What is Alpha-GPC?
Scientific Name: Alpha-glycerophosphocholine
Alpha-GPC is a natural choline compound found in the brain. In nature, this nootropic is found as a chemical released and extracted from the breakdown of a fatty acid in soy and other plants. It radically increases cholines by dissociating into choline and the phospholipid glycerophosphate after ingestion.
According to WebMD, in many European countries, Alpha-GPC is prescribed to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It is also used to treat various kinds of strokes, dementia, and TIA. In the US, Alpha-GPC is only sold as a dietary supplement, mostly as a nootropic promoting improved memory, skill learning, and creative thinking.
How does it work?
Acetylcholine is a brain chemical critical for memory and learning functions. Many researches suggest Alpha-GPC increases this chemical.
Alpha GPC on Dementia: Alpha-GPC has been shown to improve cognitive function in patients who have vascular dementia (commonly referred to simply as dementia). Subjects who were administered 1000 mg of alpha-GPC per day as a shot, saw improvement in symptoms of vascular dementia, including behavior, mood, and thinking skills. This trial was conducted using the prescription-only form of alpha-GPC (Delecit) that is not available in the US. However, it may be available for purchase in some European countries.
Alpha-GPC on Alzheimer’s: trials have shown significantly improved thinking skills in Alzheimer’s patients after 3 to 6 months of treatment with 1200 mg of alpha-GPC per day. Subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease saw improvement in symptoms as assessed by a multitude of rating scales, including ADAS, MMSE, CDI, and GDS.
Alpha-GPC on cognitive recovery following a recent stroke: 2044 Stroke and TIA (i.e., mini-stroke) patients who were administered alpha-GPC within 10 days after the stroke or TIA seem to recover better and faster. An Italian clinical trial showed that patients prescribed 1200 mg of alpha-GPC per day, in the form of a shot for 28 days, followed by 400 mg of alpha-GPC three times daily by mouth for 180 days, recover more thinking skills and are better able to function following a recent stroke.
Alpha-GPC on improving memory: Alpha-GPC appears to activate Protein Kinase C (PKC) in the hippocampus of rats following the standard supplemental dosages. PKC is an intracellular intermediate associated with memory formation. The potency of 600mg/kg Alpha-GPC in activating PKC is similar to 100mg/kg oxiracetam and 30mg/kg Aniracetam.
Most researches suggest that Alpha-GPC improves thinking skills and learning, prevents cognitive decline, and increases attention and memory.
Side Effects & Safety
Alpha-GPC should be perfectly safe if and when appropriately dosed. However, It could potentially cause side effects in some subjects, including heartburn, headache and confusion, sleeplessness, dizziness, and skin rash.
Possible Interactions & Necessary Warnings, According to WebMD: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of alpha-GPC during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use, according to WebMD.
Scopolamine (Transderm Scop) interacts with ALPHA-GPC.
Alpha-GPC increases a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Scopolamine blocks this same chemical. But it’s not known if alpha-GPC decreases the benefits of scopolamine.
The appropriate dosage of A-GPC depends on various factors, including the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. There is a lot of research on the way; in the meanwhile, however, there is not enough clinical evidence to determine an appropriate range of doses for alpha-GPC.
We should not forget that natural products, too, can have negative impacts if not used properly. Each product may also have a different level of purity, which changes the equation altogether. So make sure to follow the directions on product labels. It is always recommended that you consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professionals before use.
Generally, Alpha-GPC is approximately 40% choline by weight, and as such, 1,000 mg alpha-GPC confers about 400 mg of dietary choline.
A standard Alpha-GPC dosage is usually somewhere between 300-600 mg, according to the most common label doses. This dose is probably a rational dose for athletes. It is also in accordance with the study using Alpha-GPC to enhance power output (600 mg), and another trial noting an increase in growth hormone secretion.
“Rat studies suggest that the effects of alpha-GPC oral ingestion peak at 300-600 mg/kg, which is an estimated human dose of 48-96 mg/kg (and for a 150lb human, 3,272-6,545 mg daily)” according to Examine.
The majority of studies on alpha-GPC’s effects on symptoms of cognitive decline use a dosage of 1,200 mg per day, divided into three doses of 400 mg. The 1,200 mg seems to be repeatedly linked to benefit; however, it remains unclear if and how other dosages may be beneficial.