Choline and memory benefit and side effects, adverse events - supplement study results 500 mg capsules and use for cognitive decline

March 26 2014

Choline, found in foods as varied as liver, beef, eggs, ice cream and chocolate, plays an important role in the formation of cell membranes -- the outer sheath that keeps cells intact. In addition, the nutrient is a building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and other chemical messengers in the brain. You can find choline in an excellent doctor-formulated multivitamin product or a product used as a diet pill to suppress appetite. Betaine is a metabolite of choline, and is also known as trimethylglycine or TMG which has three methyl groups. DMG has two methyl groups.

Memory improvement
Choline is an essential nutrient required by the body to make several important compounds necessary for healthy cell membranes. It helps form phosphatidylcholine, the primary phospholipid of cell membranes. It is also the precursor to acetylcholine, one of the important brain chemicals involved in memory.

Choline is the precursor to acetylcholine, the brain chemical involved with memory. A new and more activated form of choline, called CDP-choline, became available in the US in 1998.

Does choline have some of the same effects as DMG and TMG?
There is an overlap between the effects of choline, DMG, and TMG trimethylglycine, but interestingly, when these are taken as supplements, the effects are quite varied in terms of what people notice.

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Choline is an essential precursor of acetylcholine, a stimulatory neurotransmitter. It also helps in the production of lipotropic agents which converts fats into useful products and aids in the production of HDL (good) cholesterol.

A 100 % natural choline bound to tartaric acid, making it easier to absorb.

 

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Supplement Facts
Choline bitartrate 500 mg per pill
Usage: Take half or 1 choline capsule a few minutes before breakfast or lunch or as directed by your health care provider.

A combination of hoodia, ginger, choline, green tea extract, spirulina, acetyl-l-carnitine, guggul, and several other herbs and nutrients, as found in a natural diet pill, is an effective herbal diet pill for weight loss.

Can these capsules be broken open and mixed with food? As my son will not swallow pills.
   Yes, the choline capsules can be opened and a portion or full amount be mixed with juice or food. Most children will need less than the full dose.

What benefits do choline and Phospholipids provide?
Individuals who donít have a good dietary intake of phospholipids may find that taking these nutrients leads to an improvement in learning and memory. Most young and healthy people who take phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylserine are not likely to notice any significant changes, although supplements could help some seniors. The effects from choline, and its cousin CDP-choline, are more noticeable.

Like omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids are also important for optimal brain health. As the name implies, phospholipids are made of the combination of lipids (fats) and the mineral phosphorus. Phospholipids are found in high concentrations in the lining of practically every cell of the body, including brain cells. They help brain cells communicate and influence how well receptors function. Although present in many foods, phospholipids are found in higher concentrations in soy, eggs and the brain tissue of animals. There may actually be a biochemical rational for the folk wisdom that says eating brain makes one smarter. The two most common phospholipid supplements sold over the counter are phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylcholine is also known as lecithin. This chapter explains the role and function of phospholipids, their clinical effects, and practical recommendations for or against supplementation.

Which conditions Can they benefit?
The clinical application of these nutrients has not yet been fully evaluated, but scientists have studied their role in age related cognitive decline (ARCD), Alzheimerís disease, and Parkinsonís disease. No firm conclusions are yet available as to whether phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine help these conditions. Choline and CDP-choline could potentially be beneficial in ARCD and Alzheimerís disease.

Babies and infants, pregnancy
Giving choline to babies whose mothers drank too much alcohol while pregnant might help overcome some of their resulting deficits. A team at San Diego State University tested 170 rats, giving their pregnant mothers alcohol before they were born and then giving some of the pups choline after birth. As expected, the newborn rats were overactive and had learning problems. But they improved when given the nutrient. It helps brain cells develop, and the body uses it to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter or message-carrying chemical involved in learning and cognition.

According to the results of several studies in rats, providing choline during pregnancy enhances memory and learning capacity in the fetus. Dr. Christina Williams, a behavioral neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says, "Supplementation during the last third of pregnancy has fairly dramatic and long-lasting effects on the memory of offspring." A 1997 study published in Advances in Pediatrics by Dr. Zeisel showed that choline reserves are depleted during pregnancy and lactation (Zeisel 1997). This depletion may affect normal brain development and memory in the offspring. The National Academy of Sciences suggests that pregnant women consume at least 450 milligrams per day.

Bipolar disorder
 It has also been tested in bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression. When six patients already on lithium were given choline bitartrate, five of them had a substantial reduction in manic symptoms.

