Alpha GPC supplement benefit and side effects, dosage and clinical uses, mental health benefit, 300 mg capsules, review
October 2 2016
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Alpha GPC, also known as alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, is a nootropic nutrient now available as a supplement. It is able to deliver choline to the brain. Whether it offers advantages over choline, cdp-choline, acetyl l-carnitine which are also available as oral supplements, is not yet known for certain. Alpha GPC is not a phospholipid, rather it is a nutrient derived from soy phospholipids, one of these phospholipids being lecithin.

Jarrow Formulas, buy Alpha GPC 300, 300 mg, 60 Veggie Caps



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Supplement Facts:
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Serving Per Container: 60
  Amount Per Capsule %DV
Alpha GPC (L-alphaglycerophosphatidylcholine) 300 mg *
* Daily value not established.

Dementia treatment

Multicentre study of l-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine versus ST200 among patients with probable senile dementia of Alzheimer's type.
Drugs Aging. 1993.
A multicentre, randomised, controlled study compared the efficacy of l-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine  and ST200 (acetyl-l-carnitine) among 126 patients with probable senile dementia of Alzheimer's type of mild to moderate degree. The results showed significant improvements in most neuropsychological parameters in the alpha GPC recipients. Improvements also occurred in the ST200 recipients but to a lesser extent.

A multicentre trial to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine versus cytosine diphosphocholine in patients with vascular dementia.
J Int Med Res. 1991.
An open clinical trial was carried out to compare the efficacy and the tolerability of 1 g/day alpha-GPC with 1 gram a day cytosine diphosphocholine CDP both given intramuscularly for 90 days in 120 patients with mild to moderate vascular dementia. Both treatments produced a definite symptomatic improvement and showed a very good tolerability. The results suggest that in most tests alpha-GPC possessed a statistical higher efficacy and an overall more satisfactory activity assessed by both patients and investigators compared with CDP.

Dosage: I cannot find any recent long term human studies with alpha GPC therefore, until more is known, it would be best to limit intake to 300 mg or less, three or four times a week. In low dosages this brain supplement can be combined with acetycarnitine or Mind Power Rx once you have tried them separately and know exactly how they each make you feel.

Mind Power Rx brain enhancing formula improves:
Memory and Mood
Mental clarity
Alertness and Focus
The herbs in this brain formula include: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Fo-Ti, Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng, Gotu Kola, Mucuna pruriens, Reishi, and Rhodiola.  The nutrients and vitamins in Mind Power Rx include Acetyl-l-carnitine, Carnitine, Choline bitartrate, DMAE, Inositol, Methylcobalamin, Pantothenic acid, Trimethylglycine, Tyrosine, and Vinpocetine.

Benefits of alpha GPC for the mind

GABA neurotransmitter influence
Evidence for an in vivo and in vitro modulation of endogenous cortical GABA release by alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine.
Neurochem Research. 1996.
The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine on endogenous cortical GABA release were studied both in vivo and in vitro. In freely moving rats alpha-GPC increased GABA release. This effect was potentiated by atropine, both systematically administered and locally applied, but not by mecamylamine. The alpha-GPC-induced increase in GABA release was abolished in rats pretreated with the alpha 1 receptor antagonist prazosin. Our results indicate that the facilitatory response by alpha-GPC on GABA release does not depend on a direct activation of either muscarinic or nicotinic receptors, but suggest the involvement of the noradrenergic system.

Human growth hormone
Does L-Alpha GPC elevate HGH secretion?
   We have not seen any good long term clinical trials that address this topic.

Stroke recovery
Alpha-Glycerophosphocholine in the mental recovery of cerebral ischemic attacks. An Italian multicenter clinical trial.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1994.
The clinical efficacy and the tolerability of alpha-GPC, a drug able to provide high levels of choline for the nervous cells of the brain and to protect their cell walls, have been tested in a clinical open multicenter trial on 2044 patients suffering from recent stroke or transient ischemic attacks. Alpha-GPC was administered after the attack at the daily dose of 1000 mg im for 28 days and orally at the dose of 400 mg three times a day during the following 5 months after the first phase. Adverse events were complained of by 44 patients (2%). The most frequent complaints were heartburn (0.7%), nausea-vomit (0.5%), insomnia-excitation (0.4%). The trial confirms the therapeutic role of alpha-GPC on the cognitive recovery of patients with acute stroke or TIA, and the low percentage of adverse events confirms its excellent tolerability.

My experience
Alpha GPC is a newcomer in the mind boosting supplement field. My first morning I took one 300 mg capsule. By mid morning I had not noticed much, so I took another pill. Except for slight alertness, I can't say I noticed much of a positive or negative effect. A few days later, I took 3 capsules in the morning. By midday I noticed being more alert and there was a very mild relaxation effect which is unlike other brain boosters that make me feel stimulated. The next day I took 2 capsules and the effects were similar. Overall, I did not find the short term effects of alpha GPC to be very potent. I don't have a strong urge to take it again any time soon, although I can see it being useful as a mild mental enhancer in those who find acetyl-carnitine, DMAE, or other brain boosters too stimulating and would prefer a gentler brain enhancer. One option is to alternate alpha GPC one day and Mind Power Rx the next day. It may offer long term benefits as discussed in the research studies listed above. One has to keep in mind that even if no significant benefits are observed in the short term, this does not mean that a supplement won't have long term benefits. Alpha GPC does not seem to be a supplement to take for occasional use as a mental enhancer. Mind Power Rx, acetylcarnitine, CDP-choline, DMAE, are better options for a quick mind boost along with bacopa which is considered a memory herb pill.

