Alpha GPC


Fact Checked

Written by James Dixon

What is Alpha-GPC? You may have noticed it on a number of ingredients labels for many health and fitness products, particularly nootropics. Here, we explain why it’s stealing the spotlight for many interested in boosting their cognitive health, and how it works.

We all need a bit of help in performing at our cognitive best. The modern world demands it of us and makes it crucial for us to keep on top of our game – the demand for optimal brain function can sometimes feel pretty constant.

As a busy writer, this is certainly the case for me.

That’s why I turn to supplements a lot of the time, including nootropics – supplements designed specifically to aid brain health and healthy cognitive function. And many of my favorite nootropics make great use of Alpha-GPC, a choline-containing compound, widely known for its potential to boost memory, focus, and overall mental capabilities.

What is Alpha GPC?

Alpha GPC capsules spilling from pot

Alpha-GPC – a much shorter (and easier) way of saying Alpha-glycerophosphocholine – is a natural compound that is commonly used as a dietary supplement, and is well-known for its potential cognitive benefits. Alpha-GPC should help to enhance brain health, improve memory, and support overall cognitive function, with a fair amount of clinical data backing it up.

Alpha-GPC is made from a combination of fatty acids and choline, which are both essential nutrients for the body. You will find it naturally in certain foods, including the likes of soy, liver, and eggs. However, the amounts you’ll find in these kinds of food will be too low to get any real benefit from them, hence supplementation being key to optimizing intake.

When you take it, Alpha-GPC quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and enters the brain, where it is converted into choline. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in various cognitive processes, including memory formation, learning, and attention.

As a result, and as we’ll see, these things are generally bolstered quite a bit when taking Alpha-GPC – personally, my attention and memory, especially short-term and recall, spike by a great deal when I take it.

This is all backed up by a decent amount of clinical data. Several studies have shown that Alpha-GPC supplementation can enhance memory in both young, healthy individuals and older adults experiencing cognitive decline.

In addition to its memory-enhancing effects, Alpha-GPC has also been studied for its potential role in supporting overall brain health. Some research suggests that Alpha-GPC may have antioxidant properties, which can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and damage.

Moreover, it has been suggested that Alpha-GPC can promote phospholipid production in the brain, which is vital for maintaining healthy cell membranes and proper neuronal function.

I’m all in for supplementing with Alpha-GPC for these cognitive benefits, although the benefits go even further.

Some studies suggest that it may enhance physical performance by increasing human growth hormone levels and improving muscle coordination, which I’ll not argue with – I’m a gym nut, a yoga nut, and am happy with anything that can bolster performance.

Alpha-GPC has also been investigated for its potential in treating various neurological conditions, including the likes of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and determine its efficacy here.

What are the benefits of taking Alpha GPC?

As we’ve seen, there are some really quite extraordinary benefits to be gained from taking Alpha-GPC. I would say that the most important benefits pertain to cognitive health, function, and wellbeing, though of course they are far from limited to these.

Common benefits include:

Enhancing memory

woman boarding a meeting

One of the primary reasons people use Alpha-GPC is to improve memory. As it is thought to work by increasing levels of acetylcholine, this makes a great deal of sense.

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation and learning. By boosting acetylcholine availability, Alpha-GPC may enhance memory retention and recall, potentially benefiting anyone experiencing age-related cognitive decline or memory difficulties.

I certainly find that it helps – no more words stuck on the tip of your tongue, no more facts just out of reach. It’s all there, ready to be used – which is incredibly helpful for a writer, but will be just as important in all walks of life.

Supporting overall cognitive function

The benefits are broader and more profound than this alone, however. In addition to memory enhancement, Alpha-GPC is thought to enhance overall cognitive function. By boosting those acetylcholine levels, it may improve attention, focus, and information processing speed.

Again, this has always been my experience – I feel like my brain has been dialed up a couple of notches when I take it. This is of course very useful for me as a professional writer, and I’d imagine it would be for many other professions, too.

Giving neuroprotective properties

So we’ve covered a couple of immediate benefits you’ll experience with Alpha-GPC. However, it can also play a central role in keeping your brain healthy and young in the longer term.

This is because it likely possesses neuroprotective properties. It may offer antioxidant support, helping to combat oxidative stress and reduce cellular damage in the brain. This should likely mean prevention or improved management of neurodegenerative diseases and age-related cognitive decline.

Boosting focus and mental energy

Alpha-GPC and supplements containing it enable me to go easy on the strong coffee. This is because of its ability to enhance focus and mental energy.

By supporting neurotransmitter function and increasing choline availability in the brain, it can help to promote mental clarity and alertness. This can be particularly helpful during periods of cognitive demand (like tight deadlines!), or when you need to maintain focus for extended periods.

fit man running on treadmill

Aiding physical performance

This is less of a priority for me, but I suspect it will be central for some (and, as above, I won’t sniff at it)…

Alpha-GPC should help to boost physical, athletic performance. A strong body of research suggests that Alpha-GPC might increase the release of growth hormones, which can promote muscle growth and recovery.

Additionally, Alpha-GPC may improve muscle coordination and power output, potentially benefiting athletes and those involved in strength training or high-intensity exercise.

