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Is Alpha GPC Really the Best Choline Source for Your Brain?

Choline is one of the best things you could take for your brain health. Choosing the right supplements, however, can be a little bit more challenging. You want something that is powerful, yet safe to take. And many people want things as natural as possible. We’re going to talk today about Alpha-GPC and let you know exactly what we think of this supplement and the best sources of it.

What is Alpha GPC?

Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine, or GPC, is a source of phospholipids and choline. Both are used for phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine biosynthesis. It is released when a fatty acid found in soy and other plants breaks down. It’s a rather complicated biochemical/metabolic pathway, so we're not going to discuss it in depth here.

As a supplement, Alpha GPC nootropic ranks as one of the top supplements you can take for your brain. The Alpha GPC experience has shown in one of the controlled trials of a group of young adult males, daily doses of 1200 mg improved immediate memory recall and attention. In middle-aged and elderly person trials, supplementation improved reaction times. Other studies of older patients with vascular dementia, Alpha GPC helped improve cognition, and reduced confusion and apathy.

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Alpha GPC is not the same as choline, and it is not considered natural in supplement form. Alpha GPC is a water-soluble supplement, which means is not fat soluble. In fact, it is extremely hydrophilic (water loving). Pure supplements need to be kept in chemically rated bags or containers as Alpha GPC with a 99% purity rate will absorb water rapidly. Within a matter of minutes, you could actually see the powder turning to a gel as it absorbs water from the atmosphere. Why tell you this? Because we want to make sure you can discover for yourself the quality of the supplement you have purchased.

Top Questions Answered

One of the questions we get is if Alpha GPC i​​​​​​​​​s good for you or if Alpha GPC is bad for you. And the big answer is: it depe​​​​​nds. If you are low on choline or have issues with fatigue and memory, it’s quite likely this supplement will work for you. But, if you are taking certain medications or have other mental health issues, this supplement is not right for you.

Is Alpha GPC a Stimulant?

As define medically, no this is not a stimulant. What it does is helps encourage normal brain function and efficiency by providing the nutrients needed for proper biochemical growth. It may seem like a stimulant, but it is not working on your system in that manner. When you have better clarity and focus, you want to do more, so it stimulates you to be productive. We do not recommend using other stimulants with this supplement, as the reactions have not been studied.

Is Alpha GPC a Growth Hormone?

No, this is not a growth hormone. Although, a study published by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, followed up with a 2012 study in the journal nutrition, found that Alpha-GPC may increase the secretion of human growth hormones, HGH. While this hormone will help with weight loss, what it does is stimulates cell reproduction and repair in the body, which can have an accelerating effect on cancer or other diseases. It could also influence growth behavior in youth.

Will Alpha GPC Get Me Banned from Competition?

Right now, there are certain nootropics and supplements that are banned by professional organizations, such as weight lifting, wrestling, academic competitions, and other such groups. You would have to check with your organization to see what would be considered unacceptable stimulants. Right now, there are many cases you can find with an easy search on the internet of Alpha GPC being banned in weightlifting and bodybuilding. In the US, in youth academic organizations, the use of any mental stimulant will cause disqualification.

In some people, Alpha GPC is able to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, making it a banned substance. Although, it is only limited evidence that’s just that it will raise your dopamine or serotonin levels appreciable levels.

Alpha GPC Health Benefits

It has been long known that choline has many health benefits, and Alpha GPC enhances says those benefits. It can be used for many issues, some of which will cover right now.

One of the biggest things you should remember is that when you take any kind of vitamin or supplement, your body will use that to repair damage to major organs and other body systems before it gives you energy, enhances mental capacity, or any other benefit. Please make sure you are eating a healthy diet filled with lots of vegetables and healthy meats so you have a balance of nutrition. Without a balanced nutritional diet, no supplement will help you.

Alpha GPC for ADHD

Helping focus and concentration is one of the benefits of the supplement. By providing the brain with healthy nutrients and concentrated choline, your mind is able to focus and concentrate at a higher level. People who have concentration issues, such as ADHD, benefit greatly with the supplement.

Alpha GPC for Depression

Some of the scientific studies that have been used for the supplement have been conducted on people with severe to moderate depression. Those studies have shown that the supplement does increase the level of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which can help produce the severity of depression. Other anecdotal testimonials have shown many people have relieved mild depression using this supplement.

There are many different forms of depression, and even in the studies, not everyone responded to this supplement. Be sure to talk to your doctor prior to taking this supplement to make sure there are no medical interactions. If you do not experience relief from the depression, be sure to talk to  a professional as there may be something more serious occurring.

Alpha GPC for Weight Loss

One of the side effects of this medication is the increase fat metabolism that has been observed in certain studies. While not a significant weight loss for any of the participants, most of them did end up losing between 1 and 5 lb. Part of this has to do with the chlorogenic system helping to regulate the growth hormones in the body, and this supplement can trigger the secretion of growth hormones.

