Choline bitartrate is an ester of tartaric acid and choline – an essential nutrient in our daily diet whose presence is critical for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Choline is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as well as phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin- phospholipids building the cell membrane of all cells. This is particularly important for glial cells forming around the axons of nerve cells called the myelin sheath, which acts as an insulator and improves the transmission of nerve impulses. Above all, choline works as a donor of the methyl group in various biochemical reactions while phospholipids are an important component of intracellular signalling pathways and are involved in the transportation and metabolism of cholesterol.1,2
Because of the fact that choline is synthesized by the body only to a small degree, Choline bitartrate is considered to be a vitamin-like substance, whose endogeneous production is not sufficient. This means that choline must be supplemented to the body through outside sources, and fortunately can be found in many different kinds of food, such as meat, eggs, soy, califlour, spinach, salads and nuts. Choline insufficiency is connected to many different health problems on the part of the nervous and muscle system, as well as problems with the liver and kidneys.1,3
Choline is of particular importance in the diet of pregnant and lactating women, which stems from the fact that a deficiency of this substance during embryonic development increases the likelihood of neural tube defects in newborns and memory disorders in later life.2,4
Above all, post-menopausal women are at higher risk of choline insufficiency, for which the auto-synthesis of this compound becomes increasingly more difficult. Studies have shown that only 10% of US citizens an only 2% of women after menopause supplement a sufficient amount of choline.1
Choline plays an important role in the early fetal development process of neural tube closure. Additionally, it has been shown that an insufficiency of this substance has an effect on later phases of nervous system development and is connected to permanent changes within the hippocampus- a structure in the brain of critical importance for processes related to memory. Studies on animals have proven that choline deficiency disrupts cell division in the developing hippocampus. This results in a high risk of spatial and tonal memory impairment in adult life. On the other hand; however, Choline bitartrate supplementation increases the intensity of cell division in the embryonic hippocampus and causes an increased functionality of visual-spatial skills as well as an increased memory capacity for audio-based stimuli by 30%, relative to the control group.2
The loss of cholinergic neurons is connected to the impairment of various cognitive processes, especially to memory impairment and Alsheimer's disease.5 Studies involving healthy individuals have shown that choline increases the speed at which information is processed, has a positive effect on working memory and various other cognitive functions, as well as increases the effect of verbal learning. It's interesting that this effect has been observed only in participants with a relatively low initial level of cognitive performance, whereas this effect was not observed in participants with an optimal level of intellectual performance.5,6
Homocysteine is considered an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and thrombosis, that can lead to myocardial infarction and stroke. Choline acts as a methyl donor in the reaction of methylation of homocysteine to methionine. It has been shown that supplementation with choline-containing compounds leads to normalized levels of homocysteine in the blood plasma, therefore, it is considered that they can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.7
A recommended dose of Choline bitartrate- 1020 mg for women (425 mg of Choline), 1320 mg for men (550 mg of Choline). A maximum tolerated dose of Choline bitartrate - 8400 mg (3500 mg of Choline).
Choline bitartrate is often combined with other measures to stimulate cholinergic neurotransmission, such as Piracetam, Aniracetam and Noopept.8
No significant adverse interactions with other substances found.
Choline bitartrate is considered safe for humans and should not cause any side effects when used in recommended doses. Nevertheless, it can cause symptoms of gastrointestinal problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting). When ingested in doses higher than the maximum tolerated dose can lead to dizziness, low blood pressure, intense sweating and drooling.8
Choline is a precursor to trimethylamine. Excessive intake of choline bitartrate can increase the excretion of the substance and lead to the characteristic fishy odor, especially by people suffering from Trimethylaminuria.8
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