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In 1864, Adolph Strecker discovered choline and then synthesized it two years later. Choline is essential for physical and cognitive health. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to think, move, sleep, or remember. A choline deficiency can result in headaches, fatigue, memory problems, and muscle pain. Choline is also a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is vital to the health of your cell membranes.
In 1998, the US Institute of Medicine recognized choline as an essential nutrient that is important for normal growth and development. It is even prescribed as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in Europe.
Your brain produces small amounts of choline in response to eating foods like beef, eggs, soy, dairy, and liver. Choline is also available in dietary supplements. Alpha-GPC is one of the best ways to supplement choline.
Alpha-GPC (also referred to as L-Alpha glyceryl-phosphorylcholine or choline alfoscerate) is a natural choline compound present in the brain. It is a nootropics supplement or “smart drug” that works as a cognitive enhancer. After decades of research, doctors now also recommend it as an effective memory enhancer. Research shows that it helps healthy individuals improve memory, focus, and learning. It is also a treatment for age-related memory loss such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Bodybuilders also use alpha-GPC to increase performance.
Alpha-GPC is water soluble and therefore is far more bioavailable than some other sources of choline for brain benefit. It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, which means it gets absorbed by your body faster and more effectively. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of alpha-GPC.
Benefits of Alpha-GPC
ALPHA-GPC AND AMNESIA
Alpha-GPC produces the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is important for memory and general brain function. It improves neural signaling in the brain. And this boosts memory, learning, cognitive processing, and mental clarity.
According to a study in PubMed, 32 healthy individuals volunteered to explore the effects of alpha-GPC on amnesia. At the start of a ten-day study, volunteers were given either a placebo or an alpha-GPC supplement. Ten days later, they were injected with either a placebo or scopolamine, which causes amnesia. Several memory and attention tests were then done on the subjects. The study found that alpha-GPC prevented the weakening of attention and memory.
ALPHA-GPC, ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA
Alpha-GPC directly affects the growth of cell membranes in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the information processing center of your brain. It controls motor function, intelligence, and the ability to organize. It also affects personality, planning, and touch. A study published in Clinical Therapeutics found that there was also a significant improvement in dementia with patients that were given alpha-GPC. Volunteers with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given 400 mg capsules of alpha-GPC three times per day for 6 months. The trial showed consistent improvement in these patients.
ALPHA-GPC AND STROKES
A study was done in Italy with 2000 patients who have experienced strokes. The patients received a one-month supply of 1000 mg alpha-GPC a day. This study was continued for six months. The study suggests that alpha-GPC plays a large role in boosting cognitive recovery in stroke patients.
ALPHA-GPC AND MOOD DISORDERS
Alpha-GPC increases dopamine release in the cerebellum and frontal cortex. Dopamine is a “feel good” hormone that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It helps regulate emotional responses and even movement. It is one of the differences between us and primates and enables us to plan ahead and resist impulses. It also makes us more competitive and aggressive at times. A deficiency of dopamine can result in Parkinson’s disease. People with low dopamine levels are also more susceptible to addiction and mood disorders such as depression.
ALPHA-GPC AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Florida State University conducted a four-week double-blind study with 27 college powerlifters. It indicated that taking an alpha-GPC supplement improves the maximum weight lifted. It improves athletic performance by increasing strength and power. It also helps with quicker muscle recovery after workouts. Significant improvement was shown in bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. As mentioned before, it also maintains a favorable hormone balance.
ALPHA-GPC AND GROWTH HORMONE SECRETION
Some athletes and bodybuilders prefer to use alpha-GPC to assist in human growth hormone (HGH) secretion and increase power output. Taking alpha-GPC an hour before your workout can lead to enhanced performance.
You may wonder why you should supplement with alpha-GPC instead of with HGH directly. There are a few reasons. Quality HGH is often hard to get. And there can be several side effects such as short bowel syndrome and muscle wasting. It is also banned by some professional athletic organizations.
