The world of nootropics has taken off over the last few years, and alpha GPC choline is hands-down one of the best nootropics on the market. We include alpha GPC in our Brain supplement because we love the mental boost it offers. Faster recall, better focus, and improved workouts in the gym – alpha GPC offers something for everyone.
You may also find benefits in stacking alpha GPC with other nootropics, to really help send your brain into overdrive. There are a variety of reasons why alpha GPC is important for your body and mind. There are also many interesting facts about this next level nootropic - which most consumers don’t know.
What Is Alpha GPC Choline?
Alpha GPC is not a traditional supplement, it’s part of a newer class of beneficial compounds, known as nootropics. Technically, alpha GPC is part of phospholipid metabolism. It’s a precursor to choline, which is a critical nutrient required to make acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter, and critical for our brain. Since choline is a critical element in our neuronal processes, it’s important to get as much of it as possible.
Alpha GPC contains a healthy amount of choline and aids in our brain’s internal processing power. Interestingly, alpha GPC is also found in foods, like dairy, red meat, wheat germ, and organ meats. However, in these foods, alpha GPC is not found in very high amounts. This is why it has become popular as a nutritional supplement.
If you have a background in chemistry, you will know that taking a precursor to another compound usually results in better outcomes than taking the compound itself. Of all the choline precursors, alpha GPC has been scientifically studied to be the most effective.
This is likely because it can cross the blood-brain barrier. It also helps in boosting circulating acetylcholine levels, inside the central nervous system.
Within the body, alpha GPC converts directly into choline, as well as glycerophosphate. This happens mainly within the brain, as well as inside the GI tract. Choline being a precursor to acetylcholine means that it turns into acetylcholine, inside the body.
Acetylcholine is critical for many different cognitive functions - like recall, memory formation, focus, concentration, and learning ability. So by consuming alpha GPC, you eventually end up with more acetylcholine. This, in turn, aids in your cognitive functioning.
Alpha GPC also converts into glycerophosphate. This, however, is less critical for neuronal functioning. This is because glycerophosphate does not aid in any cognitive processes.
However, glycerophosphate does help with bone strength, cell membrane health, and overall resilience. However, the main mechanism of action for better cognitive abilities from alpha GPC - comes from its biochemical conversion into choline.
Health Benefits Of Alpha GPC Choline
Prevent Memory Decline
As we’ve mentioned, alpha GPC has been scientifically studied to improve cognitive functioning. Since alpha GPC directly raises choline levels, it helps with neural plasticity, as well as acetylcholinesterase inhibition.
One of the more interesting aspects of the research behind alpha GPC is its ability in aiding elderly citizens with memory decline. It should be noted that these studies employed higher doses of alpha GPC (typically dosages of over 1,000 mg). The studies also noted that alpha GPC was more effective than choline and CDP-choline, which is interesting.
Promote A Healthy State of Mind
Alpha GPC also helps to provide energy for fatty acid metabolism. Interestingly, another benefit of alpha GPC is that it may increase serotonin and dopamine levels. This is likely due to its monoaminergic profile.
Thus, alpha GPC may have a positive effect on mood - and thus - mood disorders. One scientific study even showed that supplementing with alpha GPC raised dopamine levels in the frontal cortex and cerebellum. These are critical areas of the brain. As you can tell - supplementing with alpha GPC helps your brain perform better, recall quicker, and fire faster.
Boosts Growth Hormone Levels
Another noteworthy benefit of alpha GPC is a boost in human growth hormone (HGH), which leads to better cellular repair, cellular reproduction, and better overall cell growth.
Multiple scientific studies have shown increases in growth hormone secretion with alpha GPC supplementation. One study even showed improvements after just six days of taking alpha GPC.
Other studies showed benefits of athletic performance, from just a single dose of alpha GPC. Since this supplement also boosts cognitive functioning, taking it as we grow older, provides benefits in both the physical and mental realms.
Why Is Choline Important?
Choline is critical for many different functions in your body. Since the main goal of taking alpha GPC is to increase your choline levels, it’s important to understand why choline is so crucially integral to our brain.
The first thing to understand is that without choline, your brain won’t really function. Choline plays a vital role in communication between neurotransmitters, as well as building the cellular membrane.
Getting enough choline is also critical for preventing cardiovascular disease, as it helps to protect the heart. Equally important, are the benefits choline offers to your brain. It provides protection from plaque buildup, as well as an increase in cellular firing.
Think of choline as a necessary element to good mental health. Even more critically, choline is linked directly to improved mood and a lowered risk of developing depression.
Interestingly, your body also makes choline, though not nearly enough, without other outside sources. A choline deficiency is very bad news. Many problems will crop up if you’re not getting enough in your daily diet. Choline is a part of DNA synthesis, as well as a healthy central nervous system. Choline is also critical for avoiding the buildup of fat and cholesterol inside the liver.