Erectile dysfunction, sexual stimulation
We are not aware of specific human studies regarding the role of choline in erectile dysfunction but anecdotal reports point to some benefit. A potent aphrodisiac herb for this purpose is tongkat ali.

Can I take a choline capsule with my capsule of Passion Rx Yohimbe sex enhancer? I thought I read 500 mg a day as was all I should take and that is what is in the capsule.
    We prefer Passion Rx not be taken the same day as other supplements that can cause stimulation or raise body temperature which it may do.

Arch Sex Behav. 2013. Choline Associated Hypersexuality in a 79-Year-Old Man. Centro Neurolesi "Bonino-Pulejo", Cda Casazza, Messina, Italy. Hypersexuality, also referred to as sexually inappropriate behavior and sexual disinhibition, involves persistent, uninhibited sexual behaviors directed at oneself or at others, sometimes associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Choline is a water-soluble essential nutrient, used as a dietary supplement in different diseases. This report was aimed at considering choline intake as a possible cause of iatrogenic hypersexuality. After an evaluation, a 79-year-old man affected by memory loss was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and treated with oral choline. After 6 weeks of regular choline assumption, the patient showed a pathological increase in libido with sexual urges. As choline was withdrawn, the hypersexuality disappeared within 5 days. Since hypersexuality may be an underreported and overlooked adverse effect of drugs and dietary supplements acting on the cholinergic pathway, this should be considered when treating and counselling patients with inappropriate sexual behavior.

Memory
Several studies have been done administering choline to humans in order to evaluate memory function. The results have been mixed with some showing positive results while others indicating no improvement.

Choline side effects and safety
A common side effect of choline ingestion is increased body temperature and sweating. Nausea and loss of appetite can result from very high doses. Most people notice having more focus and being more alert.

Recommendations and review
Individuals whose diet includes a wide variety of foods are not likely to suffer from obvious choline deficiency. Growing infants, pregnant or lactating women, and individuals with liver cirrhosis may potentially be deficient. Whether supplements benefit older individuals with age related memory decline has not yet been adequately determined. Because of its relative safety, and potential benefits, we recommend small amounts in the elderly who have age related cognitive decline. Choline can be taken occasionally by younger individuals on days when better concentration and focus is desired.

How much we ingest from food
This nutrient, usually as part of phosphatidylcholine, is widely available in a number of foods, particularly eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, and meats and vegetables, as well as in human breast milk. Dietary intake ranges from 300 to 900 mg a day. Most individuals who have a normal diet are not deficient. The importance of choline was emphasized in 1998 when the National Academy of Sciences classified it as an essential nutrient. In the past, it was thought that the human body made adequate amounts when needed. However, a study by Dr. Steven Zeisel, from the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, demonstrated that volunteers on a choline deficient diet were not able to produce enough of this nutrient. A major use in the body is the formation of betaine, an important methyl donor.
   Although humans require dietary choline for methyl donation, membrane function, and neurotransmission, it can also be derived from the de novo synthesis of phosphatidylcholine. CDP choline is a more activated form but much more expensive.

GPC
What is the difference between gpc choline and cdp choline? why would one be more beneficial or preferred over the other?
   We have come across GPC-choline but have not really looked into it in any detail since we can't find any revealing human trials with it.

Citrate
What's the difference in choline bitartrate and citrate?
    We don't have much experience with choline citrate so we don't know if it has the same effect . As of 2011, we are not aware of human studies testing it.

Testimonial
I just ordered more choline and a couple of bottles of Mind Power Rx. These are to help a lady friend. After a couple of weeks she says that working crosswords puzzles are a lot easier as the words are recalled more easily. Is it benefitual to take both at the same time? Right now I'll have her try the mind power to see how it goes.
   We prefer not taking choline and Mind Power Rx the same day, she could alternate their use.

Anti cholinergic drugs
I read a warning about anti-cholinergic drugs (or nutrients) actually being a possible cause of memory loss and hallucinations. I thought you might be able to tell me which are the anti-cholinergic supplements any of us may be taking. I did notice that vinpocetine and huperzine A were two of the nutrients which were mentioned as having this property. Interesting, that these were two nutrients I have not been able to use for myself--one causing a rash and I can't remember the problem with the other, so I had already dropped those two some time ago. What other nutrients would he consider anti cholinergic?
    Huperzine A is a cholinesterase inhibitor, meaning it blocks an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, thus more acetylcholine stays in the body and brain. Galantamine falls in this category. An anti cholinergic medication is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. Anticholinergics reduce the effects of acetylcholine on acetylcholine receptors in neurons. In other words, huperzine A is the opposite of an anticholinergic. Vinpocetine acts as a vasodilator, it dilates blood vessels.