Choline Supplementation and Stacking Guide

Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  1. Choline Supplementation and Stacking Guide


    Hey everyone! I've done a lot of research on choline (various choline sources, what to stack with it, etc), and I decided to put together a nice, handy article to be used a primer and/or reference guide for choline (one of the most common nootropic ingredients). This is the first of what I plan to be a series of articles/guides on some common (and maybe some not-so-common) nootropic ingredients, and will provide a research-supported overview of what you can expect from a given ingredient(s), what forms/doses to use, and what to stack with it. The next article/guide (already finished) is for caffeine, which many people don't know (but you'll find out in this article), has the ability to increase choline’s ability to release acetylcholine. With the general introduction out of the way, let's talk about choline!

    Choline Supplementation and Stacking Guide

    Forms of Choline, Doses, and Effects

    Choline is one of the most popular nootropic ingredients on the market. There are multiple sources and types of choline, but their overall purpose as nootropics is to increase acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) levels in the brain. Choline is naturally found in many foods, including eggs and beef and chicken liver, but additional choline supplementation, especially with a “premium” choline source can provide nootropic effects [1]. The two most common “premium” choline sources are CDP-Choline (also known as citicoline and/or cytidine 5’-diphosphocholine) and Alpha-GPC (also known as Alpha-glycerophosphocholine). Both CDP-choline and Alpha-GPC have numerous studies demonstrating that they can improve various aspects of cognition, making them the go-to choline sources for nootropic stacks. Some nootropic effects of choline supplementation include enhanced attention, processing speed, working memory, verbal learning, and executive function [2]. 250mg is an effective dose for CDP-choline, although some studies use upwards of 500mg [3]. As for Alpha-GPC, 200mg appears to be an effective minimum dose, while studies noting increased power output and growth hormone tend to use higher doses of around 600mg [4-5]. The third common choline source is choline bitartrate, which can be considered a “budget” form of choline, as it is less costly than CDP-choline and Alpha-GPC, but does not seem to possess quite the same level of nootropic effects, and requires a larger dose, which can limit its use in capped products. With that said, a proper dose of choline bitartrate can still provide some nootropic effects, and may also have other benefits as well. An effective dose of choline bitartrate is 2000mg (2g); this dose of choline bitartrate provides similar choline content to 5 hardboiled eggs [1]. The main issue with products that use choline bitartrate is that they simply do not use enough; while 200-300mg of CDP-choline or Alpha-GPC is sufficient, you need approximately 10 times that amount of choline bitartrate to be truly effective. However, most consumers are not aware of the vastly different doses required for these choline sources, or even of the differences between these choline sources, making it very easy for a company to get away with severely under-dosing choline bitartrate and still having a label that looks good to the majority of consumers.

    Dosing Overview:
    CDP-Choline: 250-500mg
    Alpha-GPC: 200-600mg
    Choline Bitartrate: 2000mg (2g)


    Choline and AChE Inhibitors (increasing acetylcholine from two angles)

    While choline sources (mentioned above) increase acetylcholine levels, AChE (acetylcholinesterase) inhibitors work by stopping an enzyme from breaking acetylcholine down, which effectively leads to higher concentrations of acetylcholine. By stacking, or combining, a choline source with an AChE inhibitor, you can optimize your acetylcholine levels by increasing them in two ways, both by directly increasing acetylcholine levels (choline source) and by preventing the existing acetylcholine from being broken down (AChE inhibitors). The most common AChE inhibitor is huperzine-A, with galantamine being another effective option. Both huperzine and galantamine have been shown to be able to acutely inhibit AChE in healthy adults, with 100-200mcg of huperzine or 4-8mg galantamine being effective doses, with some research showing huperzine to be able to inhibit AChE to a slightly greater degree and reach maximal inhibiting activity quicker than galantamine, although both are certainly effective as AChE inhibitors [6]. Another promising and effective, although less widely known AChE inhibitor is sage (salvia officinalis or salvia lavendulaefolia). Sage extract has been shown to possess potent AChE inhibiting activity in healthy adults, and there are also numerous studies showing it can acutely improve various aspects of cognition and mental performance, including increased/improved alertness, immediate word recall calmness and contentedness, and accuracy as well as decreased mental fatigue [7-11]. Effective doses of sage vary depending on the extract (officinalis or lavendulaefolia, essential oil or powdered extract, etc.) but doses of 25-50 microliters of essential oil and at least 300mg of sage powder/extract have been used with promising results in studies.

