Summary

Alpha GPC is the common name for L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, a cholinergic nootropic that occurs naturally but can also be taken as a supplement.

Alpha GPC is best known for quickly and reliably delivering choline to the brain for the creation of the cognition-boosting neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

It has powerful benefits for both brain and body and may enhance the full range of cognitive functions, promote cellular health, and help maintain essential neurochemical balance in the brain.‍[1]

Alpha GPC is naturally present in the body in small amounts, and it is also commercially manufactured as a supplement using purified soy lecithin.

Though there are a few dietary sources of alpha GPC (most notably, dairy products, organ meats, and wheat germ), studies show that it only becomes pharmacologically active at high concentrations that are only attainable via supplementation.

Alpha GPC is available without a prescription as a dietary supplement in the US and Canada. In some European countries, it is regulated as a prescription drug and used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Benefits and Effects

Alpha GPC is well known for its positive physical and mental effects, both when taken alone and in combination with other nootropics. Though many of its benefits are cognition-oriented and related to its cholinergic properties, it has also been shown to promote physical health and muscular strength.

Improved Memory and Enhanced Cognition

Alpha GPC’s ability to increase choline levels makes it an effective cognition enhancer, facilitating production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

This capability makes it of particular value in the treatment of memory loss and cognition deficits related to neurological disorders.

Extensive clinical trials involving thousands of participants have shown it to be an effective treatment for memory loss associated with a variety of age-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and stroke.‍[2]

In Russia and some European countries, it is available as an oral or injectable prescription treatment for Alzheimer’s, sold under the brand names Gliatilin and Delecit and used to enhance memory, improve cognitive function, and help restore and maintain biochemical balance in the brain.

It is also prescribed to treat memory loss and cognition impairment related to stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.‍[3]

Though most research has focused on age-related memory loss, alpha GPC’s memory benefits don’t seem to be limited to the elderly. In a study involving 32 healthy young volunteers, alpha GPC effectively restored memory following temporary chemically-induced amnesia.‍[4]

Anecdotal experience reports affirm that alpha GPC is an effective nootropic that provides a powerful cognitive boost, along with increased energy and motivation.‍[5]‍[6]‍[7]

Neuroprotectant

Alpha GPC has been shown to protect and support overall brain health by encouraging the development of new brain cells and enhancing the body’s ability to repair damaged cell membranes.

Research using animal models of vascular dementia show that alpha GPC had a measurable neuroprotective effect.‍[8]

Other studies indicate it may also have neuroprotective anti-aging capabilities.‍[9]

Increased Strength and Rapid Post-Workout Recovery

Alpha GPC’s ability to stimulate the production human growth hormone has not been extensively studied, but some believe it may improve capacity to build lean muscle mass and recover more quickly after a workout.

A pilot study indicated that a 600 mg dose of alpha GPC, taken 90 minutes before bench pressing, increased power by 14%.‍[10]

Another small study involving eight healthy young men under 25 showed that a single dose of alpha GPC increased growth hormone secretion and hepatic fat oxidation, both of which are associated with increased energy and reduced recovery time.‍[11]

How It Works

Alpha GPC’s mechanisms of action have been extensively studied and are well understood, though the manner in which it affects some neuronal functions remains unclear.

Alpha GPC is structurally classified as a phosphatidylcholine, a lecithin phospholipid with a choline attachment. Choline is essential for the brain’s production of acetylcholine, the “learning neurotransmitter” that is crucial to all aspects of cognition, and this function is at the heart of alpha GPC’s nootropic properties.

A water-soluble supplement, alpha GPC is both fast acting and highly bioavailable when taken orally. It crosses the blood-brain barrier soon after ingestion, and most users notice effects within an hour. Each molecule of alpha GPC is made up of about 40% choline, which it delivers directly to the brain.‍[12]

Alpha GPC’s ability to cross the blood-brain border makes it a particularly efficient cholinergic, surpassing other cholinergics and even choline itself at increasing circulating levels of choline in the central nervous system.‍[13]

It has also been shown to increase levels of serotonin‍[14] and dopamine,‍[15] neurotransmitters that are important in the regulation of mood, energy, and motivation.

Alpha GPC also increases phosphatidylcholine levels throughout the body, which promotes strong cell structure, supports nerve signaling, and helps maintain the brain’s neurochemical balance.

Low levels of phosphatidylcholine are associated with neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease,‍[16] dementia,‍[17] and schizophrenia.‍[18]

Dosage

The recommended dosage for alpha GPC, based on studies on its use in alleviating cognitive decline, is 1200 mg daily, divided into three doses of 400 mg.‍[19]

This is also the dosing recommendation for Glilitin, the Russian prescription form of alpha GPC.‍[20]

For most adults the range of acceptable dosage is fairly wide; cumulative daily dosage of 300–1200 mg taken in one to three doses has been documented as safe and effective.

Alpha GPC is generally well tolerated when taken at recommended dosages.

As is the case with all supplements, it is wise to start with the lowest possible effective dose and build up gradually as needed.

Stacking

Alpha GPC is an excellent choline source for use in stacks with other nootropics, particularly the racetams.

Alpha GPC, Noopept, Aniracetam Stack

Here’s an example of an alpha GPC stack that includes the popular nootropic Noopept and a racetam, aniracetam. This stack is designed for overall cognitive enhancement.

1–2x per day

Review our article on how to create a nootropic stack for a general primer on basic combinations, ratios, and tips on designing your own nootropic stack.

Side Effects

While alpha GPC is both safe and well tolerated in healthy adults, some side effects have been reported.

Users have occasionally experienced headaches, fatigue, nervousness, nausea, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress.

Supplementing with alpha GPC may also result in dizziness and low blood pressure in some individuals; if you are prone to hypotension, you should consult a medical professional before taking alpha GPC.‍[21]

Though no overdoses have been documented, adverse side effects are more commonly reported among users taking high dosages.

Alpha GPC is known to interact with scopolamine, which is used to treat motion sickness, post-operative nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Those using scopolamine are advised to consult a physician before taking alpha GPC.

Little research has been done on alpha GPC’s effects on pregnant women, so those who are pregnant or nursing are advised to refrain from use.

Where to Buy

You can buy can alpha GPC from PureNootropics.net, our recommended supplier of nootropic supplements.

Alternatively, you can purchase alpha GPC on Amazon. We recommend the following brand for their high-quality products:

Closing Thoughts

Alpha GPC is a safe, well-tolerated, and highly effective nootropic.

It’s been the subject of decades of research and is recognized worldwide as a powerful memory enhancer, prescribed by physicians throughout Europe and Russia for a variety of memory and cognitive disorders.

Studies show that it’s also a neuroprotectant that helps maintain the biochemical balance of the brain. It promotes the production of human growth hormone, which may improve strength, shorten recovery time following exercise, and encourage the building of lean muscle mass.

If you’re interested in a supplement that’s affordable, readily available, and has well-documented benefits for both brain and body, alpha GPC supplementation may be worth a try.

References   [ + ]

Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.

This page was last updated on November 23, 2018.