Initially Posted: 01/28/2017 | Last Updated: 12/22/2020
Choline supplements (including phosphatidylcholine, alpha-GPC, and CDP-choline) reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Choline supplements compared in this review

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Andrew Lessman ProCaps Phosphatidyl Choline

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Bestvite Cognizin

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Biotics Research Corporation Phosphatidylcholine

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Cardiovascular Research Ltd. Cytidine Choline

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Complementary Prescriptions CDP Choline

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Jarrow Formulas Alpha GPC

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Perque Choline Citrate

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PipingRock.com Recall Elements

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Swanson Ultra Alpha-GPC

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tnvitamins Citicoline

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Twinlab Choline Cocktail

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Summary

  • What is choline? Choline is a component of cell membranes and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is essential for proper brain function, and it helps remove fat from the liver (see What It Is). The body naturally produces some choline and the rest can be obtained from the diet, but some people are not able to produce sufficient choline, particularly postmenopausal women and people with certain genetic traits, putting them at risk for choline deficiency.
  • What does choline do? Getting adequate choline from the diet helps prevent fatty liver (which can lead to reduced liver function) and muscle damage and, during pregnancy, may reduce the risk of birth defects. Supplemental choline has shown potential benefit with respect to stroke recovery, cognition, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, and ulcerative colitis (see What It Does).
  • How to get choline? Many foods are good sources of choline, particularly egg yolks, meats, and legumes (see Getting It from Food). Supplements can also provide choline in a variety of forms.
  • Which form of choline is best? A problem when choosing a choline supplement is that the different forms provide vastly different amounts of choline — and these differences are not clearly labeled. (See Comparison of Choline Ingredients in Supplements). To avoid confusion, we've calculated the choline content in each product for you in the second column of the Results Table.
  • How much choline should I take? The typical dose for treating disease ranges from fifty to several thousand milligrams of specific forms of choline (see Dosage).
  • Best choice for choline? Many products passed our tests of quality (see What CL Found), but only a few represent CL's Top Picks.
  • Safety and side effects of choline: Choline is generally safe, although gastrointestinal side effects may occur with higher doses. A small percentage of people may develop a fish odor from choline. Although cause-and-effect relationships have not been demonstrated, higher intake of choline has been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer in women, and choline increases production of TMAO, which, itself, is associated with a higher risk of heart attack. (See Concerns and Cautions).

You must be a member to get the full test results along with ConsumerLab.com recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 10 choline-containing supplements selected by ConsumerLab.com and for a product which passed testing in our voluntary Quality Certification Program. In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:

  • Which choline supplements passed our tests and which did not
  • ConsumerLab.com's Top Picks, representing the best quality choline supplements at the best price
  • Differences among forms of choline, including phosphatidylcholine (from lecithin), CDP-choline, citicoline, Cognizin, choline citrate, Alpha-GPC, choline alfoscerate and choline bitartrate
  • The evidence behind the health benefits of choline
  • How to buy and use choline supplements
  • How to get choline from foods
  • Choline's side effects, cautions, and particular concerns with choline bitartrate

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