What is Alpha-GPC?
Alpha GPC is a choline compound found naturally within the brain. Our brains release Alpha-GPC from the breakdown of a certain fatty acid commonly found in milk, soy, eggs, and beef. You can get Alpha GPC from certain foods, although it’s far more efficient to take it via a supplement.
Alpha GPC has powerful cognitive effects. In clinical testing, it’s been shown to boost memory, improve concentration, and act as a neuroprotectant. In fact, some studies have even shown that it can be used as a treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The full chemical name of Alpha-GPC is L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine. So you can understand why scientists decided to shorten the name to Alpha-GPC.
If you want to improve your memory, focus, and mental clarity, Alpha-GPC may be the perfect supplement for you. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting cholinergic class compound.
Alpha-GPC was discovered in 1864 by a German chemist named Adolph Strecker. Strecker is renowned for his work with amino acids. In fact, an entire chemical synthesis is named after him: the Strecker amino-acid synthesis.
Two years after Strecker discovered choline, it was already being synthesized in laboratories across Europe. Early research showed that choline played a critical role in cognitive ability and physical health, although the mechanisms behind it weren’t fully understood. Ultimately, the U.S. Institute of Medicine would name choline as a vital nutrient in 1998.
Today, Alpha-GPC is a commonly prescribed treatment for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neurological conditions. European doctors routinely prescribe Alpha-GPC supplements. In the United States, however, Alpha-GPC is still considered a dietary supplement.
A number of studies have been performed on Alpha GPC over the years. One study involved 4000 patients with memory problems. Patients received Alpha-GPC treatment lasting from 3 to 6 months. During and following treatment, patients showed “significant” improvement in a number of cognitive areas, including attention span and memory.
Another study involved 20 patients who were given Alpha GPC and then compared to a control group which didn’t take Alpha-GPC. After three months, the group that took Alpha-GPC improved their memory by 15.6% while the other group actually decreased their memory by 8%.
How Does Alpha GPC Work?
Alpha-GPC, like other choline supplements, affects your cholinergic system. This means it increases acetylcholine levels in your brain. Acetylcholine is a powerful neurotransmitter which plays an essential role in a number of cognitive functions, including memory retention, focus, and neuroplasticity.
Alpha-GPC raises acetylcholine levels by first increasing the amount of choline in your system. Your brain needs choline in order to produce acetylcholine.
After you consume Alpha GPC, it crosses the blood-brain barrier quite quickly. You know up above how I said that the full chemical name for Alpha-GPC is L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine? That plays an important role in its functionality. After crossing the blood-brain barrier, the “phosphate” component of Alpha GPC is metabolized. This leaves choline, which promotes higher levels of acetylcholine synthesis.
Most cholinergics work in identical ways. What makes Alpha-GPC a little more unique, however, is that it may also play a role on our dopamine system. Specifically, Alpha-GPC could increase dopamine levels within the cerebellum and the frontal cortex.
Benefits of Alpha-GPC
Alpha GPC is one of the world’s best choline sources. It’s been linked with a number of powerful cognitive benefits:
Boost Your Memory: Choline synthesis acetylcholine, which plays a critical role in memory formation and reduces the effects of degenerative memory disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. On individuals with healthy brains, Alpha-GPC can increase your learning ability, making it easier for your brain to store new information and recall that information at a later date.
Enhance Focus, Attention, And Clarity: Alpha-GPC is a popular study aid because it boosts memory while also increasing focus, attention, and clarity. Higher levels of acetylcholine streamline neurotransmission between brain cells, which leads to better overall focus.
Boost Energy: People who have low levels of acetylcholine often have problems with energy and fatigue. Taking Alpha GPC can boost mental and physical energy levels.
Improve Mood: Alpha-GPC is thought to affect dopamine systems in the brain. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter which plays a critical role in regulating mood. Higher dopamine levels can reduce stress and treat depression.
90% of the world’s population does not get their recommended daily amount of choline through their diet, which is why taking a choline supplement can unlock some powerful cognition boosting benefits.
How to Use Alpha GPC
Alpha-GPC is relatively easy to use. It goes to work quickly and is water-soluble. When taking it for the first time, I recommend starting with a daily dose of 300mg. You can take that dose all at once to provide an instant, long-lasting boost. Or, you can spread it out evenly over the course of a day to give you a more constant “buzz.”
As your body gets more tolerant of Alpha-GPC, you can increase your daily dose to 400mg. Some experienced users even take 1200mg or more per day.
I recommend taking Alpha-GPC with an early meal – like breakfast – due to its stimulating effects. Unless you want to stay up for most of the night, you should not be taking Alpha-GPC in the evening or late afternoon. In any case, stir it thoroughly with water until the mixture is clear.
Some people use Alpha-GPC as a study drug, while others take it to keep up with a competitive workplace. Even a small dose has powerful effects on the system, which is why it can also be used to combat jet leg or general tiredness.
But the most popular way to use Alpha-GPC is as part of a nootropic stack. Alpha-GPC works particularly well with racetams, like Piracetam and Aniracetam. These racetams boost acetylcholine receptors in the brain, which means your brain needs to produce more acetylcholine. Alpha-GPC gives your brain the acetylcholine it needs by delivering high amounts of choline.
Many nootropic users believe stacking racetams with supplements like Alpha-GPC will reduce headaches and mitigate other side effects.
Alpha-GPC Side Effects
Alpha-GPC is a mild supplement and users rarely develop side effects. However, typical side effects of Alpha GPC include headaches, insomnia, dizziness, heartburn, and skin rashes.
As with any nootropic, you should consult your physician before taking Alpha-GPC – especially if you’re already taking medication or suffer from any type of illness. There is some research that suggests Alpha GPC may interact with Scopolamine as it blocks acetylcholine.
Buying Alpha-GPC Supplements Online
The internet is your friend when it comes to buying Alpha-GPC. There are dozens of online nootropic retailers which offer competitively-priced Alpha-GPC and a diverse selection of supplements.
Popular Alpha-GPC supplements include Alpha Brain, made by Onnit. Many people, however, simply buy Alpha GPC on its own, in which case you enjoy the purified, natural benefits of straight Alpha-GPC compound.
Alpha-GPC is available in both capsule and powder form. When buying online, you’ll typically find cheaper prices than you would in-store. In fact, many pharmacies and drugstores will not carry Alpha-GPC or other nootropics. In any case, these online stores avoid the high overhead costs of retail space. Then, they pass those savings onto you. I strongly recommend buying Alpha-GPC online.