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alpha-GPC

  • α-GPC has been shown to promote long term brain health as well as attention and memory. 
  • L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (α-GPC) is a natural choline compound made up of choline and glycerophosphate.α-GPC rapidly delivers choline across the blood–brain barrier and is a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is associated with memory and learning.
  • α-GPC is readily absorbed through oral intake to form free choline. It is able to increase both dopamine and serotonin concentrations in the frontal cortex and cerebellum. 
  • It has also been researched for its potential to remediate poor cognition as a result of stroke or neurodegeneration. 
  • α-GPC is approved as a dietary supplement component under provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. It is classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) according to FDA standards. 

alpha-GPC Sources

α-GPC naturally occurs in the brain in limited amounts. However, choline can be obtained from several different sources, both plant and animal including soy, eggs, and red meat. 

When the brain is low on free choline for acetylcholine, the brain breaks down cell membranes to cannabalize choline. 

Popular supplements for choline include α-GPC, choline bitartate and CDP-choline. 

α-GPC is the most bioavailable form of choline. 

One needs to take more than twice as much CDP-choline than α-GPC to get the same amount of choline.

Chemistry

Choline is a chemical precursor to produce acetylcholine.[1]

This is clinically important because there is a large body of research suggesting that learning, memory, intelligence, and mood are mediated at least in part by acetylcholine metabolism in the brain.[2]

This is commonly referred to as the "cholinergic effect".

Demonstrated Effects

Memory

A 2011 study in 26 individuals showed that daily ingestion of a nootropic blend containing α-GPC was effective in improving memory (recall, recognition, and short-term memory) at both 2 week and 10 week trial intervals.[3]

Focus

A 2010 study on 19 healthy college students showed that a nootropic blend consisting of α-GPC and other compounds (choline bitartrate, phosphatidylserine, vitamins B3, B6, and B12, folic acid, L-tyrosine, anhydrous caffeine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and naringin), resulted in increased reaction time and alertness, as measured by both a self-report questionnaire and reaction time measured by a Makoto testing device.[4]

Side Effects

There are no reported major side effects of α-GPC. Minor side effects can include heartburn and headache at doses several times the recommended amount (exceeding 2 grams per day).[5]

Safety

α-GPC is approved as a dietary supplement component under provisions of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. It is classified as generally regarded as safe (GRAS) according to FDA standards. 

Published Research

  1. Parnetti, L., Mignini, F., Tomassoni, D., Traini, E., & Amenta, F. (2007). Cholinergic precursors in the treatment of cognitive impairment of vascular origin: ineffective approaches or need for re-evaluation?. Journal of the neurological sciences, 257(1), 264-269.
  2. Hasselmo, M. E. (2006). The role of acetylcholine in learning and memory. Current opinion in neurobiology, 16(6), 710-715.
  3. Richter, Y., Herzog, Y., Eyal, I., & Cohen, T. (2011). Cognitex supplementation in elderly adults with memory complaints: an uncontrolled open label trial. Journal of dietary supplements, 8(2), 158-168.
  4. Hoffman, J. R., Ratamess, N. A., Gonzalez, A., Beller, N. A., Hoffman, M. W., Olson, M., ... & Jager, R. (2010). The effects of acute and prolonged CRAM supplementation on reaction time and subjective measures of focus and alertness in healthy college students. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 1-8.
  5. Brownawell, A. M., Carmines, E. L., & Montesano, F. (2011). Safety assessment of AGPC as a food ingredient. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49(6), 1303-1315.