Alpha-GPC: What is Alpha GPC?
Alpha GPC: What is Alpha GPC?
Alpha-GPC is known by various chemical names, including “L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine” It is described as a form of choline, a naturally-occurring chemical in human cells and in other substances (Richards 2013).
It is said to be a nootropic substance, meaning that it affects the mind, in the specific sense that it enhances mental performance, and can affect the memory function (“What is the Definition of a Nootropic Substance?” 2013-14).
How does Alpha GPC work?
It is claimed that it increases mental capabilities, including memory and has cognitive benefits, too, by contributing to the process of forming acetylcholine neurotransmitters – crucial elements in the functionality of both memory and cognition. As well as assisting in the forming of new brain cells, it is said to help maintain plasticity of the human brain. Those two functions are described as being important in preventing the effects of brain aging. It is further claimed that the use of this drug is supported by numerous clinical trials and that Alpha GPC is safe and effective for young people as well as the elderly (Richards 2013).
The above description of the mechanism of operation of Alpha GPC is echoed in a Web MD article, which states that it “seems to increase a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. This brain chemical is important for memory and learning functions” (“How does Alpha-GPC work?” 2014).
Alpha GPC Dosage and suggested usage
For dementia patients, clinical trials indicated that four doses daily of 300mg (1200mg per day total) was administered to “relieve cognitive decline.” Furthermore, the article states that the same dosage given to otherwise healthy younger people provided the capability to “prevent scopolamine-related amnesia.” In addition, the article claims that a dose of 600mg before exercising improved both power output and the release of growth hormone. The article also suggests that a good starting point if Alpha GPC is taken for nootropic reasons is a 300mg dose taken once or twice daily (“Dosing Alpha GPC” 2014).
Short term and long term effects
Sahelian (2014) reviews Alpha GPC, having used it (briefly) himself and undertaken research into its use. With regard to his personal experience, he found that a few hours after taking three 300mg capsules he felt more alert and mildly relaxed. Sahelian comments that even if short-term benefits are not detectable, that does not preclude the existence of benefits in the longer-term. Research cited by Sahelian included a 1994 study of 2044 patients recovering from strokes. The findings were that there was a definite positive effect on cognitive recovery when Alpha GPC was administered over a six-month period following the stroke. The daily dosage was 1000mg for the first 28 days then three doses of 400mg each day for the following five months (Sahelian 2014).
Another article reports that the findings of what it calls a “large meta-analysis” of over 1500 Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in 10 clinical studies indicated significant improvements in cognitive abilities, as determined by “mini mental state examination (MMSE) and Sandoz clinical assessment geriatric scale (SGAG)” (“Alpha GPC effects” 2014).
Alpha-GPC Side effects
Referring to the 1994 study cited by Sahelian earlier, of the 2044 patients treated with Alpha GPC, only 44 (two percent) experienced adverse symptoms, which included nausea, heartburn, vomiting or insomnia. That low percentage implies high tolerability to Alpha GPC (Sahelian 2014).
Similar possible side effects are reported by Wilson (2013), although his overall view is that if the user follows recommended guidance and maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, Alpha GPC can be used “safely and effectively” (Wilson 2013).
Additional information about Alpha GPC
Alpha-GPC is a Choline supplement found naturally in the brain as well as milk. Alpha-GPC is a Parasympathomimetic drug, which stimulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) by stimulating the Acetylcholine receptors used by the PSNS. Alpha-GPC is derived through highly purified soy lecithin.
Alpha-GPC is a source of Acetylecholine and a fat-soluble nootropic of the Choline chemical class. This choline source is widely used to help and to treat Alzheimer’s, to help in the recovery of victims of a Stroke, improve the memory and overall mood of people suffering from Dementia. Furthermore, Alpha-GPC has been found to be ergogenic and nootropic as it aids with psychomotor, cognitive and muscle functions.
Alpha-GPC was shown to improve the performance of animals in both active and passive conditioning tests in both youthful and senior animals. 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 Sep;43(1):139-51
One study showed that Alpha-GPC may share a common mechanism with both Oxiracetam and Aniracetam in cognition stimulation through the modulation of the protein Kinase C activity in both the Cerebral Cortex and the Hippocampus. Cognition stimulating drugs modulates protein kinase C activity in cerebral cortex and hippocampus of adult rats. Life Sci. 1993;53(24):1821-32.
Another study showed when Alpha-GPC is administered 90 minutes before a resistance exercise it causes an increase in post-exercise serum growth hormone and peak bench force. The study also showed that Alpha-GPC increases power output acutely when taken 45 minutes prior to working out. Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments the growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise 2008 Ziegenfuss et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
The recommended Alpha-GPC dosage ranges from 300 to 600 mg. Take Alpha-GPC with food at lunch, and again with dinner. Dosing varies due to a variety of reasons such as Age, health and other various reasons.
Does Alpha-GPC Work?
A naturally-occurring phospholipid precursor and metabolite, Alpha-GPC is derived from soy lecithin. Alpha-GPC has been shown to aid to potentiate the effects of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) as well as increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) secretion in both elderly and young individuals plus patients with Senile Dementia, Alzheimer’s. Alpha-GPC has also been shown to affect various biochemical and neurotransmitter systems, which have been implicated in the development of Age-related Memory Dysfunction. Alpha-GPC has furthermore been shown to reduce the time required in recovery in comatose patients suffering from sustaining a head injury and to improve the overall memory, attention, and performance in healthy individuals. During recent clinical trials, researchers have found Alpha-GPC to cause an increase in acetylcholine and may be considered an ergogenic aid.
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017; 14: 46. Published online 2017 Nov 28
There are still many variables though that have to be looked at with improving cognitive abilities with Alpha-GPC. As a result, it is very hard to determine just how effective Alpha-GPC would be for a specific person. It all comes down to their own needs and current cognitive ability as well as lifestyle choices when determining the effectiveness of Alpha-GPC.