Alpha GPC side effects, safety, risk, toxicity
I can only speak by my limited experience having taken alpha GPC twice, one time 600 mg, another time 900 mg. I did not notice any side effects, such as nausea, headache, increased body temperature, or rapid heart rate. I don't know what the long term effects would be but my guess is that taking 300 mg a few times a week would not cause any problems.

Mechanism of action, how it works
There are several ways it could be of benefit as a mind enhancer. Alpha GPC treatment may result in an increased rate of phospholipid synthesis, including the phosphoinositides available for signal transduction at central nervous system level. I am not a biochemist but I believe glycerylphosphorylcholine and glyceroPhosphoCholine are the same.

Interaction with other mind enhancers
Q. If I'm already taking some mind boosters; would there be some you'd recommend me to reduce or avoid altogether in conjunction with Alpha GPC.
  A. I am still learning about this nutrient and have not come across enough convincing evidence to put it ahead of other well known proven cognitive boosters. Consider a mind formula called Mind Power Rx. One study comparing alpha GPC to CDP-choline found both to be effective in vascular dementia. The mental effect of CDP-choline is noticed much quicker than alpha GPC. We prefer that alpha GPC and Mind Power Rx be taken on separate days.

Q. I have read that alpha-GPC interacts with the medication Razadyne (galantamine), Huperzine-A, as well as Aricept and a few other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These medications essentially prevent the brain from metabolizing acetylcholine too quickly, thus elevating its concentration. These are taken for the same purpose as choline supplements, however have a much greater effect. As I understand it, the supplement gives the brain choline, and the medication makes sure the brain holds on to it. Unless I'm mistaken, that is very important. I could be mistaken on that, but I presently combine the two for medical reasons and it's potent. The only problematic side effect is excessive sweating; it also lowers my appetite. Very nice website.
   A. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Many natural mind enhancing supplements may interact with medications used for Alzheimer's disease. You mentioned galantamine, huperzine A, choline, and alpha gpc. CDP choline is another. Those on medications need to be careful when supplementing with natural brain supplements.    

Interaction with prescription medications
Could one expect an interaction with prescription drugs, specifically, Zoloft, Razadyne and Namenda. My spouse is currently on these medications and I hesitate to give her something that might have serious side effects.
   There are few studies done with alpha GPC in humans, let alone testing the interaction of this supplement with pharmaceutical drugs. However, based on my limited experience, it appears that one capsule of alpha GPC taken a few days a week should not have any major interactions with pharmaceutical medicines. However, each person is unique and some people may be very sensitive to interactions.

Legality in sports and athletic competition
I read that it increased HGH, so is alpha gpc a legal ncaa supplement?
   As far as we know it is legal for the purposes of NCAA, although we are not experts in the field of NCAA drugs and prohibited substances.

Half life, how long does it stay in the body
I am trying to find out the time to peak plasma levels as well as the elimination half life of an oral dose of alpha-GPC compared to that of CDP-choline.
   I have not seen studies of these nutrients regarding their half life. I personally notice the effects of CDP-choline within an hour or two lasting for a few hours. As to the former, I notice the effects starting within a few hours, but they are not as noticeable.

What is the source of the lecithin used in alpha gpc. I ask because I have only been able to find soy lecithin and I read that it depresses the thyroid.
   Even though it may be extracted from soy, the amount of soy in the capsule is so minimal that it would not have any clinical significance unless someone is extraordinarily allergic to even the tiniest amount of soy. This would be extremely rare.

Int J Neurosci. 2013. Revisiting choline alphoscerate profile: a new, perspective, role in dementia? Choline alphoscerate (alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine, alpha-GPC) is a semisynthetic derivative of phosphatidylcholine with central parasympathomimetic action. This action is, on the basis of its use in pathologies, characterized by cognitive deficits of neurodegenerative or vascular nature. In a number of clinical studies, alpha-GPC demonstrated benefit in patients with cognitive dysfunction. In light of the limited therapeutical results obtained in the past decades by the use of cholinesterase inhibitors in dementia, and of the relevance of their side effects in long-lasting therapies, it is desirable to reconsider alpha-GPC in larger carefully controlled studies not only as monotherapy but also in association with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs.

Additional products sold online
Alpha GPC 300 mg, 60 Veggie Capsules - Jarrow Formulas
Alpha GPC, also known as choline alfoscerate is a phospholipid metabolite found concentrated in neuronal membranes. Made from lecithin, it is well absorbed and crosses the blood brain barrier. In the brain it supports brain function and learning processes by directly increasing the synthesis and secretion of acetylcholine. It protects neurons and improves signal transmission by serving as a precursor to membrane phospholipids. Each Jarrow Formulas Alpha GPC 300 vegetarian capsule contains 300 mg.

Mind Power Rx mental booster is a sophisticated cognitive formula. It combines a delicate balance of brain circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain chemicals that support healthy.

Dosage: One capsule in the morning a few times a week.

Buy Alpha-GPC supplement

Serving Size 1 Vegetarian Capsule
Alpha GPC 300 mg (L-alpha glycerylphosphosphorylcholine) each pill