What Is Alpha GPC?
The human body requires a certain number of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Bad eating habits, such as not eating enough fresh produce, and stresses on the body can deprive it of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and other nutrients.
For instance, when the sodium levels in your body are too high, it can deprive it of potassium. Having too much sugar in the diet also depletes potassium, along with magnesium, and chromium, which are essential minerals, which means they are necessary for your body to function normally. Fortunately, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can help restore the balance of nutrients in the body. Some supplements can also boost immunity and help enhance some bodily functions, such as muscle and brain performances. One such supplement, Alpha GPC, seems to improve brain function and protects the brain. Alpha GPC, or L-Alpha-glycerophosphocholine, is a supplement that contains choline, which is a water-soluble essential nutrient that needs to be in the diet to maintain your health.
The body cannot synthesize enough choline on its own, so people should eat foods containing the macronutrient. These foods include eggs, beef liver, dairy, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This supplement works by increasing the chemical compound acetylcholine in the brain. This compound is a neurotransmitter consisting of acetic acid and choline. It is a neurotransmitter, which means it transmits signals between the cells in the body.
Acetylcholine is found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. In the peripheral nervous system, it is found in the autonomous nervous system and transmits signals from the motor nerves to the muscles to move them. In the central nervous system, the compound is a neuromodulator, and it is found in areas of the brain that controls motivation, arousal, and attention
To learn more about the basics of Alpha GPC, watch this video:
Alpha GPC Dosage
Alpha GPC contains 40% choline, so if you take 1000mg, that means 400mg of it was choline1. The recommended daily amount of choline for men is 550mg per day and 425mg for women. The standard doses of the supplement are between 300mg and 600mg, with higher amounts given to patients to prevent cognitive decline.
This supplement is available in both capsule and powder form at places that sell dietary supplements, such as health food stores and vitamin shops. It is also available online from sports nutrition websites and sites that sell nootropics.
What Are The Top Benefits?
Taking Alpha GPC as a supplement has many benefits, especially for the brain. Several of the benefits are due to the choline in the supplement.
Alpha GPC is often taken as a memory enhancer because research shows that it helps improve memory retention and recall2. It can help students learn more effectively as memory retention and recall are essential when learning in a classroom or reading information from textbooks. The ability to improve memory can also help people with cognitive issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. One of the first symptoms of cognitive impairment is the loss of memory, whether it is forgetting where you put your keys or forgetting the name of a friend or loved one. The supplement helps combat memory loss by increasing the production of acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for cognitive function as it helps to store and recall information.
Phosphatidylcholine, or PC, is found in the membrane of cells, including brain cells. Since Alpha GPC increases its production, it can help repair cell membranes. PC also synthesizes acetylcholine as it is needed. The supplement was found to be effective in studies involving adults in all age groups. Several clinical trials have been done with results showing it to be effective for memory recall and enhancing attention in young males between the ages of 19 and 38. In middle-aged and elderly trial participants, it was found to help improve reactions times by increasing energy and supporting electrical coordination in their brains. Test subjects with vascular dementia who were given 1,200mg of Alpha GPC showed improvements in cognition, motivation, and in their emotional states, and it reduced confusion.
Due to its ability to help reduce cognitive decline, Alpha GPC is a prescription medication for Alzheimer’s in Europe. It is given to patients in either oral form or as an injection. However, in the United States, it is only available as a nutritional supplement.
Repairs Brain Cells
As people age, the substance that helps repair our brain cells naturally declines, which is one of the causes of cognitive decline. However, since Alpha GPC contains phosphatidylcholine, it can help repair brain cells and prevent or restore cognitive abilities. Phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid that coats the outside of cell membranes and, since its production is increased by taking Alpha GPC, the supplement helps repair cells. It can strengthen the membrane of brain cells and makes it easier for electrical pulses to be sent to them. By improving the ability of electrical pulses to move through cells, it helps improve the communication between them. It also allows for improvements in focus, attention, and recalling memories.
Effective Stroke Treatment
A clinical trial in Italy showed that Alpha GPC could be an effective treatment for strokes and transient ischemic attacks. There were over 2000 patients in the study3 who were given Alpha GPC following their attacks. They received a daily dose of 1000mg for 28 days and then 400mg orally for five months during the first phase.
The effectiveness of the drug was measured on the Mathew Scale (MS) while it was given to the participants as an intermuscular injection. Afterward, the Mini-Mental State Test (MMST), the Crichton Rating Scale (CRS), and the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) were used when it was administered orally. The results of using Alpha GPC on the MS, which measures impairments4 and the global level of disability, showed it was significantly effective with an increase on the scale from 58.7 to 74.6. After the five-month period in which the drug was given orally, the CRS, which measures disability, decreased significantly.
