Choline Bitartrate Benefits and Side Effects

Choline Bitartrate Side Effects, Benefits, and Proper Dosage

food sources of choline
Eggs are a common food source of choline, but direct supplementation is much more effective.

What is Choline Bitartrate?

Choline bitartrate is a form of the nutrient choline, which is considered part of the group of B complex vitamins. Choline appears in many foods but is not naturally produced by the body making it an essential nutrient.

Choline bitartrate is a simple form of choline made by combining choline with the salt bitartrate. Compared to dietary sources, choline bitartrate powder is a more direct way of maintaining healthy choline levels.

Adding choline bitartrate powder to your supplement regimen can net you a pretty broad range of benefits, ranging from mental to physical. Low choline levels mean anxiety, unstable mood, and trouble focusing [1] — and it turns out 90% of the US population is choline-deficient [2]. Beyond that, choline bitartrate benefits you by converting to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded staple nootropic, you could do a lot worse than choline bitartrate powder. As an essential nutrient, it’s something you’re not only going to benefit from; to a certain extent, you need. So read on, wise up, and work it into your supplement regimen. 

Choline Bitartrate Benefits

Choline bitartrate benefits a person in several ways. Most notably, it’s a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, crucial to mood, thought, and learning. Here’s a quick breakdown of the mental benefits of healthy-to-boosted levels of acetylcholine:

  • Better long term memory [9]
  • Better short term memory [6]
  • Increased focus and alertness [7]
  • Less brain fog
  • Control mood swings [10]

Acetylcholine also improves nerve communication. This means healthy levels also help the body stay in tip-top physical shape in a few ways. Physical benefits of taking a choline bitartrate supplement include:

  • Clears the liver of fatty build-up [3]
  • Strengthens cell-membranes
  • Promotes healthy breast tissue [4]
  • Increases cardiovascular efficiency [5]

The drawback is that these benefits start to disappear and are replaced by adverse reactions if choline intake levels are too high. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance when supplementing with any choline bitartrate powders which is why it’s important to research before purchasing 

How Choline Bitartrate Works

Your brain functions much more efficiently with proper levels of choline. (CC BY 2.0)

Choline provides most of its benefits by converting to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine, the first-discovered neurotransmitter, works as a sort of “lubricant” for all the brain’s functions. When acetylcholine levels are low, the brain can’t run as smoothly. Low levels of acetylcholine have been tied to age related memory loss.

When acetylcholine is present in healthy amount, the brain can function at a healthy speed. Communication between cells is optimized, which benefits a whole slew of functions: how well you can focus on something, how swiftly your muscles contract, and so on [7]. It even promotes healthy REM sleep [8].

The body metabolizes choline into acetylcholine in conjunction with acetate. When both are present at healthy levels, the brain will naturally produce higher volumes of the neurotransmitter. Since it’s very easy to not get enough choline in your diet, this makes taking some sort of choline bitartrate powder a good option for anybody looking for an all-around performance boost.

Choline Bitartrate Side Effects

There are two types of side effects when it comes to choline bitartrate powder: those associated with the bitartrate form in particular and those tied to any sort of choline. Choline bitartrate’s side effects are less dangerous than they are inconvenient. It can cause upset stomachs, and at higher doses can also produce a strong, odd body odor [10].

Choline in higher doses is a bad choice because, great as acetylcholine is, the brain can easily overload on it. Too-high acetylcholine levels will manifest as headaches, difficulty focusing, and even depression. To that effect, make sure you’re taking the right amount of choline bitartrate: 500 mg for an all-around supplement, or a boosted 1,500 – 2000 mg if you’re looking to specifically target acetylcholine production.


  1. http://examine.com/supplements/Choline/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19906248
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5725875
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430758/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17884041
  6. http://web.williams.edu/imput/synapse/pages/IA5.html
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21156078
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21238497
  9. SH. Choline and phosphatidylcholine. In: Shils M, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1999;513-523.
  10. http://healthlibrary.brighamandwomens.org/RelatedItems/19,choline