Alpha GPC Vs Citicoline | Comparing The 2 Most Powerful Cholines

Key Takeaways:

Alpha-GPC and Citicoline are the 2 most potent forms of supplemental nootropic choline on the market today.

Both forms of choline easily cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver potent cognitive enhancing benefits.

Choline is a potent nootropic for learning, memory, focus, and neuroprotection.

Many nootropic stacks like Mind Lab Pro, Qualia Mind, and Alpha Brain contain either Alpha-GPC or Citicoline.

Alpha GPC Vs Citicoline | Comparing The 2 Most Powerful Cholines

Choline is a potent nutrient for your brain.

It’s the precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that powers many essential neurological functions.

While choline is easily found in different foods, many people experience choline deficiencies and thus, must supplement.

Alpha GPC and CDP Choline citicoline are the two most effective choline sources you can supplement.

The question is, which one is best for you?

The following article compares alpha gpc vs citicoline and highlights the differences between each choline type along with the best sources of each.

What Is Alpha GPC

Alpha-glycerophosphocholine is a nutritional supplement used to enhance cognition.

The compound is given as a prescription drug in some areas (such as Europe) but is mainly used as dietary supplements.

Alpha-GPC is known for curing reduced brain blood flow in vascular dementia patients.

It is also beneficial for patients with cerebrovascular diseases (Alzheimer’s disease) and brain injury patients (stroke patients). Research demonstrates Alpha-GPC’s ability to slow disease progression (Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases) and preventing overall cognitive decline.1Philip A. DeFina et al, Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical and Research Update for Health Care PractitionersJournal of Aging Research, vol. 2013

These dietary supplements are also frequently used by athletes for enhanced memory and increased brain output.

What Is CDP Choline (Cytidine Diphosphate Choline)

More commonly known as citicoline, CDP choline (Cytidine Diphosphate Choline) is a nootropic supplement, and like all nootropic supplements, it enhances brain function and rejuvenates the brain cells.

CDP choline’s mechanisms of action are diverse and is recommended as an ideal supplement for brain health.

It is typically given to patients on professional medical advice to help correct memory loss due to aging and prevent cognitive decline.

It is also used to treat Parkinson’s disease and bipolar disorder.

Oral citicoline can pass the blood-brain barrier and impact the central nervous system as it leads to elevated plasma levels of choline and uridine. 2Richard JWurtman et al, Effect of oral CDP-choline on plasma choline and uridine levels in humansBiochemical Pharmacology. 2000

Other Forms of Choline

In addition to alpha-GPC and CDP choline, you can attain choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine and choline bitartrate.

Phosphatidylcholine is present in several natural products such as soybean, eggs, etc.

According to clinical trials, the natural compound phosphatidylcholine is potent in reducing cognitive impairment.3Wen Tan et al, Phosphatidylcholine Ameliorates LPS-Induced Systemic Inflammation and Cognitive Impairments via Mediating the Gut–Brain Axis BalanceJ. Agric. Food Chem. 2020

It works by mediating the gut-brain axis in the brain that regulates brain health.

Choline bitartrate is absorbed in the body but not as effective as natural choline from egg yolk.4Lotte Smolders et al, Natural Choline from Egg Yolk Phospholipids Is More Efficiently Absorbed Compared with Choline Bitartrate; Outcomes of A Randomized Trial in Healthy AdultsNutrients 2019

The naturally occurring compound choline can be absorbed through the cell membranes.

Choline and Cognitive Function

There are numerous health benefits of choline consumption.

The most noticeable improvements lie in cognitive functions.

Choline-rich foods and supplementation can boost cognitive performance and, at the same time, reduce the rate of cognitive decline in patients and memory and cognitive function according to clinical trials.5Joyce C.McCann et al, An overview of evidence for a causal relationship between dietary availability of choline during development and cognitive function in offspringNeuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2006

Many clinical trials also suggest that choline supplementation can maintain cognitive performance. 6Thomas B Shea Choline and phosphatidylcholine may maintain cognitive performance by multiple mechanismsThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2019

There are multiple mechanisms through which choline alters cognitive performance in adults.

In addition to improving cognitive abilities, individuals consuming choline for cognition have reported increased brain energy.

Loss of cholinergic neurons and cholinergic neurotransmitter acetylcholine is common in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Age-related cognitive decline, altered mental performance, and neurodegenerative diseases can be improved by dietary choline.

According to a cohort study, dietary choline imparts cognitive enhancement by altering different neurophysical factors, including verbal memory performance, visual memory, verbal learning, and executive function.7Coreyann Poly et al, The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring CohortThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011

Chronic supplementation with choline reduces oxidative stress, enhances cholinergic transmission, and increases monoamine levels (brain biogenic monoamines induced cognition) in the brain. This results in subtle improvements in cognition.8SaiqaTabassum et al, Chronic choline supplementation improves cognitive and motor performance via modulating oxidative and neurochemical status in ratsPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2017

Choline and Focus

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is essential for mental energy and focus.

Scientific research provides evidence that choline (in the form of CDP choline) effectively improves neural functioning and all-around cognitive enhancement.9Emma Derbyshire andRima Obeid, Choline, Neurological Development and Brain Function: A Systematic Review Focusing on the First 1000 DaysNutrients 2020

The improvements in neural functioning allow better focus and concentration.

Choline supplementation in pregnant women can lead to better neurodevelopment of the fetus, which makes the child more focused.

Supplementation with vitamin B complex and choline significantly improves memory and attention-holding capacity.10ScienceDaily, Vitamin B: Choline intake improves memory and attention-holding capacity, experts sayScienceDaily, 2013

Thus, individuals taking choline in whatever form can see noticeable improvements in attention, focus, and learning.

