Hey there! Welcome to my review of Alpha GPC.
I spent over 15 hours researching and testing Alpha GPC. I read everything from Pubmed studies to online user reviews, and then even tried some myself to understand what this compound is all about.
My conclusion is that Alpha GPC is by far one of the most potent nootropic compounds on the market today.
Supplementing with Alpha GPC is a great way to boost all areas of cognition for immediate benefits, but also a proven method for protecting your brain from neurodegeneration in the long run.
The best part is that most Alpha GPC nootropic supplements are affordable, easy to buy, and are low-risk to use.
Ready to learn more? Let’s go!
What Is Alpha GPC?
Alpha GPC is a choline source synthesized from sunflower or soy.
Alpha GPC (α-Glycerophosphocholine) is a popular nootropic supplement that can improve memory and learning, boost mood and energy, and prevent cognitive decline.
Choline is an essential nutrient that can also be found in food, particularly eggs. It’s required for many basic processes inside cells and critical for proper brain development.
Alpha GPC happens to be a more bioavailable form of choline that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. 1Zeisel SH. Choline: needed for normal development of memory J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Alpha GPC happens to be a more bioavailable form of choline that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. 2Zeisel SH. Choline and human nutrition Annu Rev Nutr. 1994
Once absorbed by the body, Alpha GPC increases a critical neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (ACh).
Acetylcholine is one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. It is heavily involved in learning, memory, and emotions. Maintaining proper ACh levels can optimize cognitive function.3Acetylcholine – Wikipedia 4Kawamura T1, Okubo T, Sato K, Fujita S, Goto K, Hamaoka T, Iemitsu M.Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults. Nutrition. 2012
Alpha GPC is a common part of nootropic stacks and is often paired with racetams (oxiracetam, aniracetam, etc..).
This is because racetams can deplete choline stores. Stacking with a choline source like Alpha GPC can prevent this from happening and synergize the nootropic effects of both substances.
Acetylcholine is one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. It is heavily involved in learning, memory, and emotions. Maintaining proper ACh levels can optimize cognitive function.5Acetylcholine – Wikipedia 6Kawamura T1, Okubo T, Sato K, Fujita S, Goto K, Hamaoka T, Iemitsu M.Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults. Nutrition. 2012
Alpha GPC is a standard part of most nootropic stacks and pairs well with racetams (oxiracetam, aniracetam, etc..).
This is because racetams can deplete choline stores. Stacking with a choline source like Alpha GPC can prevent this from happening and synergize the nootropic effects of both substances.
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What Are Some Alpha-GPC Benefits?
Alpha GPC is used for many different purposes. It is clinically proven to treat some brain injuries but may also have nootropic benefits for otherwise healthy people.
Alpha GPC Is Neuroprotective
There is evidence that Alpha GPC has neuroprotective benefits.
Numerous trials show that it can improve overall cognition while preventing cognitive degeneration due to it’s action on the acetylcholine system.7Choline alphoscerate (alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline) an old choline- containing phospholipid with a still interesting profile as cognition enhancing agent, Centro Ricerche Cliniche, Telemedicina e Telefarmacia Università di Camerino, Via Madonna delle Carceri
A large review of human clinical studies on dementia or hypertensive-related mental decline suggests that Alpha GPC can significantly improve cognitive function compared to control or placebo.8Parnetti L, Amenta F, Gallai V. Choline alphoscerate in cognitive decline and in acute cerebrovascular disease: an analysis of published clinical data Mech Ageing Dev. 2001
In one small trial of adults suffering from cognitive decline, Alpha GPC “had a significant positive effect on patients’ condition including cognitive function.” Researchers noted an improvement in as little as 5-6 days.9Pizova NV. The use of cereton in patients with chronic brain ischemia and moderate cognitive impairment Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2014
Alpha GPC May Heal Damage From Stroke
In rats, Alpha GPC countered the neural damage caused by stroke. Researchers noted that it countered nerve cell loss in the rats that suffered from hypertension.10Tomassoni D, et al. Effect of treatment with choline alphoscerate on hippocampus microanatomy and glial reaction in spontaneously hypertensive rats Brain Res. 2006
Alpha GPC For Amnesia
Experimental and clinical studies have documented that Alpha GPC is able to counter the amnesia induced by scopolamine. Scopolamine is an anticholinergic, meaning it stops the flow of ACh in the brain. This action causes memory loss.
Alpha GPC can counter this effect when it is administered, indicating how it can act as a neuroprotectant by its action on ACh.11Schettini G, et al. Molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, a new cognition-enhancing drug, on behavioral and biochemical parameters in young and aged rats Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1992
Alpha GPC For Traumatic Brain Injuries
It seems that Alpha GPC can even potentially treat traumatic brain injuries.
One study looked at patients who had received serious concussions.
After three months of supplementing with Alpha GPC, 96% of the participants saw significant improvement in cognitive functioning.12Mandat T, et al. Preliminary evaluation of risk and effectiveness of early choline alphoscerate treatment in craniocerebral injury Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2003
Alpha GPC For Parkinson’s Disease
One study looked at the combination of Alpha GPC and piracetam (a common nootropic stack) on patients with Parkinson’s.