Alpha GPC is not a weight loss supplement. We just wanted to make you aware that it is possible for you to lose a little bit of weight when taking the supplement.

Alpha GPC for Bodybuilding

A lot of the testimonials we found when looking up the supplement actually came from bodybuilding and weightlifting forums. Apparently, many of the bodybuilders and weight lifters would take the supplement prior to lifting. They found it increase their ability to concentrate on their work out and get a more intense and productive workout. There were also testimonials within these forums to show that when the users took the supplement and then did not work out, the experienced possibly negative side effects, which include hyperness, inability to sleep, and agitation.

We want to let you know that some of the websites show that this supplement is considered a banned stimulant for many competitions. While many bodybuilders and weightlifters do use it, we cannot say if they used it during competition.

Alpha GPC for Memory

Although there have been no studies of the supplement on young, healthy individuals for specific memory issues, there is a significant study to show that in the elderly and cognitive impaired, GPC can help preserve the membranes around the nerves better than choline by itself. It was found in other studies relating to Alzheimer’s and Dementia that the ability for the cell membranes to repair themselves using choline was greatly diminished in these individuals. The supplement provides a form of choline that is precisely what is used for the cells to repair their membranes and to synthesize acetylcholine.

In much of Europe and Asia, the supplement is used to help preserve memory and cognitive performance. It is considered standard treatment in Russia, which has a much lower dementia population than the US (there are many reasons for this, not just this supplement).

Alpha GPC for Studying

Because the supplement provides a concentrated and is the perfect source of choline for the brain, it can help produce and stimulate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This chemical helps the brain cells to communicate with each other and increases memory, retention, and concentration. When used for studying, it can help you retain the information and use what you have learned more effectively.

Alpha GPC for Energy

The supplement may give you more energy, but that is not as a primary goal. Some people have reported the side effect of more energy, but not all people experience this energy boost. Many people have noted in bodybuilding and weightlifting forums that variable to produce a better workout when taking the supplement. Our opinion is you may experience an energy boost, but don’t rely on the supplement for it.

Alpha GPC for Anxiety

There has not been much research conducted on the use of this supplement in relation to anxiety symptoms. It is only inferred from anecdotal information and the way the body behaves when under anxiety attacks. Studies have shown that choline levels in the blood are inversely proportional to anxiety symptoms. Basically, they found that the less choline you have, the higher your anxiety. Also, since anxiety is a form of depression, reducing anything that has to do with depression will reduce anxiety. There have been many testimonials to show that the supplement has helped reduce anxiety.

The supplement is good for helping with depression and cognitive retention, but if you were looking specifically for a supplement that targets anxiety, this is not it.

Alpha GPC for Sleep

We have found mixed information on the supplement and sleep issues. Some people have found that taking Alpha GPC increases insomnia and sleep problems. Other people find no issue whatsoever taking these the supplementing sleeping. We recommend following proper dosing instructions, which recommend you not take the supplement at bedtime so you can sleep properly. If you do experience sleep problems, discontinue this supplement.

Alpha GPC Side Effects

There are certain risks with Alpha GPC. While uncommon, some people may experience heartburn, headache, insomnia, dizziness, skin rash, and confusion. Anyone who has experienced side effect taking a vitamin B supplement should consult their doctor before taking any GPC. Some people may find Alpha GPC makes them tired, but usually, this is a short term problem that resolves quickly.

The tiredness could be related to GPC’s ability to lower blood pressure in certain individuals. People prone to low blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking any GPC product.

There are a few medicines that have Alpha GPC interactions. Scopolamine (Transderm Scop), an acetylcholine blocker, should not be used at all with any GPC product. Any medication that influences the absorption or metabolism of choline should not be taken with any GPC product.

There have not been enough studies to show if GPC is safe for pregnant or nursing women. We doubt there will be such studies because responsible people don’t take risks with their babies.

Otherwise, we feel Alpha GPC is safe.

Alpha GPC Ingredients

Alpha GPC is made by the chemical or enzymatic deacylation of phosphatidylcholine enriched soya phospholipids followed by chromatographic purification. In commercial supplements, the chemical is pure, but we cannot classify Alpha GPC as organic because is mainly produced in a lab.

Other ingredients include binders, preservatives, and moisture blockers. Some supplements include flavors and colors.

In nature, Alpha-GPC is found in highly purified soy lecithin and purified sunflower lecithin. The amounts are very small and a person would have to eat toxic levels of these food products to experience any benefits. In addition, 98% of soy and sunflower produced in the US is GMO and uses increasingly heavy amounts of pesticides. Unfortunately, you’re not going to find any natural food sources for Alpha GPC.

Alpha GPC Reviews

Does Alpha-GPC really work? Based on various reviews online and the various products available, yes. And it works well.

Several European countries have used this supplement as a treatment for elderly. Even the 2012 PDR lists this supplement as effective.

Most of the testimonials online show this works for individuals. It is especially popular among the weightlifting and bodybuilding crowds.