Alpha-GPC consumption increases mental alertness, making individuals focused and concentrated on their work.

Animal studies have revealed that attentional performance is linked to acetylcholine levels in the brain cortex.11Martin Sarter and Vinay Parikh, Choline transporters, cholinergic transmission and cognitionNature Reviews Neuroscience. 2005

Thus, the cholinergic system plays an essential role in attention, cognition, and focus.

Choline and Memory and Learning

Choline supplementation is a beneficial addition to the diet regarding learning and memory performance.

As per a clinical review, choline intake can attenuate learning deficits leading to improved learning and memory.12S. HunterRyanJennifer K.WilliamsJennifer D.Thomas, Choline supplementation attenuates learning deficits associated with neonatal alcohol exposure in the rat: Effects of varying the timing of choline administrationBrain Research. 2008

CDP choline has been included in the list of potent nootropic supplements.

Amongst different nootropic drugs CDP choline (oral citicoline) has memory-enhancing effects similar to piracetam and meclofenoxate.13Petkov VD et al, Effect of CDP-choline on learning and memory processes in rodents.Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology.1992

Alpha-GPC and citicoline are given as dietary supplements to youngsters of school-going age.

As per a pharmacological and clinical review, individuals given early dietary intervention (choline supplements) perform better at learning tasks.14Jennifer DThomas et al, Neonatal choline supplementation ameliorates the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on a discrimination learning task in ratsNeurotoxicology and Teratology. 2000

Supplementation also enhances the performance of discrimination tasks in children.

Young students can increase their memory and learning capabilities by taking choline supplements, demonstrating its role as an essential nutrient.

Prenatal choline (choline in the mother’s diet) plays a significant role in the child’s memory development.15Steven H Zeisel, Choline: Needed for Normal Development of Memory Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2000

Patients with status epilepticus are often faced with the problem of memory deficits.

Choline supplementation can even reduce the memory impairment associated with seizures (of status epilepticus).16Gregory LHolmes et al, Seizure-induced memory impairment is reduced by choline supplementation before or after status epilepticusEpilepsy Research. 2002

It not only improves the ability to form memory but also positively affects other aspects of learning and retaining.

Choline improves memory consolidation in patients with scopolamine-induced memory impairment.

Memory reactivation in such patients with choline consumption is appreciable.17 M.G.Blake et al, Choline reverses scopolamine-induced memory impairment by improving memory reconsolidationNeurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2012

Choline and Brain Fog

Most modern-day nootropics contain handsome amounts of choline to reduce brain fog and increase brain energy.

Brain fog interferes with the patients’ thinking abilities and decreases their learning capacity.

Alpha-GPC has shown promising results in cutting down brain fog.

Oral CDP choline and alpha GPC improve cognition and enhance mental productivity by reducing cognitive impairment.

Choline and Neuroprotection

CDP choline is an integral component of the neuronal membranes of the brain.

Dietary CDP choline imparts a neuroprotective effect by preventing memory impairment.18Lisa A. Teather, and Richard J. Wurtman, Dietary CDP-choline supplementation prevents memory impairment caused by impoverished environmental conditions in ratsLearn. Mem. 2005

Natural acetylcholine undergoes degeneration as a result of cerebral ischemia. Thus, CDP choline can be used to treat chronic cerebrovascular diseases characterized by cerebral ischemia or ischemic stroke, etc.

Choline supplementation protects the brain from neuropathological changes (that take place in Alzheimer’s disease).19Jan Krzysztof Blusztajn, Neuroprotective Actions of Dietary CholineNutrients 2017

Brain repair by choline intake is also observed in some cases.

There is insufficient evidence that concludes that choline repairs neurons.

Choline positively alters the brain chemistry to keep it safe from neurodegeneration.

Studies show that CDP choline’s adrenergic and dopaminergic activity on the central nervous system makes it an ideal candidate as an adjuvant in treating Parkinson’s disease.20Mario Fioravanti Motokazu Yanagi, Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP‐choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderlyCochrane Library . 2005

Phosphatidylcholine-DHA intake significantly reduces the risk of neurodegeneration diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.21Rhonda P. Patrick, Role of phosphatidylcholine-DHA in preventing APOE4-associated Alzheimer’s diseaseThe FASEB Journal. 2018

Best Source Of Alpha GPC

If you are looking for a supplement that carries good amounts of Alpha GPC, then you can try the following products:

Qualia Mind

Qualia Mind Nootropic Stack

Neurohacker Qualia Mind is a complete nootropic supplement that enhances short-term and long-term brain performance.

Alpha-GPC in Qualia Mind ensures a power punch of choline to enhance memory, learning, and cognition.

Cognizin citicoline provides the extra choline to keep you mentally alert and strong.

The addition of vitamin B complex enhances the performance of alpha-GPC.

Alpha Brain

Alpha-GPC choline is the active ingredient of Alpha Brain.

The nootropic supplement supports memory and enhances focus in healthy individuals.

Onnit Alpha Brain is ideally designed to increase your focus and improve your mood.

Best Source of CDP Choline Citicoline

Mind Lab Pro

mind lab pro wet brain

Mind Lab Pro is a good choline source as one of the active ingredients in Mind Lab Pro is CDP choline (citicoline).

CDP choline helps in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, which is a major phospholipid in the brain cell membranes.

CDP choline and phosphatidylserine promote mood balance, concentration, and focus.

Thesis Nootropics

thesis nootropics

Thesis nootropics offer personalized supplement blends.

Supplement with high levels of CDP choline increases consumers’ clarity and mental energy.

The combination of CDP choline and vitamins provides superior effects on memory and brain health promotion.

You can also get thesis nootropics with alpha-GPC.

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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