    Dosing Overview:
    Huperzine-A: 100-200mcg
    Galantamine: 4-8mg
    Sage Extract: 300mg


    Choline and Racetams (Synergistic Nootropics)

    We’ve already covered that pairing a choline source with an AChE inhibitor can maximize acetylcholine levels, but you can take things one step further by adding a racetam to your choline source. Racetams are a class of nootropics that, while some of them have existed for a long time, have been gaining a great deal of popularity recently. Piracetam is the original and most researched racetam. While it is most often used and studies for its effects on cognitive decline and/or impairment, it has also been shown to have effects on health adults, including decreased EEG complexity (indicating increased cooperativity of brain processes) and improved verbal learning. Both of the studies on healthy subjects used a dose of 2.4g, with one study using a single 2.4g dose and the other splitting the 2.4g into three doses of 800mg [12-13]. Where things really get interesting though is when you combine a choline source and a racetam. While most of the research demonstrating synergy used rodent subjects, they still show a great deal of promise, and there is a lot of anecdotal reports of the combination having profound effects among nootropic supplement users. One study found that neither the equivalent dose (for a 70kg human) of 1.12g choline was unable to improve performance on a passive avoidance test, and the equivalent of 1.12g piracetam resulted only in slight improvements, but the combination of the two resulted in several times greater improvements than piracetam alone. Additionally, rats given twice the dose (equivalent of 2.24g) of either choline or piracetam alone still did not enhance performance nearly as well as the combination of the 1.12g equivalent doses of the combination of choline and piracetam. Additionally, while there were acute effects, continued use (1 week) was superior to acute use [14]. Additionally, the combination of CDP-Choline and piracetam in doses that are too low to be effective alone were able to enhance retention when combined, suggesting synergy between the two nootropics [15].
    Another option is Noopept, a dipeptide conjugate/analogue of piracetam that is often described as a “new and improved” or “buffed up” alternative to piracetam that is effective at much smaller doses than piracetam. Limited human research comparing the two has found 20mg Noopept to be more effective than 1.2g piracetam in recovery of brain damage [16]. Additionally, Japanese research suggests that Noopept can be used for rapid adaptation to hot and cold climates, and that it can also improve physical work capacity in the heat [17].

    Dosing Overview:
    Piracetam: 2.4g/day
    Noopept: 20mg/day


    Don’t Forget About Caffeine

    Caffeine is a common component in many nootropic stacks, and for good reason; it is one of the most researched and proven ingredients known to man and has many benefits from increased energy and reduced fatigue to improved power output. What most people do not know however, is that caffeine has the ability to increase choline’s ability to release acetylcholine [18]. In simple terms, this means that caffeine potentiates the effects and strength of choline. Another benefits of caffeine that isn’t widely known is that it is an AChE inhibitor [19]. With these benefits in mind, it is clear to see why caffeine is such a beloved ingredient, and why it is such a useful component in many nootropic stacks.
    For more information on the benefits of caffeine, along with helpful information on how to dose it and what to stack it with to maximize its benefits, stay tuned for our upcoming caffeine supplementation guide!


    Recap: Dosing and Stacking Guide

    Choline Sources:
    CDP-Choline (250-500mg)
    Premium choline source. Effective for nootropic purposes.
    Alpha-GPC (200-600mg)
    Premium choline source. Likely preferred source for power output and/or GH release.
    Choline Bitartrate (2000mg)
    Budget-friendly choline source that still has some nootropic effects.

    AChE Inhibitors:
    Huperzine-A (100-200mcg)
    Effective AChE inhibitor, reaches peak inhibition quickly.
    Galantamine (4-8mg)
    Effective AChE inhibitor, reaches peak inhibition slightly slower than huperzine.
    Sage (25-50microliters essential oil or 300mg+ of extract)
    Effective AChE inhibitor with numerous studies showing acute nootropic effects.

    Racetams:
    Piracetam (2.4g/day)
    The “original” racetam. Effective in humans, demonstrated synergy with choline in animal studies.
    Noopept (20mg/day)
    Dipeptide conjugate/analogue of piracetam that is effective in much smaller doses than piracetam. Limited research suggests it may be more effective than piracetam.

    Caffeine (dose according to tolerance and desired stimulation, typically 100-300mg)
    Tried and true; good old caffeine. Included here for its ability to potentiate choline.

    References

    1: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4536529/
    2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25681529
    3: Scientific Research Publishing
    4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595381/
    5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4650143/
    6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25455867
    7: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15639154
    8: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895685
    9: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20937617
    10: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18350281
    11: http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v3.../1300907a.html
    12: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10555876
    13: http://nootroo.com/increase-in-the-p...e-blind-study/
    14: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7301036
    15: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2392950
    16: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19234797
    17: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18318195
    18: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1435067
    19: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676818/
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com


  2. I did not previously know that caffeine was an AChE inhibitor. Do you feel that use of AChE inhibitors in conjunction with choline supplementation reduces the amount of choline someone needs to take?