The results of the MMST, which measures cognitive function5, showed a significant increase by the end of the study, and a “normalcy” score during the three-month assessment. The GDS, which is also a measurement of cognitive function, showed “no cognitive decline” or “forgetfulness” in 71% of the patients by the end of the trial. Along with confirming the effectiveness of the drug for treating strokes or TIAs, the trial also showed it was highly tolerated by patients as there were few complaints of side effects. The main side effects were heartburn, nausea, insomnia, and headaches.
Athletic Performance Enhancer
Some athletes take Alpha GPC because studies show it increases the secretion of human growth hormone, or hGH, which can help speed recovery after working out and prevent the loss of choline during workouts. Studies show that it can also increase endurance, which allows athletes to workout longer. One study gave its seven male participants 600mg6 of the supplement prior to resistance training.
During the study, they each did six sets of 10 repetitions each of Smith Machine squats at 70% of their maximum weight capacity. Also, they did three sets of bench press throws at 50% of their maximum capacity. The results of this study found there was an increase in hGH by 44 times their previous baseline levels. In addition, the participants had an increase in their peak bench press force of 14%.
The second study, which consisted of 10 male and 10 female participants, compared Alpha-GPC, also called a-GPC, to caffeine7 to measure their effectiveness on cognitive function, mood, and athletic performance. The supplements were randomly given to participants, with either 200mg or 400mg of a-GPC given to some participants and 200mg of caffeine given to others. The results of the study showed that neither the a-GPC or caffeine had any significant beneficial effects on mood, cognitive function, or physical performance. However, those participants given 200mg of a-GPC scored 18% higher and were 10.5% faster when taking a serial subtraction test than those supplemented with 200mg of caffeine. Also, they jumped 8.5% higher on a Vertical Jump Peak Power test compared to their initial measurement, and participants who took 400mg of A-GPC jumped 7.5% higher. Those who had caffeine supplements jumped 2.0% higher than their baseline measurements
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
No significant adverse effects were reported from study participants who took Alpha-GPC. As seen in the previously mentioned Italian study, some participants did report experiencing heartburn, vomiting or nausea, headaches, and insomnia. Some people who took the supplement at higher doses reported issues with rashes, dizziness, and confusion. The headaches and dizziness probably resulted from producing too much choline in the brain. Also, anyone who has side effects when taking a vitamin B supplement should consult their doctor before taking it. There are reports that it can cause people to feel fatigued and irritable, but this side effect is usually temporary, and it may be the result of having too much choline in the body. Since it is considered safe, there are no controversies with taking the supplement, whether as a nootropic or a workout supplement.
People who take Scopolamine shouldn’t take any GPC product as it influences the absorption of choline. Scopolamine is a prescription medication that helps treat nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness or after surgery. It may be taken orally, or it’s also sold as a patch under the brand name Transderm Scop.
Most people stack herbs or other supplements with Alpha GPC to help improve their cognitive functions, recall, and focus.
One of the most powerful stacks for recall, memory, focus, etc., is a combination of:
- 300 to 500mg Adrafinil
- 100 to 150mg
- 200mg Alpha GPC
If you want to increase your physical energy and improve mental alertness, this stack may help you. Take:
- 200mg Phenylpiracetam
- 1mg AcetylCarnitine
- 400mg Alpha GPC
- 3mg Omega-3 fatty acids
To get a physical and mental energy boost without disrupting your sleep, try this stack.
These three stacks are just a few of the combinations you can use while studying, working out, or to protect your brain’s health. Alpha GPC can also be taken with caffeine, such as green tea, to improve focus and mental alertness without the jitters associated with some caffeine supplements.
Alternatives To Alpha GPC
There are other nootropics or choline supplements that you can take instead of Alpha GPC to enhance your memory, protect the brain, boost energy, and enhance workouts.
Choline bitartrate is a choline supplement with a chemical salt additive to help increase absorption in the body. It can help protect the brain against memory impairment, boost memory retention and recall, and it provides many choline benefits as it is considered a Cholinergic.
Choline citrate is also a cholinergic and is a combination of choline and citric acid. Since choline helps to boost production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, this supplement helps to improve cognition, boosts memory, and enhances the health of cell membranes. It is a popular substitute for nootropics like Alpha GPC because of its affordability.
CDP-Choline, also known as Citicoline, is a nootropic that improves brain health and cognitive function. It can help to increase the levels of acetylcholine, which makes it easier for neurons to communicate. It is also thought to increase the density of dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine affects movement control, emotions, and the pleasure and rewards areas of the brain.
Since taking Alpha GPC is safe when taken as directed, it is a good supplement for students who need to focus on their studies, clear brain fogginess, and improve their ability to remember and recall what they’ve learned. Amateur and professional bodybuilders can also take it to enhance their performances in the gym. It may also cut their recovery time, increase their endurance, and focus while training.
The only people who should be cautious when taking this supplement are pregnant women as not enough is known about this supplement’s effects on the fetus. However, we recommend Alpha GPC due to its ability to protect the brain and improve cognitive functions in adults of all ages.
Scientific & Reference Citations