Alpha GPC Dosage

There has not been enough studies or trials conducted to determine a safe, upper limit dosage for GPC. Most websites we found (such as Examine.com, Nootriment.com, etc.) state that a recommendation is to start off with 300 to 600 mg per day and work towards an optimal dosage for cognitive benefits which is 1200 mg.  However, a study conducted by Life Sciences Research Organization concluded a safe daily dose of Alpha GPC to be no more than 196.2 mg. 

You should avoid taking Alpha GPC before bed, as it can cause unnecessary stimulation that could keep you up at night. Alpha GPC works fast to give you mental stimulation, where most people report feeling the increase in mental stimulation within 30 minutes to an hour after taking it.

Along with this fast level of action, it also has a fast half life. Many people report that Alpha GPC will only last in your system 3 to 6 hours. Although a few people have reported as long as 12 hours of stimulation.

How Does Alpha GPC Compare?

Alpha GPC is used for many things involved with the mental recall. It helps immediate recall of facts, better reaction time and moods. You can help protect your brain cells and the myelin sheaths that surround it from oxidation. It also has been shown in studies to help counteract cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s and other dementia issues.

In studies trying to determine which is better, Alpha GPC or choline, the literature is divided. Choline is natural vitamin with many sources, where Alpha GPC is created in a laboratory for supplements. While Alpha GPC has a stronger effect on the brain, choline has a longer lasting effect. For many people, it will come down to what they most need: stimulation or lasting improvements.

Alpha GPC vs CDP Choline

cdp choline vs alpha gpc

There have been only two studies directly comparing these two supplements, however, both were done with intramuscular injections. It is unknown what taking oral supplements, which is what we have available, will do. In the two studies, Alpha GPC results in higher plasma levels of choline and increased cognitive function. In customer reviews, each seemed to work equally when taken as an oral supplement.

Alpha GPC and Adderall

Adderall is a prescription medication that you can only get from your doctor. In children, it has a depression effect that helps regulate ADHD. And adults, it is a stimulant that helps memory recall. We do not recommend changes in your medication or to add the supplement to your medication without talking to the doctor.

Alpha GPC and Uridine

alpha gpc vs uridine

Uridine is a choline enhancer. Many people who have taken these two together have the found that they received a tremendous boost in mental function and memory recall. However, there have been no studies to show these to work safely together.

Reports from individuals show that many people cannot sleep when they take these two together. The studies that have been done on Uridine have been done on severe mental cases such as bipolar disorder depression and Alzheimer’s diseases. Many nootropic and supplement promoters recommend putting Uridine and Alpha GPC together to increase their overall usage, but we do not recommend that. Start with one or the other and slowly work up. If you feel you need more of the stimulation, then we recommend trying both of these together at the lowest dose possible and working your way up.

Alpha GPC vs Citicoline

alpha gpc vs citicoline

One interesting thing we found was that Citicoline breaks down into Uridine. Our supplement is much more effective at raising blood levels of choline than the Citicoline or Uridine individually.

Alpha GPC and Caffeine

alpha gpc vs coffee

A 2010 study was conducted using several supplements including a combination of Alpha GPC and caffeine. In the study, it was shown that after exhaustive exercise and studying, students who took larger doses of these two supplements were more alert and had less stress. However, it was shown that addiction and habituation occurred after 4 weeks of the supplementation, which is a serious and detrimental side effect.

Our recommendation, an occasional cup of coffee with Alpha GPC is not going to hurt you. However, do not take both of these every day.

Alpha GPC and Modafinil

As a prescription medication in most places, Modafinil is not something you want to play around with. Being this prescription is used to help people remain awake, it may combine properly with the Alpha GPC to produce memory enhancement. However, not enough is known about this combination to recommended safety or have negative interactions. We do not recommend taking these together at this time.

Our Conclusion

Alpha GPC is a great supplement with a great track record. It is powerful enough to be used as medication, yet gentle enough to be used as a daily supplement. Just be careful of medication interactions and you’ll get better memory and concentration as your reward!

Where Can I Buy Alpha GPC?

You can get the best Alpha GPC brand from different companies. We have researched them and found this one to be the most reputable and trustworthy company.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • kathy pederson August 28, 2017, 3:09 pm

    Is this gluten free?

    • Mark September 17, 2017, 2:23 pm

      Hey, Kathy!

      Good question.

      The pure form of this product is gluten free.

      However, we cannot vouch for individual brands using or not using gluten or ingredients that contain gluten as part of binders or other fillers.

      Any product you purchase should be listed gluten-free or have a warning that it contains gluten.

  • kyle June 13, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Those studies have shown that the supplement does increase the level of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which can help produce the severity of depression.

    produce or reduce?

    • Maya July 1, 2018, 2:31 pm

      Hey Kyle!

      Thanks for pointing this out. Supplementation usually helps increase the level of Serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These usually help reduce the severity of depression.

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