Alpha GPC, also known as L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine or choline alfoscerate, is a natural nootropic that works both on its own and in combination with other nootropics. It is naturally present in the body in small amounts and is commercially manufactured as an extract of purified soy lecithin. Though there are a few significant dietary sources of Alpha GPC (dairy products, organ meats, and wheat germ) concentrations achieved through dietary intake are well below those achieved through supplementation.
An intermediate in phospholipid metabolism, Alpha GPC works rapidly and reliably, primarily by delivering essential choline to the brain.
Alpha GPC has significant nootropic properties, including memory enhancement and protection against brain aging. Extensive clinical trials involving thousands of participants have shown it to be an effective treatment for age-related memory loss associated with a variety of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and stroke. It also has neuroprotective anti-aging capabilities and studies suggest it may also be useful in the treatment of anxiety.
It has non-nootropic benefits as well, including the ability to enhance cell membrane health and promote rapid recovery after physical exertion. Preliminary studies suggest that it may also act as a dopaminergic, promoting the release of the hormone dopamine, meaning it may serve as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and may also be a mood enhancer.
But for many nootropic users, the real strength of Alpha GPC is in its potentiating properties when taken in combination with other supplements. The additional choline that Alpha GPC makes available to the brain can significantly amplify the cognitive enhancement effects of racetams. It can also prevent the minor but annoying headaches that are one of the few side effects associated with racetam nootropics.
Alpha GPC is regulated in Europe, where it is prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and sold under the brand names Gliatilin and Delecit. In the US it is considered a dietary supplement and is available without a prescription.
Benefits and Effects
Many benefits may be reaped from taking Alpha GPC regularly. Here is a list of the different Alpha GPC benefits:
- Memory enhancement: Alpha GPC is best known for its ability to improve memory. This effect is mainly due to the increased amount of choline it makes available for conversion to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is strongly associated with cognitive functions and the ability to form and recall memories. Studies show it is an effective treatment for memory loss caused by multiple age-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of dementia. It has even proven to be effective at restoring memory in healthy young volunteers following temporary chemically-induced amnesia.
- Energy booster: Though it is best known for its memory and general cognitive enhancement effects, Alpha GPC may also act as a mild stimulant. Some users say it provides a lasting energy boost when taken before a workout.
- Neuroprotectant: Alpha GPC protects and supports overall brain health by encouraging the development of new brain cells and enhancing the body’s ability to repair damaged cell membranes. This property is a particularly important anti-aging benefit.
- Increased strength and rapid post-exertion recovery: Because it stimulates the production of human growth hormone, Alpha GPC is a valuable supplement for athletes or anyone who wants to perform better, build lean muscle mass, feel peak energy during a workout and recover quickly afterward. A pilot study indicated that a 600 mg dose of Alpha GPC taken 90 minutes before bench pressing increased power by 14%.
- Mood and mental stamina: Many users report that taking Alpha GPC gives them more mental energy and improves their mood. This may be explained, at least in part, by the additional choline the supplement provides, which increases alertness and enhances clarity of thought. It may also have to do with Alpha GPC’s ability to stimulate the production of human growth hormone, which has energizing, anti-aging, and longevity effects.
- Choline source in nootropic stacks: Alpha GPC is a preferred choline source for many nootropic users, who find its rapid and reliable action a perfect pairing with racetam supplements. In combination with other nootropics, it provides ample choline to achieve optimal cognitive enhancement effects and can prevent the minor headaches sometimes reported as racetam side effects.
How it Works
Alpha GPC is structurally composed of choline, glycerol, and phosphate and is considered a cholinergic, or primary choline storage form. Its mechanism of action has been extensively studied and is well understood, though the manner in which it affects some neuronal functions remains unclear.
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. Following absorption, it metabolizes into a combination of choline and a byproduct called glycerophosphate.
The additional choline made available by Alpha GPC is at the heart of its considerable nootropic capabilities. Choline is a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is strongly associated with a host of cognitive functions including memory formation and recall, learning ability, and concentration/focus. By making additional choline available to the brain Alpha GPC stimulates the production of acetylcholine, which is also believed to act as a neuroprotectant.
The additional choline that Alpha GPC provides also makes it a valuable part of a nootropic stack, particularly in combination with racetam class supplements such as piracetam, pramiracetam, oxiracetam, aniracetam. These nootropics work by stimulating acetylcholine receptor sites, which makes maintaining a sufficiency of choline in the brain crucial; when insufficient choline is present, the brain cannot synthesize enough acetylcholine to satisfy the stimulated receptor sites and in turn, the racetams cannot achieve optimal results. Additionally, insufficient choline can lead to the minor but annoying side effect known as a “racetam headache.”
Alpha GPC has other functions as well, though their processes are not all as completely understood as the manner in which it delivers choline to the brain.
- It is known to act as a neuroprotectant, maintaining neuronal health and preventing damage. It is also believed to improve synaptic signaling.
- Alpha GPC also appears to work in tandem with the pituitary glands to increase the production of somatropin or HGH (human growth hormone), which stimulates cell growth, reproduction, and repair. This function makes Alpha GPC valuable to athletes, improving recovery time and increasing strength and lean muscle mass. HGH also has important anti-aging and longevity impact.
- Alpha GPC also serves as a precursor for phospholipids in neural membranes and is believed to improve neuronal functioning by improving neuronal membrane fluidity.
For nootropic stack use, we recommend a dose of 300-600 mg to start out and then to increase from there if you decide you would benefit from more.
Alpha GPC is generally well tolerated when taken at recommended dosages. For most adults the range of acceptable dosage is fairly wide; cumulative daily dosage of 300-1200 mg taken in one or two doses has been documented as safe and effective.
As is the case with all supplements, it is wise to start with the lowest possible effective dose and build up gradually as needed.
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.
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.
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. In addition, this supplement can 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.
Though no overdoses have been documented, adverse side effects are more commonly reported among users taking high dosages.
Alpha GPC is known to interact adversely with scopolamine, which is used to treat motion sickness, post-operative nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Those using scopolamine are advised to avoid 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
The most convenient place to buy Alpha GPC is Amazon, as they have the best quality and the lowest price. They have many options to choose from, however, we recommend the following two brands for their high-quality products:
- Jarrow Formulas Alpha GPC, 300mg, 60 Vegetarian Capsules – Jarrow Formula’s has proven time and time again that they make excellent quality products, ship fast, and work effectively.
- Now Foods Alpha GPC 300mg, Veg-Capsules, 60-Count – Now Foods is another reputable brand you can trust.
Alternatively, you can buy Alpha GPC from AbsorbYourHealth.com, our recommended supplier of nootropic supplements.
Alpha GPC is a safe, well-tolerated, and highly effective source of choline. It has been the subject of decades of research and is recognized worldwide as a powerful memory enhancer, prescribed by physicians throughout Europe for a variety of memory disorders.
In addition to being a potent nootropic in its own right, Alpha GPC is also a perfect addition to many other supplements, particularly those like the racetams which depend on a sufficiency of choline in order to achieve optimal results.
It also stimulates the production of HGH, which can improve strength, shorten recovery time following exercise, and encourage the building of lean muscle mass, making it an invaluable supplement for athletes or anyone with an active lifestyle.
For anyone who is interested in improving their memory, physical strength, and vitality, or achieving the best results possible with nootropic supplements, Alpha GPC is an excellent choice.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.