In fact, without enough choline, liver issues are likely to develop. Muscle damage can also occur, and the symptoms will persist until enough choline is put back into the diet. If you’re pregnant, choline is even more important.
Without it, there is a much greater likelihood of birth defects – specifically neural tube defects. You can also experience other birth issues like a low birth weight or premature birth without taking in enough choline during pregnancy.
What Source Of Choline Is Best?
There are a variety of supplements that claim to boost choline. Two of the more popular choices are phosphatidylcholine and soy lecithin. However, there is actually a very low concentration (less than 15%) of choline in these supplements.
Even worse, these supplements do not cross the blood-brain barrier. This means they don’t easily get into your brain, leaving them even less effective than that 15% would indicate.
As mentioned earlier, choline is found in food but not in large quantities. Some of the best sources include beef liver, wheat germ, eggs, scallops, salmon, chicken, cod, shrimp, brussels sprouts, broccoli, milk, and peanuts.
However, even if you were to be dedicated, eating tons of wheat germ, beef liver, and eggs would not be ideal. Supplemental alpha GPC has been shown to be far more effective for nootropic benefits, and is also what we recommended, for maximum effectiveness.
What Other Types Of Choline Are There?
Alpha GPC is only one of the precursory forms of choline. In fact, alpha GPC is essentially a highly concentrated form of soy lecithin, which is itself sold as a choline supplement. The two other forms that are commonly seen are centrophenoxine and citicoline.
Scientific studies indicate that alpha GPC is still the best form of choline precursor. This is due to the unique way in which alpha GPC enters the brain. It is also more concentrated than other forms of choline precursors.
Another advantage of alpha GPC is that it costs far less per dose, than other choline precursors. The recommended daily dose of alpha GPC is between 200 and 500 mg. Other choline precursors may require two or three times this amount just to be equally effective.
How Should I Take Alpha GPC Choline?
Since alpha GPC doesn’t have any taste and remains stable at room temperature, it’s very easy to take. Most supplement stores sell alpha GPC, and it is a safe supplement to take, with no legal restrictions.
The reason we recommend our Brain product is that it offers the perfect dose of alpha GPC - along with many other brain-boosting ingredients. Conversely, soy and soy lecithin are not great sources of choline, as they may cause inflammation.
What Is The Ideal Dosage Of Alpha GPC Choline?
For mental and cognitive enhancement, the recommended dosage of alpha GPC is usually around 500 mg. However, it should be noted that if you are looking to ease the symptoms of cognitive decline, scientific studies typically use over 1,000 mg daily. Specifically, the most common dosage used in these types of studies is 1,200 mg.
Potential Side Effects Of Alpha GPC Choline
There are few (if any) reported side effects for most users of alpha GPC. However, in a few select people, there can be side effects of insomnia, dizziness, rash, confusion, headache, and heartburn.
However, rarely, if ever were these side effects reported in users consuming the recommended dosages of alpha GPC. Essentially, if you keep within the recommended dosage, you will likely experience no problems. If you're pregnant, however, you should not be taking any supplements that aren’t first cleared with your doctor.
Should I Stack Alpha GPC With Other Nootropics?
There is a huge subculture of stacking nootropics -- in simple terms, this means taking two or more nootropics at once, to get even better results. There are a variety of combinations that people tout as beneficial when stacked with alpha GPC.
Aniracetam is one of the most popular options. Aniracetam is from the racetam family and has purported benefits for cognition, memory, and concentration. Stacking this with alpha GPC reportedly delivers great outcomes. It should be noted, however, that much of these benefits are reported anecdotally, meaning there isn’t a large body of scientific research to back the claims.
Another popular nootropic to stack with alpha GPC, is Noopept. This synthetic nootropic works within minutes, rather than having to build up within the brain for days or weeks. Essentially, Noopept works by speeding up the brain – think of it as similar to caffeine. It does this by raising the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is essentially rocket fuel for your brain, in that it actually promotes the growth of brain cells themselves.
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Besides Noopept, another popular nootropic to stack with alpha GPC is piracetam. There are lots of anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness, but there is only a small amount of scientific research available on the topic.
Piracetam is derived from GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps calm your central nervous system. The main benefits users report from piracetam is faster thinking, improved mental clarity, and a reduction in dyslexia symptoms. Scientists are not 100% sure how piracetam works, but it continues to be investigated.
One of the best benefits of stacking alpha GPC choline with other nootropics is the reduction of the side effects of racetam supplements. One commonly reported side effect of taking racetams, is headaches. When stacked with alpha GPC, there is a large reduction of these headaches. They are essentially canceled out via the large delivery of choline to the brain.
You can also pair alpha GPC with other performance enhancers, like citrulline. Citrulline helps to increase blood flow, as well as boosting exercise results. Scientific studies have shown that citrulline also helps to lower blood pressure, as well as boosting growth hormone after exercise.