Researchers noted that patients with Parkinson’s Disease who were prescribed Alpha GPC in addition to piracetam experienced greater general cognitive status and quality of life than in those just given piracetam.13Levin OS, Batukaeva LA, Anikina MA, Iunishchenko NA. Efficacy and tolerability of choline alphoscerate (cereton) in patients with Parkinson’s disease with cognitive disorders Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2009
Alpha GPC and Alzheimer’s/Dementia
Alpha GPC seems to be a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s.
There are multiple human studies that implicate choline and acetylcholine dysfunction in this disease.
It appears that by modulating ACh levels, Alpha GPC can treat and even partially reverse some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.14De Jesus Moreno Moreno M. Cognitive improvement in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia after treatment with the acetylcholine precursor choline alfoscerate: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial Clin Ther. 2003 15Parnetti L, et al. Cholinergic precursors in the treatment of cognitive impairment of vascular origin: ineffective approaches or need for re-evaluation J Neurol Sci. 2007 16Court JA, Perry EK. Neurotransmitter abnormalities in vascular dementia Int Psychogeriatr. 2003 17Sigala S, et al. L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine antagonizes scopolamine-induced amnesia and enhances hippocampal cholinergic transmission in the rat Eur J Pharmacol. 1992
Is Alpha GPC A Growth Hormone?
Alzheimer’s is also related to growth hormone decline. Alpha GPC can raise levels of growth hormone through its modulation of ACh.
So, it seems that this compound can treat Alzheimer’s through this pathway as well, providing multiple benefits.18Kawamura T, et al. Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults Nutrition. 2012 19Ceda GP, et al. alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to GHRH of young and elderly subjects Horm Metab Res. 1992 20Giusti M, et al. Effect of cholinergic tone on growth hormone-releasing hormone-induced secretion of growth hormone in normal aging Aging (Milano). 1992
Alpha GPC and Memory
Alpha GPC is not only useful for preventing cognitive decline or warding off diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The same mechanism that makes Alpha GPC useful as a neuroprotectant that fights Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can also improve memory in healthy people.
In one study, young volunteers were given either Alpha GPC or a placebo. Then researchers induced temporary amnesia by injecting them with scopolamine, an acetylcholine inhibitor. The volunteers that had taken the Alpha GPC scored significantly better on memory tasks than the control group.21Canal N, et al. Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1991
This result is not surprising, considering how important acetylcholine is for memory encoding.
There are also plenty of anecdotal reports of Alpha GPC improving recall. Some users report that this benefit starts kicking in after only a couple of weeks of supplementation.
Physical Performance Benefits Of Alpha GPC
While Alpha GPC has a reputation as a powerful nootropic supplement, it can also improve athletic performance and aid in recovery and muscle building after exercise.22Tim Ziegenfuss, Jamie Landis, Jennifer Hofheins. Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2008
Two separate studies found that Alpha GPC can increase explosive force production after supplementing for one week.
One study also noted an increase in “psychomotor vigilance,” meaning mind-body coordination. Interestingly, these studies only saw an improvement in lower body force, not in the upper body.
Still, both concluded that this supplement could be useful for strength and power athletes.23Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B. The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 24Marcus L, et al. Evaluation of the effects of two doses of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on physical and psychomotor performance J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017
Alpha GPC For Bodybuilding
As we mentioned, one of Alpha GPC’s major benefits include stimulating the production of growth hormone, which is vital for building new muscle.
There is also evidence that it can help burn fat as well.25Kawamura T, et al. Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults Nutrition. 2012
For these reasons, many bodybuilders have added this supplement to their routine. If you live an active lifestyle, Alpha GPC could pull double duty for both mental and physical enhancement.
Alpha GPC For Studying
Alpha GPC could be a very useful study aid for many people due to its wide range of cognitive enhancements. One of the most classic and reliable nootropic stacks is Alpha GPC with a racetam (such as aniracetam or oxiracetam)
This combo is great for focus, attention, memory, and overall mental performance. We highly recommend looking into this stack if you are a student.
Does Alpha GPC Help With Depression?
So far there have not been any studies looking at this specifically.
Generally, depression is thought to affect neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
There is some preliminary evidence that Alpha GPC can increase dopamine levels, but this mechanism is not well understood.26Trabucchi M, Govoni S, Battaini F. Changes in the interaction between CNS cholinergic and dopaminergic neurons induced by L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, a cholinomimetic drug Farmaco Sci. 1986
Some users report that Alpha GPC can increase mood.
It may be the case that by improving brain function holistically, this nootropic could have a use for treating depression.
Since it affects ACh levels, Alpha GPC has a general effect on most mental processes.
However, more research is needed before we can draw any firm conclusions.
Is Alpha GPC Useful For ADHD?
There is no evidence that Alpha GPC can treat ADHD specifically. However, it does have cognitive benefits for memory that might have a secondary benefit for people with this condition.
It may be useful when stacked with other nootropics that are known to improve ADHD symptoms, such as NALT or l-tyrosine.