Quality alpha-GPC is more readily available. Supplementing with alpha-GPC means that you don’t experience those side effects. Plus, you avoid running afoul of anti-doping policies.
ALPHA-GPC AND FAT OXIDATION
With substitute choline in your body, it can also help protect the liver. This comes from its ability to increase fat metabolism. A study investigated the physiological responses of eight males, randomly given alpha-GPC or a placebo. After analyzing the blood samples, a single dose of alpha-GPC proved to increase the choline levels significantly. This means that it can help with fat oxidation as well as improve growth hormones.
ALPHA-GPC AND ENERGY
So, you’re not a morning person, and you need your caffeine to drag yourself out of bed. Choline is an energy booster. With some coffee and a dose of alpha-GPC, you’ll have a lot more energy and will be able to focus better. Do not take alpha-GPC at night, since it might interfere with your sleep pattern.
The Difference Between Alpha-GPC and Other Choline Supplements
Your body uses different sources of choline. The effect of these different forms varies in your body. Let’s take a look at two other sources of choline and how they compare to alpha-GPC.
CDP-choline or citicoline is also a precursor for acetylcholine and has the same effects as alpha-GPC. However, unlike alpha-GPC’s 40% choline by weight, Citicoline only has 18% choline. This means that 1000 mg of citicoline will only give you 180 mg of choline. Therefore, you would need to take more of this supplement to gain the same results from alpha-GPC.
Choline bitartrate is a weaker form of choline than alpha-GPC and CDP-choline. It is a “choline salt,” and is one of the cheaper choline supplements. It is sufficient for the liver benefits of choline, but if you are looking for a nootropic supplement, use CDP-choline or alpha-GPC. You will need to take more choline bitartrate to get a similar effect as alpha-GPC, since it does not cross the blood-brain barrier as easily. A choline bitartrate supplement dose can be anything from 500 milligrams to 3 grams.
Since alpha-GPC has higher choline content and is far more bioavailable, you don’t need as much of this supplement as you would other sources of choline. Alpha-GPC occurs naturally in the brain and also forms acetylcholine for cell membrane health. Alpha-GPC is a natural byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC). When the choline levels in your brain are low, your body breaks down PC from cell membranes to form more alpha-GPC. Taking alpha-GPC supplements means that your body doesn’t have to cannibalize its own cells to make more.
Now that we’ve covered some of alpha-GPCs many benefits, let’s talk about how to incorporate it into your life so that you can enjoy those benefits.
Food Sources of Choline
Choline is present in egg yolks, liver, milk, and other dairy products. Certain grains like quinoa and amaranth also contain choline. As does bacon, soy beans, and vegetables related to the cabbage family. These are vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and others. These are good healthy options. But it may be difficult for some people to get enough choline from dietary sources alone. That’s where supplements come in.
Available Forms of Alpha-GPC Supplements
Many manufacturers offer a supplement with 50% alpha-GPC powder and combine it with 50% filler such as silicon dioxide. Alpha-GPC supplements are made from soy or sunflower lecithin. Lecithin is a fat that is essential in the body. If you cannot have soy, look for an alpha-GPC “no soy” supplement, specifically one that is made from sunflower lecithin.
The Recommended Dosage of Alpha-GPC
The range of suitable dosages is quite broad for most adults. A dosage of 300 to 1200 mg is safe and efficient when taken in one or two doses during the day. The most common standard doses of alpha-GPC are 300 to 600 mg. As noted, alpha-GPC is about 40% by weight. A 1000 mg dose will, therefore, have about 400 mg of choline. When using supplements, it is important to start with a lower dose and then increase it gradually if you think you can benefit from more.
Studies show that to increase strength, a dose of 600 mg is the most effective. This dosage is recommended for athletes who want to build lean muscle and increase performance. For cognitive decline, studies show that taking three 400 mg doses per day (1200 mg total) is the most effective.
