Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter with a wide variety of effects throughout the brain but also throughout our bodies. It is produced from the dietary amino acid choline, which is present in foods such as eggs, fish, cauliflower, broccoli and soybeans.
Upon absorption, this choline is directly converted to acetylcholine in cholinergic neurons by a single enzyme called choline acetyl transferase (ChAT). However, the production of acetylcholine is somewhat dependant on how much choline is absorbed and delivered to where it needs to go. A way in which to bypass this limitation is to supplement with Alpha-GPC, which is one of the most bioavailable forms of Choline currently available.
In contrast to other choline sources, Alpha-GPC is actually produced in our brains when choline-containing cellular membranes are broken down. This breakdown process only occurs during periods when we need to produce acetylcholine in a pinch and thus it is no surprise that Alpha-GPC is very rapidly converted to acetylcholine.
So what kinds of effects can a rapid increase in acetylcholine have? There are currently 22 known acetylcholine receptors distributed throughout our bodies and brains, and activation of each of these receptors is going to produce a slightly different effect.
These effects range from memory enhancement, anxiety modulation, growth hormone secretion, anti-inflammation, pain modulation and even attentional processing. In response to the rapid increase in acetylcholine activity observed with Alpha-GPC, it seems that it is especially effective at temporarily spiking growth hormone secretions. Due to this it is recommended that athletes take Alpha-GPC prior to physical activity if they are looking to acutely enhance their physical capabilities.
If only the cognitive enhancing properties of Alpha-GPC are sought after then feel free to take it at any time throughout the day, on either an empty stomach or with a meal. If you want to learn more about Alpha-GPC then we have a couple of great articles for you here:
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