Last updated: April 4, 2017
For memory formation and learning, one of the most important brain chemicals is called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is derived from a precursor called choline and alpha GPC is among the top sources of this essential nutrient. Unless you’re willing to eat liver and other organs, an alpha GPC supplement might be useful for your brain.
The primary benefit and purpose of alpha GPC is as a prodrug for choline, which it is considered one of the (if not the) most efficient supplement for this purpose . By providing your brain with more raw choline, it can convert that into acetylcholine and this contributes to a host of downstream effects.
Namely, alpha GPC contributes to improved memory formation and learning. Acetylcholine is utilized by the hippocampus to create memories. It is also a powerful tool against cognitive decline and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease .
Luckily, alpha GPC side effects are few, rare, and mostly positive. Studies suggest one side effect of alpha GPC is increased power output , which shows the supplement can improve physical strength and vitality as well as mental characteristics.
Also Known As
Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, L-alpha-glycerophosphocholin, glycerophosphocholine, L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine, Choline Alphoscerate
Editors’ Thoughts on Alpha GPC
If you are taking a racetam you do not automatically need a choline source, but many people do. I know alpha GPC has been effective for me to improve memory beyond that of racetams alone and it decreases the pressure (and thus headaches) that come if I take higher doses of racetams without choline support.
I recommend anyone who is going to use or find a choline source to use alpha GPC or at citicoline at the very least. Any other type of choline source is dubious at best and wasteful at worst.
Also, alpha GPC (or choline in general) might be a good supplement to try if you are skittish about the synthetic drugs and other products on the market. Most people are just deficient in the choline nutrient, which makes them automatically perk up when they have access to something like alpha GPC.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Alpha GPC
As mentioned, the primary benefit of alpha GPC is as a prodrug for choline, which is used by the brain for a chemical called acetylcholine. This leads to many downstream effects including a reduction in cognitive decline, which is seen in both the elderly and healthy adults alike . The scientific evidence showing improved cognition in adults is not conclusive, but this is due to a lack of knowledge and understanding rather than anything else.
Elderly people who are aging often have cognitive decline that leads to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory loss. Alpha GPC has been repeatedly proven to prevent age related cognitive decline and add value to those who use the nootropic.
Another study (and much anecdotal evidence) suggests that alpha GPC can actually be an effective attention / focus enhancer as well . This single study does not lend complete credibility to the argument, but it is among the benefits of alpha GPC that many users tout online.
Finally, there are studies regarding stimulation that show alpha GPC can improve power output and physical strength as well. One such study reported 14% power output improvement in users who took it 45 minutes before their activity .
How Does Alpha GPC Work?
In scientific terms, the question “how does alpha GPC work?” is called the “mechanism of action”. The alpha GPC supplement enhances cognitive function in healthy adults by converting phosphorylcholine and ultimately into choline and acetylcholine. From this increased acetylcholine synthesis, the benefits above are manifested.
Alpha GPC is contained in many foods, such as oats, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. The only problem is that the dosages are quite small, which is why supplementation can help alpha GPC work even better.
Alpha-GPC and Racetams
Because alpha-GPC is such an efficient source of choline, it is often used in conjunction with racetams. Not everyone needs a choline source with racetams, but it can be helpful for some. Nootropics like piracetam and aniracetam increase acetylcholine uptake and utilization in certain regions of the brain.
The more choline we provide, the better these racetams can do their job. For genetic and dietary reasons, some people need this more than others. If you are considering using a racetam, alpha-GPC might be an effective stack.
Alpha GPC Dosage
Alpha GPC is notoriously unstable in supplement form, which means the approximate choline by weight is only 40%. You might find 1000 mg of alpha GPC only confers 400 mg of choline as raw materials. However, this is common among all choline supplements.
Most doses begin with 300 – 600 mg of this nootropic, but elderly people trying to avoid cognitive decline and dementia might increase this dosage to 1200 mg (divided into 3 x 400 mg doses). The alpha GPC dosage at the higher ranges is felt anecdotally as stimulation as well.
To ensure you have the right alpha GPC dosage for your unique biochemistry, it may be worthwhile to start with a low dose and work your way up. Some people experience the alpha gpc side effects (explained below) only when taking too high of a dose.
Alpha GPC Side Effects
Despite being a natural source of the nutrient choline, supplementing in concentrated form can cause alpha GPC side effects. One of the common alpha gpc side effects is a headache or dizziness, which is often from producing too much choline in the brain. Some people, such as popular “biohacker” Dave Asprey, mention that they are high in choline and thus get headaches when dosing more.
Other side effects of alpha GPC include things like confusion, erythema, and insomnia (from the stimulation). However, despite the possibilities of side effects, there is evidence that this nootropic is well tolerated at high doses. The LD50 (a measurement used to see what dosage kills 50% of a population) shows a dose of 10k mg / kg (equivalent of 6800 grams for 150 lb person) for rats .
A more sensible study showed “no observed adverse effect level” with a dosage the equivalent of 1636 mg in a 150 lb person .
How and Where to Buy Alpha GPC
There are no legal restrictions on this nootropic, which means you can find it in a local grocery store, supplement shop, or online vendors. For peace of mind and your own research, you might find it better to buy alpha GPC online through a trusted vendor. More importantly, you can access all the different products on the internet in order to perform research and find what is best for you.
Many people who purchase alpha GPC do so in order to pair with racetams. Often, people try using alpha GPC and piracetam or other drugs in this family and usually you can find a retailer with both to sell at once.
One thing to consider is that alpha GPC is a very unstable compound. You may want to avoid alpha GPC bulk powder and instead opt for alpha GPC capsules. These will stay much longer and they will not be chemically altered by humidity and moisture in the air. We recommend you get Pure Nootropics alpha GPC because of their reliability and third party testing.
Selected Community Experiences
“I notice that CDP gives me more depressive feelings than an equal amount of GPC, but other than that they “feel” pretty much the same.”  – MisterYouAreSoDumb
“…for me Alpha-GPC has some of the most noticeable effects of any nootropic that I’ve tried. It’s like charisma in pill form. After taking 300-600mg, it seems like I have the ability and the desire to talk about anything and everything. I put more inflection and energy into my speaking, and also speak with greater volume. I never got this effect from any other nootropic, and I’ve tried many racetams.”  – trevoris
“Alpha-GPC breaks down very fast, unless it is stabilized, and sealed from oxidation. We had 5kg of 100% liquid alpha GPC go bad.” - MisterYouAreSoDumb
Alpha GPC Reviews
The above alpha GPC reviews can be helpful for healthy adults to better understand what his nootropic substance can provide. There is some evidence on healthy adults, but much of the data focuses on elderly individuals with memory loss, dementia, and other cognitive impairment.
Any alpha GPC reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, but can nonetheless be effective for making decisions. Even though alpha-GPC is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe), the experiences of others can show you what to avoid and expect from the supplement.
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