    In my opinion it does, and this is because if less acetylcholine is degraded that in theory leaves more to be used by our brains. What are your thoughts?
    •   
       


  3. Quote Originally Posted by BigKrabbe View Post
    I did not previously know that caffeine was an AChE inhibitor. Do you feel that use of AChE inhibitors in conjunction with choline supplementation reduces the amount of choline someone needs to take?

    In my opinion it does, and this is because if less acetylcholine is degraded that in theory leaves more to be used by our brains. What are your thoughts?
    That makes sense to me, and my experience seems to support this. With what said, I still prefer using "effective" doses of both the choline source and the AChE inhibitor. Now, it could be on the "lower" end of the effective dose, but I like "knowing" that I'm using effective doses of each ingredient, and not just hoping that the synergy will be enough to make ineffective doses effective (I'd rather optimize my stack than go for the bare minimum to notice effects). For example, I'd say you could have a great combination going with something like 250mg CDP-Choline (or a similar dose of Alpha-GPC) and 100mcg Huperzine-A. In fact, that's my go-to combo for the two. Each one is an effective dose alone, but together they should increase acetylcholine levels even more.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  4. Subbed so I can read this later. Looks like some great info!

  5. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    That makes sense to me, and my experience seems to support this. With what said, I still prefer using "effective" doses of both the choline source and the AChE inhibitor. Now, it could be on the "lower" end of the effective dose, but I like "knowing" that I'm using effective doses of each ingredient, and not just hoping that the synergy will be enough to make ineffective doses effective (I'd rather optimize my stack than go for the bare minimum to notice effects). For example, I'd say you could have a great combination going with something like 250mg CDP-Choline (or a similar dose of Alpha-GPC) and 100mcg Huperzine-A. In fact, that's my go-to combo for the two. Each one is an effective dose alone, but together they should increase acetylcholine levels even more.
    I completely agree. When it comes to choline supplementation I like to just play it by ear as the few times I think I have been deficient have been pretty obvious, but I almost always take around 300mg of Alpha-GPC in the morning with my noot stack.
    •   
       


  6. Also, what are your thoughts on ginkgo as an AChE inhibitor?
  7. Choline Supplementation and Stacking Guide


    Quote Originally Posted by BigKrabbe View Post
    Also, what are your thoughts on ginkgo as an AChE inhibitor?
    It appears to have some minor AChE inhibiting effects in animal studies; I don't recall seeing any human studies confirming any significant AChE inhibition. The animal research suggests it's a better AChE inhibitor than bacopa, but it still doesn't seem to be the best (most potent) option, and neither ginkgo or bacopa (obviously) has a primarily MoA of inhibiting AChE anyway. I'd still go with huperzine, galantamine, or sage for an actual AChE inhibitor, as they have all been shown to be effective at this in healthy humans (where I don't know if ginkgo has, and even in animal studies it wasn't overly remarkable anyway). That's not to say ginkgo is useless, just that it probably isn't the most effective AChE inhibitor; it could have other benefits and MoA(s).
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  8. Sub'd for more info.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by JulzRulz View Post
    Sub'd for more info.
    Good to have you. My next article/guide will be on caffeine, and will cover the various benefits/uses of caffeine, and the doses necessary/best for these purposes, as well as what to stack with caffeine to maximize benefits and minimize any downsides. After that, I'm open to suggestions for what ingredient/category of supplements to focus on. Perhaps adaptogens and/or herbal nootropics, which would likely cover things like ashwagandha, bacopa, rhodiola, schisandra and ginseng(s)?
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  10. Just made a new thread (similar to this one) for caffeine. Hopefully these guides/articles can help people create/find effective stacks and get the most out of their supplements.
    Caffeine Guide
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  11. Came here from the caffeine guide, I love these so far. A ton of info without being overwhelming.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by drseuss6969 View Post
    Came here from the caffeine guide, I love these so far. A ton of info without being overwhelming.
    Thanks man! That's the goal.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  13. Was actually curious about how alcar would fit into a choline stack and would it stack well with something like huperzine.
    Last edited by onder18; 09-27-2017 at 08:49 PM. Reason: spelling error

