What is Alpha-GPC?
Alpha glycerophosphate, also known as Alpha-GPC is a naturally occurring choline source. Alpha-GPC is present in our diet in small amounts and is a pre-cursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Alpha-GPC, compared to other Choline sources such as CDP-Choline, seems to be the most efficacious at raising serum and brain choline levels1.
What are Alpha-GPC’s applications?
Alpha-GPC is most commonly used alongside a racetam compound in order to aid in acetylcholine production. This is commonly done because racetams tend to increase the utilization of acetylcholine in the brain, which in the long term can potentially deplete acetylcholine levels for some individuals. Depleted acetylcholine levels anecdotally seem to result in a headache, which is often remedied by using a choline source alongside the racetam. On top of this, there is some research suggesting Choline can significantly increase the cognitive benefits of Piracetam2, which would suggest that this might be the case for other racetams too. Alpha-GPC can also be used as a standalone product, as it appears to be able to enhance cognition via PKC activation and increasing cholinergic neurotransmission. Alpha-GPC has also been shown to increase growth hormone secretion and power output3.
As a standalone product, one of the major benefits of Alpha-GPC pertaining to cognition appears to be activation of protein kinase C (PKC) 4, which seems to facilitate the formation of memories5. Another major benefit secondary to increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain is that Alpha-GPC seems to cause an increase in vesicular acetylcholine transporters (VAChT)6. These transporters are responsible for loading acetylcholine into synaptic vesicles. The synaptic vesicles are responsible for storing and transporting acetylcholine to the cell membrane. Once a synaptic vesicle reaches the cell membrane it undergoes a process called exocytosis, which releases acetylcholine and allows it to activate a neuron. This is illustrated in the image below (synaptic vesicles are labelled with the number ‘2’, exocytosis is labelled with the number ‘7’).
This means that increasing the amount of VAChT, will ultimately lead to more acetylcholine activity in the brain.
As mentioned in the CDP-Choline article, any Choline supplementation has the potential to cause minor short lasting depression in perceptible individuals. This is something that should be taken into account when supplementing with Choline sources.
How to take
For cognitive enhancement it is recommended to take 250-600 mg of Alpha-GPC on a daily basis, either on its own or alongside a racetam. For increased physical performance (growth hormone secretion and power output), it is recommended to take 600 mg of Alpha-GPC 45 minutes before engaging in physical activity. You can purchase Alpha-GPC tablets in our store here at 50% off for the month of October.
Written by Emiel Bakker on behalf of Focus Supplements
- Tayebati SK, et al (2013) Modulation of monoaminergic transporters by choline-containing phospholipids in rat brain . CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets.
- Bartus, R., Dean, R., Sherman, K., Friedman, E., & Beer, B. (1981). Profound effects of combining choline and piracetam on memory enhancement and cholinergic function in aged rats. Neurobiology of Aging, 2(2), 105-111.
- Ziegenfuss, T., Landis, J., & Hofheins, J. (2008). Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5(1).
- Govoni S, et al (1993) PKC translocation in rat brain cortex is promoted in vivo and in vitro by alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, a cognition-enhancing drug . Ann N Y Acad Sci.
- Bank, B., Loturco, J., & Alkon, D. (1989). Learning-induced activation of protein kinase C. Molecular Neurobiology Mol Neurobiol, 3(1-2), 55-70.
- Tayebati SK, et al (2011) Effect of choline-containing phospholipids on brain cholinergic transporters in the rat . J Neurol Sci.
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