What is Alpha GPC?
Alpha GPC is known by various chemical names, including “L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine.” It is described as a form of choline, a naturally occurring chemical in human cells and in other substances (Richards 2013).
It is said to be a nootropic substance, meaning that it affects the mind, in the specific sense that it enhances mental performance, and can have an effect on the memory function (“What is the Definition of a Nootropic Substance?” 2013-14).
How does Alpha GPC work?
It is claimed that it increases mental capabilities including memory and has cognitive benefits, too, by contributing to the process of forming acetylcholine neurotransmitters – crucial elements in the functionality of both memory and cognition. As well as assisting in the forming of new brain cells, it is said to help maintain plasticity of the human brain. Those two functions are described as being important in preventing the effects of brain aging. It is further claimed that the use of this drug is supported by numerous clinical trials and that Alpha GPC is safe and effective for young people as well as the elderly (Richards 2013).
The above description of the mechanism of operation of Alpha GPC is echoed in a Web MD article, which states that it “seems to increase a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. This brain chemical is important for memory and learning functions” (“How does Alpha-gpc work?” 2014).
Alpha GPC Dosage and suggested usage
For dementia patients, clinical trials indicated that three does daily of 400mg (1200mg per day total) was administered to “relieve cognitive decline.” Furthermore, the article states that the same dosage given to otherwise healthy younger people provided the capability to “prevent scopolamine related amnesia.” In addition, the article claims that a dose of 600mg before exercising improved both power output and the release of growth hormone. The article also suggests that a good starting point if Alpha GPC is taken for nootropic reasons is a 300mg dose taken once or twice daily (“Dosing Alpha GPC” (2014).
Short term and long term effects
Sahelian (2014) reviews Alpha GPC, having used it (briefly) himself and undertaken research into its use. With regard to his personal experience, he found that a few hours after taking three 300mg capsules he felt more alert and mildly relaxed. Sahelian comments that even if short-term benefits are not detectable, that does not preclude the existence of benefits in the longer-term. Research cited by Sahelian included a 1994 study of 2044 patients recovering from strokes. The findings were that there was a definite positive effect on cognitive recovery when Alpha GPC was administered over a six-month period following the stroke. The daily dosage was 1000mg for the first 28 days then three doses of 400mg each day for the following five months (Sahelian 2014).
Another article reports that the findings of what it calls a “large meta-analysis” of over 1500 Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in 10 clinical studies indicated significant improvements in cognitive abilities, as determined by “mini mental state examination (MMSE) and sandoz clinical assessment geriatric scale (SGAG)” (“Alpha GPC” 2014).
Referring to the 1994 study cited by Sahelian earlier, of the 2044 patients treated with Alpha GPC, only 44 (two percent) experienced adverse symptoms, which included nausea, heartburn, vomiting or insomnia. That low percentage implies high tolerability to Alpha GPC (Sahelian 2014).
Similar possible side effects are reported by Wilson (2013), although his overall view is that if the user follows recommended guidance and maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, Alpha GPC can be used “safely and effectively” (Wilson 2013).
“Alpha GPC.” (2014). Smarter Nootropics. Retrieved from: http://www.smarternootropics.com/table-of-contents/alpha-gpc/
“How does Alpha-gpc work?” (2014). eMedicineHealth / WebMD. Retrieved from: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/alpha-gpc-page2/vitamins-supplements.htm
Richards, Byron J. (Sept. 2013). “Alpha GPC for Focus, Memory, and Cognitive Ability.” Wellness Resources Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/alpha_gpc_for_focus_memory_and_cognitive_ability/
Sahelian, Ray. (July 2014). “Alpha GPC supplement benefit and side effects, dosage and clinical uses, mental health benefit, 300 mg capsules.” Retrieved from: http://www.raysahelian.com/alphagpc.html
“What is the Definition of a Nootropic Substance?” (2013-14). Nootriment. Retrieved from: http://nootriment.com/nootropics-definition/
Wilson, Stefan R. (June 2013). “Alpha-GPC Side Effects: Is taking Alpha-GPC worth it?” esupplements.com. Retrieved from: http://www.esupplements.com/article/alpha-gpc-side-effects/