Choline is probably one of the most-used cognitive enhancers in the world.
You will find choline in practically every pre-made brain supplement on the market, and the intrepid nootropics enthusiasts who create their own custom stacks will tend to use choline as a base and build up from there.
But choline comes in many forms.
Not all of these forms are equal, in efficiency, value for money, or even in the effects they produce.
What is the best form of choline to take for cognitive enhancement?
Which choline should you use for increasing focus, concentration, and learning?
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out!
What does choline do?
As we’ve explained in many of our ingredient guides, choline is used to increase acetylcholine availability in the brain.
Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain. It is actually the brain’s primary ‘executive’ neurotransmitter, meaning it is used to carry out functions such as information processing, memory recall, verbal fluency, and muscle contraction.
Raising acetylcholine availability is a reliable way to improve several different aspects of executive cognitive function.
That is why almost every nootropic on the market contains at least some choline in one form or another. The best nootropics actually provide large doses of high quality, potent choline analogs and build their formulas around this powerful focus booster.
So what constitutes a powerful, potent form of choline?
Can you not just take straight choline?
Why can’t you just take straight choline?
Choline is a naturally occuring nutrient. It is actually an essential nutrient – if you don’t consume it, you will eventually stop functioning altogether.
Thankfully, choline is found in a wide range of both animal and plant foods, like eggs, peanuts, pasta, and liver.
However, if you’re looking to maximize cognitive function then simply eating more choline-rich food is not going to cut it.
For one thing, choline is not well absorbed in the gut; eggs might contain lots of choline, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get all of it.
A bigger problem is the fact that choline does not effectively cross the blood brain barrier. So the small amount of choline that you do absorb will not all end up being used to make acetylcholine (or phosphatidylcholine, another important compound for brain health).
Do maximize choline levels in the brain, you need to take a more potent form of choline.
The best form of choline to take for cognitive performance
There are a few different forms of choline which are good for enhancing cognitive function.
Here are the top three:
Of those, Alpha-GPC and Citicoline are by far the most potent. While you need about 500mg or more of choline bitartrate to really see benefits, you can drastically improve focus and learning with just 250mg of Citicoline per day, or 300mg of Alpha-GPC.
In our experience, Citicoline is the best form of choline to take for enhancing cognitive performance generally. It is extremely good at crossing the blood brain barrier, it raises choline availability rapidly, and it also provides uridine, which helps create RNA.