  14. Quote Originally Posted by onder18 View Post
    Was actually curious about how alcar would fit into a choline stack and would it stack well with something like huperzine.
    Quite well I'd say. Anecdotally, they're often taken together. As far as the limited research on the combination of choline and carnitine, that also suggests that they go well together. 1-2g ALCAR is a good dose.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  15. Thanks for the response.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by onder18 View Post
    Thanks for the response.
    Happy to help.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  17. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    That makes sense to me, and my experience seems to support this. With what said, I still prefer using "effective" doses of both the choline source and the AChE inhibitor. Now, it could be on the "lower" end of the effective dose, but I like "knowing" that I'm using effective doses of each ingredient, and not just hoping that the synergy will be enough to make ineffective doses effective (I'd rather optimize my stack than go for the bare minimum to notice effects). For example, I'd say you could have a great combination going with something like 250mg CDP-Choline (or a similar dose of Alpha-GPC) and 100mcg Huperzine-A. In fact, that's my go-to combo for the two. Each one is an effective dose alone, but together they should increase acetylcholine levels even more.
    Let’s not forget that alpha-GPC and Citicoline have other effects that don’t involve their choline content per-se. Citicoline in doses over 500 can readily convert,via a few steps, to uridine. And it also has membrane stabilization properties. alpha-GPC can also add to cellular membranes.
  18. Choline Supplementation and Stacking Guide


    Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    Quite well I'd say. Anecdotally, they're often taken together. As far as the limited research on the combination of choline and carnitine, that also suggests that they go well together. 1-2g ALCAR is a good dose.
    That’s a good dose acutely. I even find 500 mg daily to be beneficial.

    Also ALCAR isn’t cognitively beneficial for the carnitine. It’s helpful due to the acetyl group passing through the BBB

  19. Great post!

  20. Quote Originally Posted by bigdavid View Post
    That’s a good dose acutely. I even find 500 mg daily to be beneficial.

    Also ALCAR isn’t cognitively beneficial for the carnitine. It’s helpful due to the acetyl group passing through the BBB
    ALCAR still elevates carnitine levels, and choline has been shown to maintain carnitine concentration. They still go well together, but yes, ALCAR is the best form of carnitine for cognitive benefits.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  21. SNS sells ALCAR at an affordable price.
    Serious Nutrition Solutions Representative
    [email protected] ons.com

  22. Quote Originally Posted by jgntyce View Post
    SNS sells ALCAR at an affordable price.
    I have found SNS to have great deals on a good variety of nootropic type compounds. Great quality as well.

  23. Great write up. I feel like the doses are usually higher especially for Piracetam. I usually take 4.8 a day but studies go up to 9.6 grams.

  24. Quote Originally Posted by chemiuser View Post
    Great write up. I feel like the doses are usually higher especially for Piracetam. I usually take 4.8 a day but studies go up to 9.6 grams.
    Thanks. Piracetam can, and often is, dosed higher than 2.4g per day. That said, 2.4g has been found to be acutely effective in healing young volunteers, where 9.6g was not, and 2.4g also seemed superior to 4.8g. Another study using normal subjects used s daily dose of 4.8g, but split it into 3x4 400mg caps. It seems that I’d recommend 2.4g per serving, but also note that 4.8g/day may also be useful, perhaps by taking another serving of 2.4g. For other ingredients, look through the references I provided, they are based on the studies in healthy volunteers. Higher doses are sometimes used, but that doesn’t mean that they’re “better,” or are worth spending 2-3x the money for a much larger serving.
    Performax Labs Online Rep.
    Facebook.com/pmaxlabs
    www.PerformaxLabs.com

  25. Quote Originally Posted by muscleupcrohn View Post
    Thanks. Piracetam can, and often is, dosed higher than 2.4g per day. That said, 2.4g has been found to be acutely effective in healing young volunteers, where 9.6g was not, and 2.4g also seemed superior to 4.8g. Another study using normal subjects used s daily dose of 4.8g, but split it into 3x4 400mg caps. It seems that I’d recommend 2.4g per serving, but also note that 4.8g/day may also be useful, perhaps by taking another serving of 2.4g. For other ingredients, look through the references I provided, they are based on the studies in healthy volunteers. Higher doses are sometimes used, but that doesn’t mean that they’re “better,” or are worth spending 2-3x the money for a much larger serving.
    Ironically enough piracetam is the only currently available racetam that I haven’t tried...idk why most sites in the US carry every other one but piracetam. Maybe it’s easier to get in Europe or I’m not looking at the right places.
  •   

      
     

Similar Forum Threads

  1. Replies: 19
    Last Post: 09-12-2016, 11:53 AM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-27-2016, 10:11 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-08-2011, 02:02 AM
  4. Overclocking FAQ and N00b Guides?
    By ex_banana-eater in forum General Chat
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-29-2003, 03:23 PM
Log in
Log in