Side Effects of Alpha-GPC
Side effects of alpha-GPC are rare, since our bodies produce it naturally. However, too much alpha-GPC can cause nervousness, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress. It might also cause dizziness and low blood pressure. If you struggle with hypertension, be careful in your dosing. Side effects are only common in individuals taking very high doses.
The side effects of alpha-GPC have not been studied in pregnant women. If you are pregnant, refrain from using this supplement.
Best Alpha-GPC Supplements
Our top 10 list of alpha-GPC supplements is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality alpha-GPC supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.
- Canal, N., Franceschi, M., Alberoni, M., Castiglioni, C., De Moliner, P., Longoni, A. Effect of L-Alpha-Glyceryl-Phosphorylcholine On Amnesia Caused By Scopolamine. PubMed.gov
- David Tomen Alpha-GPC NootropicsExpert.com
- David Tomen The Big List of Nootropics NootropicsExpert.com
- Wikipedia Alpha-GPC Wikipedia.org
- Onnit Research Team Alpha GPC Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects Onnit.com
- Nootropics Supply Alpha-GPC NootropicsSupply.com
- Psychology Today Dopamine PsychologyToday.com
- Health Host Alpha GPC and Growth Hormone: Good for Your Muscles & Brain HealthHost.co.uk
- Onnit Clinical Studies Onnit.com
- Examine Summary of Alpha-GPC Examine.com
- Body Nutrition The Benefits and Side Effects of Alpha-GPC BodyNutrition.org
Nutricost Alpha-GPC comes in 300 mg capsules. It is non-GMO and gluten-free vegetable capsules.
This is a high-quality alpha-GPC supplement that helps with cognitive and body health. It is rich in choline, a precursor to acetylcholine that helps keeps your cell membranes healthy. The recommended dose is 600 mg per day. Each bottle contains 120 capsules.Keep Reading »
This is a pharmaceutical-grade supplement that is made in the US. It contains 60 capsules of 300 mg each.
The supplement increases choline levels in your body and is the most bioavailable choline supplement available. It enhances memory and boosts cognitive function.Keep Reading »
With 60 capsules and 600 mg per serving, Naturebell’s Alpha-GPC supplement is pharmaceutical grade and non-GMO.
It is soy free and made in the US. It enhances memory and strengthens the membranes in your cells. It also supports cognitive and focus function.Keep Reading »
This supplement by Zazzee Naturals is pharmaceutical grade and vegan. It contains 75 capsules of 300 mg each.
It is non-GMO, soy free, and is made in the US. It is produced in an FDA-certified factory where they have very strict quality control regulations for their product.Keep Reading »
Now Alpha-GPC supplements come in 300 mg and contain 60 capsules.
NOW’s founder, Elwood Richard, started his company to meet consumers’ needs for health foods that are high quality and affordable. It is a family-owned business that has been in operation for 50 years, and they strive to produce the best in supplements.Keep Reading »
Douglas Laboratories produces an alpha-GPC supplement that supports neurological health.
Each of the 60 vegetarian capsules contains 250 mg of alpha-GPC. It assists with brain health, cognitive support, and mood disorders such as stress and depression.Keep Reading »
Alpha-GPC 50% Powder contains 25 grams (or 42 servings) of alpha-GPC. It is a nootropic and cognitive enhancer.
It increases power output by your body and also helps with mood support and memory. It supports a healthy and pleasant mood. It might also help with the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter which promotes calmness.Keep Reading »
LongLifeNutri supplies a supplement that contains 300 mg of alpha-GPC in each of the 120 vegetarian capsules. It is made in the US and is a cognitive enhancer nootropic.
It supports memory and brain function, as well as boosting focus and enhancing your mood. It is non-GMO and gluten-free.Keep Reading »
VitaMonk’s Alpha-GPC and Uridine stack promotes healthy brain function and supports brain cognition.
Uridine is proven to enhance both short-term and long-term memory. Using it in conjunction with alpha-GPC makes it a very effective nootropic. Each bottle contains 60 capsules of 250 mg each.Keep Reading »
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