Supporting stroke and Alzheimer’s patients

It’s quite phenomenal that Alpha-GPC is showing some positive potential in its role for stroke recovery. Studies have shown that it may enhance cognitive function and functional recovery following a stroke. It is thought that its ability to increase acetylcholine levels and support neuronal health contributes to these positive effects.

Similarly, it may help with managing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Some data suggests that it may improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms associated with this neurodegenerative condition.

However, further research is necessary to establish its efficacy and safety in the context of Alzheimer’s treatment.

Using Alpha-GPC

Alpha-GPC has always made a really positive impact on my life when I’ve taken it over an extended period – which is rather often, as I tend to take some really quite high-quality nootropics that make good use of it.

Really, you’re looking for a way to enhance memory, focus, and mental performance if you’re using it, and it’s always done very well for me in all these aspects.

For example, my memory is always a lot better when I take it. I’m on it now, and things that otherwise might require a considerable amount of effort to remember currently come more naturally to me.

Things like remembering names and faces and facts, or recalling important information when I’m writing articles are all far easier – in short, Alpha-GPC has given my memory a much-needed boost.

Then there is the focus and mental clarity, which both leap up. Generally, I’m pretty reliant on strong coffee. I write about it a lot. A good double espresso or two in the morning aligns my focus and keeps me alert.

man concentrating at laptop working

I don’t need those double espressos so much when I’ve got a good dose of Alpha-GPC in my system. It gives me a laser-like focus on complex tasks for much longer stretches, without feeling mentally fatigued or distracted.

Alpha-GPC genuinely seems to enhance my ability to concentrate, allowing me to get my teeth into projects with deep focus and achieve more in less time. This newfound mental clarity has boosted my productivity at work and has even spilled over into my personal life, enabling me to engage in hobbies and activities with increased presence and focus – it keeps me bang on task at the gym, among other things.

Additionally, I have noticed a significant improvement in my overall cognitive function since starting Alpha-GPC. My ability to process information and solve problems has been notably enhanced.

I find myself thinking more quickly, making connections more easily, and approaching challenges with a heightened level of mental agility. This improved cognitive function has, of course, had an incredibly positive impact on my work performance. It has also translated into various other areas of my life, such as decision-making and strategic planning.

And it’s not just the focus and clarity I used to rely on coffee for and no longer need to. We’re talking energy, for which I often have a tendency to be over-reliant on caffeine. I don’t need it so much when I’m taking Alpha-GPC because it gives me a natural and sustainable boost to my mental energy levels, reducing feelings of fatigue and mental fog whilst keeping me awake and invigorated.

Alpha-GPC also has a lot to offer in the gym, such as noticeable improvements to muscle coordination and increased power output during hard training. It works really quite profoundly for me, enhancing my overall performance and enabling me to push myself further in my fitness journey. An advantage I didn’t take Alpha-GPC for, but certainly enjoy!

In short, then, it switches me on. It gives me greater clarity, focus, and drive, more energy, and greater athleticism, whilst also improving memory and recall – everything and more than you should expect from any good nootropic ingredient.

What to look out for with Alpha-GPC

There are a few things to bear in mind when looking at taking Alpha-GPC, including the likes of dosing, stacking, and so on, as well as your own personal and medical history.

Dosing is an important one. I’d always advise that you start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to find the optimal amount that works for you. This will likely be somewhere between 300-1200 mg per day, divided into one to two doses – though, of course, this is quite a wide range.

Higher doses may be more suitable for those seeking cognitive performance enhancement, while lower doses may be sufficient for general cognitive support. I personally have higher doses, getting the best results from around 800-1000 mg daily.

You can take your Alpha-GPC with or without food, depending on personal preference, and you should always follow the specific instructions provided on the product label or as advised by a healthcare professional.

Alpha-GPC is perfect for stacking. It can be taken on its own or combined with other supplements for enhanced cognitive benefits. You’ll generally see it stacked with other nootropics such as racetams or other choline sources like CDP-choline, which is how I generally take it.

Safety and Side Effects

Alpha-GPC is generally considered safe, but some users may experience mild side effects. These can include the likes of headaches, dizziness, or gastrointestinal discomfort. I’ve never particularly struggled with anything like this, but it can happen.

It’s important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines and cease usage if any adverse reactions occur. And, of course, you should always speak with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any underlying health concerns and/or are taking any other medications.

Alpha-GPC may interact with certain medications, including those for Alzheimer’s disease, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and anticholinergic medications.

It is therefore important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking Alpha-GPC if you are taking any prescription medications or other supplements.

I also want to draw your attention to the fact that there is not enough research surrounding Alpha-GPC’s safety for pregnant or breastfeeding women. You should avoid using it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and always remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

To conclude

Alpha-GPC is great. It promises plenty, including improved focus and attention, improved memory, heightened energy levels, and even a few athletic benefits.

I’ve experienced them all when taking it, both on its own and, more commonly, as part of a broader nootropic stack.

For the sake of some mild side effects, which you probably won’t experience anyway, taking Alpha-GPC really is a bit of a game changer. You’ll be able to live your best life (free from hyperbole!) with several elements of your mental and cognitive wellbeing greatly improved.