tomen, David (2020). Secrets of the Optimized Brain: 92 Nootropics to Unlock your True Brain Potential. Nootropics Expert (3rd Edition)
At Nootropics.com, you can buy Alpha-GPC in a jar of 60x150mg capsules. Due to unforeseen circumstances with our supply chain, we are currently out of stock of Citicoline.
All of our products are quality tested once after manufacturing, and then undergo a stringent process of quality assurance by an independent third-party lab. We test for identity, purity, and use FTIR and HPLC to make sure the sample does not contain heavy metals.
Our customers get free shipping on orders over $70 in the US and $200 for international orders. If you buy 2 or more jars, you get a 5% and 10% discount. We offer a money-back guarantee 90 days after you buy any of our products.
We only use vegetable capsules suitable for vegans.
 Tomen, David (2020). Secrets of the Optimized Brain: 92 Nootropics to Unlock your True Brain Potential. Nootropics Expert (3rd Edition). [available at: nootropicsexpert.com]
 Examine.com on CDP-choline