How Alpha-GPC Works In The Brain
Alpha GPC is a highly bioavailable form of choline. Research shows that when it is ingested, it is quickly broken down into choline by the gut.27Traini E, Bramanti V, Amenta F. Choline alphoscerate (alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline) an old choline- containing phospholipid with a still interesting profile as cognition enhancing agent Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013
Blood concentrations of choline increase rapidly, and this spike helps it cross over into the brain. A dose of this nootropic can have effects for up to 30 hours.28Amenta F, Parnetti L, Gallai V, Wallin A. Treatment of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease with cholinergic precursors. Ineffective treatments or inappropriate approaches? Mech Ageing Dev. 2001 29Abbiati G, et al. High-performance liquid chromatographic assay of L-alpha-glycerophosphorylcholine using a two-step enzymic conversion J Chromatogr. 1991 30Abbiati G, et al. Absorption, tissue distribution and excretion of radiolabelled compounds in rats after administration of [14C]-L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1993
Once Alpha GPC crosses the blood-brain barrier, it affects cognition through a few different pathways.
Alpha GPC is an acetylcholine (ACh) precursor.
ACh is one of the most pervasive chemical messengers in your brain. By increasing levels of ACh, you can increase the overall transmission of information throughout your brain. This affects most cognitive functions, from memory to mood, to decision making, to executive processing.
Alpha GPC and Phosphatidylcholine
Alpha GPC is also a precursor to a compound called Phosphatidylcholine (PC).
This is a phospholipid that makes up a significant proportion of your brain cells. PC is vital for maintaining and growing neurons.
Taking Alpha GPC means your body has enough choline circulating to build and repair cell walls with PC.
If your PC levels are too low, this can eventually lead to cognitive problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Alpha GPC and Your Nervous System
ACh isn’t just used by the brain, but by the whole nervous system which is why it may also help athletic performance.
Research shows it may increase output during resistance training and help recovery afterward. Higher levels of ACh also may increase growth hormone secretion, which can help with muscle growth.31Kawamura T, et al. Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults Nutrition. 2012 32Tim Ziegenfuss, Jamie Landis & Jennifer Hofheins. Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2008
How Much Alpha-GPC Should I Take?
The recommended dose for most people is 400 mg three times a day.
When To Take Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC can be taken any time, although for some people it can have a mild stimulatory effect so it might be best to avoid it before bedtime. Most people take it in divided doses 2-3 times a day.
Can You Take Alpha GPC Every Day?
Alpha GPC is safe and non-toxic, and most people tolerate it well. You can most likely take it every day, but as with all nootropic supplements, we recommend cycling it.
This means sticking to a schedule where you take it on weekdays and not on the weekends or take a whole week off every couple of months. It’s important to listen to your body and discontinue any supplement you think may be causing issues.
Alpha-GPC Potential Side Effects
There are very few adverse reactions reported when taken 400mg 3x/day. Most clinical trials report that this nootropic has a very low side-effect profile.
However, some people report these Alpha-GPC Side effects:
- Low mood
- Gastrointestinal issues
These are relatively rare, but discontinue use if you think it is cause problems for you.
There are no known drug interactions.
Alpha GPC Reddit Reviews
[su_quote cite=”u/Robtobin1″ url=”https://amp.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/5jd3zr/alpha_gpc_caught_me_by_surprise/”]Alpha gpc is underrated imo when ppl say its optional to dose it alongside racetams for headache prevention. On its own it can really improve my workouts and motivation outside the gym. Alpha gpc and uridine are my fav mood enhancers. Dont even need tianeptine wheb i consistently take the mrhappystackk
Alpha GPC Amazon Reviews
[su_quote cite=”Volbriecht Ortrun Solvein” url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/reviews/B00XWQSD7G/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&pageNumber=1″]I find Alpha GPC Choline to be absolutely amazing both my wife and myself use it daily. We started using it in small doses and the improvement in focus and memory is clear. We then up our doses to eight caps a day and well that did not disappoint it just improved even more. [/su_quote][su_quote cite=”Thomas Croyle” url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/reviews/B00XWQSD7G/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&pageNumber=1″]Previous to taking Alpha GPC, I was becoming very forgetful, and I felt that my strength was fading. After taking the supplement for several weeks, I noticed my cognitive function improving, and my strength improved as well. I am very pleased with this supplement.
Where to buy Alpha-GPC
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for Alpha GPC.
- Make sure you buy from a reputable source. There are many fly-by-night companies selling subpar alpha GPC, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase.
- Second, pay attention to the quality of the product. Look for products that are made with pure, high-quality alpha GPC.
- Third, be sure to check the dosage. Some products can be surprisingly low in alpha GPC, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good value for your money.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure about something, simply ask the company for more information.
By following these guidelines, you can be sure you’re getting the best possible alpha GPC for your needs.
Below is a shortlist of our favorite Alpha-GPC products. For a full analysis, check out our full article The 7 Best Alpha GPC Supplements On The Market.
Do you have questions about, supplementing with Alpha-GPC? Do you have experience supplementing with Alpha-GPC? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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