Choline is an essential nutrient that is found in dairy, meat, and nuts. It has been used to improve brain and lung function. Choline is also often recommended to pregnant women to improve fetal health. It can be taken as a pill or powder. It can also be injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.


100 to 650 milligrams once daily.

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Cancer —likely to lower the risk of cancer when used with betaine C1

May Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take choline in small doses for a short time. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take excessive amounts of choline. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. H1


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. A. Alzheimer Disease

A1. Amenta F, Carotenuto A, et al. The ASCOMALVA trial: association between the cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil and the cholinergic precursor choline alphoscerate in Alzheimer’s disease with cerebrovascular injury: interim results. J Neurol Sci. 2012;322(1-2):96-101.

A2. Carotenuto A, Rea R, et al. The Effect of the Association between Donepezil and Choline Alphoscerate on Behavioral Disturbances in Alzheimer’s Disease: Interim Results of the ASCOMALVA Trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;56(2):805-815.

B. B. Bipolar Disorder

B1. B1. Sylvia LG, Peters AT, et al. Nutrient-based therapies for bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(1):10-19.

C. Cancer

C1. Sun S, Li X, et al. Choline and betaine consumption lowers cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 19;6:35547.

D. D. Cognitive Function

D1. Lewis JE, Melillo AB, et al. A double-blind, randomized clinical trial of dietary supplementation on cognitive and immune functioning in healthy older adults. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Feb 4;14:43.

E. E. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

E1. Wozniak JR, Fuglestad AJ, et al. Choline supplementation in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(5):1113-1125.

E2. Nguyen TT, Risbud RD, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of choline supplementation in school-aged children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;104(6):1683-1692.

F. Immune Function

F1. Wozniak JR, Fuglestad AJ, et al. Choline supplementation in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders has high feasibility and tolerability. Nutr Res. 2013 Nov;33(11):897-904.

G. G. Infant Information Processing Speed

G1. Caudill MA, Strupp BJ, et al. Maternal choline supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy improves infant information processing speed: a randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study. FASEB J. 2018 Apr;32(4):2172-2180.

H. H. Safety

H1. Yates AA, Schlicker SA, et al. Dietary Reference Intakes: the new basis for recommendations for calcium and related nutrients, B vitamins, and choline. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Jun;98(6):699-706.

Last reviewed May 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/16/2020