Many nootropic supplements claim they can improve a person’s cognitive function, memory, and creativity, among other seemingly magical cure-all benefits. Alpha GPC is no different. That said, there is some promising research available showing that it can be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases. It is commonly marketed in Europe under brand names like Delecit and Gliatalin, which are also labeled as “memory enhancers”. But is it really effective for those looking for an everyday brain boost? Or is it just for slowing mental decline in the already ill?
About Alpha GPC
If you know anything about choline, then maybe you have heard of Alpha Glycerophosphocholine, or Alpha GPC. In any case, Alpha GPC is a form of a naturally occurring choline compound in the body that is responsible for overall good health, with more emphasis on the mental and physical aspects. It also goes by the name of choline alfoscerate, which simply refers to it as the combination of glycerophosphate and choline.
Aside from Alpha GPC, another delivery agent of choline is in the form of CDP choline. This compound provides cytidine that converts into a nutrient called uridine, which promotes cognitive-enhancing molecules. It does not only protect the brain from damage, it is also seen as playing an important role in learning.
Although these two choline forms seem to have similar brain functions, their difference lies on how their benefits are reaped. For one, they have different metabolic processes. While we are at it, there’s something you should learn about acetylcholine, which both compounds act as a precursor to.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that handles the chemical messaging between the brain and the body. To illustrate, it links learning which happens in the brain, to say, contracting of muscles as performed by the body.
Going back to Alpha GPC, it functions by delivering choline to the brain as it increases acetylcholine production. More choline means more acetylcholine can be utilized by the hippocampus, which contribute to enhanced cognitive abilities.
Our memories are highly supported by acetylcholine. These include language skills, logical thinking, creative learning, plus mobility and coordination. However, the quantity of acetylcholine declines as we get older.
Not to worry because you can get Alpha GPC from cow liver, legumes, grass-fed dairy, and some vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. However, its levels in these products are very minimal. As such, drug supplements with the right concentrations of Alpha GPC can address choline deficiency.
Active mechanisms of Alpha GPC
Structurally classified as a phosphatidylcholine, Alpha GPC is a lecithin phospholipid attached to choline. As such, it nurtures cell structures and nerve signals, maintaining the chemical balance in the brain along the way.
Each Alpha GPC molecule is comprised of 40 percent choline, which is delivered to the brain directly. This efficiency surpasses other cholinergics in terms of choline circulation in the central nervous system.
When taken as a water-soluble supplement, Alpha GPC is fast-acting and readily bioavailable as it reaches the barrier of blood and brain after ingestion. It is able to up the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood and energy.
Impact of Alpha GPC on memory
As a nootropic, Alpha GPC’s primary benefit is on cognitive enhancement, or memory. This comes as a result of its ability to increase choline as well as acetylcholine. We have learned that the latter is key to mental sharpness. In fact, it has been found that people who do not have sufficient choline may find it difficult to focus, if not display symptoms of ADHD.
When one lacks choline, poor memory and other cognitive impairments ensue. As such, Alpha GPC may help with mental decline that is often linked to neurological conditions. This has been exhibited during extensive clinical tests that showed its efficacy in treating memory loss brought about by neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
During an experiment using mice as subjects, these animals were able to successfully regain their neural structure from utter ruin. Along with this, the improved synthesis of the phospholipids in their neurons restored their choline pathways, which are significantly reduced in those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Alpha GPC is being marketed in a number of European countries as either a prescribed oral treatment or injectable for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury, and dementia. Popular brand names include Delecit and Gliatilin, which are also labeled as memory enhancers that help maintain the brain’s chemical balance.
Notable Benefits of Taking Alpha GPC
Boosts performance and strength
Alpha GPC does not only cater to improving performance of athletes thus, paving their way to super “athlete-dom”, but also provides high power output to regular folks. There was an increase of 14 percent in the bench throw output of participating individuals in one study using an Alpha GPC dose of 600 milligrams.
The ability of Alpha GPC to stimulate the human growth hormone as shown during a minor study that involved eight young adults is currently being looked into. This, along with the increased fat oxidation are linked to heightened energy and less recovery time. That is why many believe that Alpha GPC can increase one’s capacity to achieve lean muscle mass, and help in quick recovery from an intense workout.
Our body requires choline in the form of Alpha GPC in order to generate acetylcholine, which is an essential neurotransmitter not only in memory, but also for mood and muscle control. It works like dopamine in some ways, such that, it provides a positive effect on one’s well-being. During a clinical trial, Alpha GPC enhanced production of dopamine in animals.
Given this impact on dopamine levels, there is great potential for Alpha GPC to aid in Parkinson’s disease where there is a loss of this neurotransmitter that affects mobility. This also includes those who have a deficiency in the human growth hormone by improving their perception of mood.
Fights off fatigue
Remember that Alpha GPC connects not only to the brain, but also to the body as manifested in muscle contractions as an example. It can help combat fatigue as it enhances the stamina, which is known to be the result of high levels of acetylcholine in the body. And if we are convinced that Alpha GPC has a positive impact on the human growth hormone, it follows that stamina can improve, too which is associated to it.
Aids in iron absorption
Many may not be aware of this, but Alpha GPC is somewhat connected to the absorption of non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits and nuts. With as little as 46 milligrams of Alpha GPC, this dietary iron can be increased, albeit, not as potent as some might hope. However, the given serving is equivalent to the dosage of 100 milligrams of vitamin C.
Recommended Alpha GPC Dose
It is considered safe to take 1200 milligrams of Alpha GPC every day, which you can divide into three intakes of 400 milligrams. When you choose to break up the dosage, keep them apart by four to six hours. With this dosage, it is enough to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease after 6 months of regular consumption. This same dose is also helpful for recovery from stroke and repair of brain damage from traumatic injuries.
For regular usage like those who prefer an added boost to their routine or physical activity, as little as 250 milligrams can be ingested daily, with some suggesting that this is better than taking higher doses. However, more scientific data is necessary to prove this. Half life of Alpha GPC ranges from four to six hours, which is said to peak in the first 2 hours after intake.
What to Expect After Taking Alpha GPC
While it has been mentioned that Alpha-GPC acts quickly after ingestion in as fast as 20 minutes, you will probably notice a difference after 7 days. Perhaps your strength will be improved thereafter, which you can test by doing additional physical activities. And if you’re being lucky, your mind and muscle connection becomes more refined after Alpha GPC supplementation. Over time, you may feel the more sublime effects of the drug given the right dosage, especially with memory retention and new learning.
Alpha is generally a well-tolerated supplement and considered to be one of the safest nootropics. While the occurrences of side effects may be far in between, there is still a possibility of some who might experience lethargy, foggy brain, and perhaps a libido spike, which may result from a high dose or choline sensitivity, if there is such a thing.
Alpha GPC as a supplement is not a miracle wonder. Until more scientific research is conducted, it will still remain as one of the most potent sources of choline that can potentially benefit one’s power to remember. As side effects are uncommon, it might not hurt to try it for yourself.