Alpha GPC powder is a choline compound and phospholipid, and is also a precursor to acetylcholine regarded for its ability to deliver choline across the blood-brain barrier. It is also often used among athletes to help with strength and to elevate ketone bodies (important to note here is that a supplement such as this cannot cure, treat or prevent any diseases).
What’s more – and we’ll touch on some of this throughout the article – alpha GPC may help with mood, cognitive function and the aforementioned strength/athletic performance by:
- Increasing isometric midthigh peak force after six days of supplementation.
- Acting as a nutraceutical agent to enhance cognitive function and slow down cognitive decline in AD, vascular dementia and multi-infarct dementia.
Select studies have analyzed these areas and back up these findings, and include:
Scapicchio, P.L., Revisiting choline alphoscerate profile: a new, perspective, role in dementia? International Journal of Neuroscience, 2013. 123(7): p. 444-449.
Parnetti, L., et al., Cholinergic precursors in the treatment of cognitive impairment of vascular origin: ineffective approaches or need for re-evaluation? J Neurol Sci, 2007. 257(1-2): p. 264-9.
Buchman, A.L., et al., Lecithin increases plasma free choline and decreases hepatic steatosis in long-term total parenteral nutrition patients. Gastroenterology, 1992. 102(4 Pt 1): p. 1363-70.
Buchman, A.L., et al., Choline deficiency: a cause of hepatic steatosis during parenteral nutrition that can be reversed with intravenous choline supplementation. Hepatology, 1995. 22(5): p. 1399-403.
What is Alpha GPC?
In this section, we’re going to cover subjects such as alpha GPC vs. chlorine and alpha GPC supplement approaches, and answer the question, “What is alpha GPC made from?”
Alpha GPC (alpha-glycerophosphocholine) is a choline-containing supplement that, although found in a variety of food products rich in choline, tends to be pharmacologically active at higher doses. As we touched on in the beginning, its main function revolves around cognitive operation and brain health, while also bearing responsibility for growth hormone production.
According to the American College of Nutrition, up to 90-percent of Americans are deficient in choline, which is why many recommend supplementing with a choline product. To this end, alpha GPC is a highly bioavailable form of choline that crosses the aforementioned blood-brain barrier more easily than many other choline supplements, and is effective at supporting choline levels.
Further, as we also mentioned, optimizing choline levels helps support cognitive function, mood and motivation (x).
What is Alpha GPC Powder Made From?
Some alpha GPC powder is derived from soy and is generally considered a natural source.
As a phospholipid that contains choline, alpha GPC is a precursor to acetylcholine synthesis and phospholipid synthesis in the brain, with choline supporting cellular growth and metabolism.
What’s more, it is found in red meat products, organ tissue and most supplements made synthetically – but it’s scarce in natural sources. It can be enzymatically created from egg or soy lecithin, but due to this synthesis and the source, it is sometimes referred to as a semisynthetic derivative of lecithin. Some other appreciable food sources include dairy and wheat germ. (x) (xx) (xxx)
Alpha GPC vs. Choline
Alright, let’s try to set a few things straight here; when it comes to essential nutrients, choline is a frontrunner with regard to keeping the brain and body healthy. It plays a crucial role in the synthesis of cell membranes, which then uptake nutrients of their own. What’s more, choline can only be absorbed through diet, with certain foods like eggs and meat being higher in choline than others.
Now, two popular supplements with high bioavailability are CDP choline and alpha GPC – and even though they’re technically different, both are effective since they occur at different stages in choline’s metabolic breakdown. (x)
When not compared head-to-head, both alpha GPC and choline have been proven to be effective.
What is Alpha GPC Powder Used For?
Here, we’ll dive deeper into the subjects of alpha GPC for bodybuilding, alpha GPC for depression and its benefits, while also answering the questions, “How does alpha GPC work?”, “What is alpha GPC used for?” and “What does alpha GPC do?”
To begin with, we must reiterate that alpha GPC supplements themselves cannot cure, treat or prevent any diseases.
Okay, so let’s go over some points we made earlier about alpha GPC: Its main role is related to cognitive function/memory, and it has been thoroughly studied for its ability to deliver choline across the blood-brain barrier.
Alpha GPC also increases acetylcholine synthesis; acetylcholine is synthesized in certain neurons by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase from the compounds choline and acetyl-CoA. (x) [Palmer Taylor and Joan Heller Brown; Department of Pharmacology, 0636, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla]
Alpha GPC is released when a fatty acid is found in soy and other plants break down, and has been used as medicine. (x) Interestingly, in Europe, it is prescribed as medication for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, available in two forms: One taken orally by mouth and the other given as an injection. In the U.S., it is available mainly as a dietary supplement, primarily in products promoted to improve memory.
Enhancing Cognitive Function
There have been a number of studies looking at the effects of alpha GPC, caffeine and placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power speed and agility; Dr. Tracey Evans, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), a scientific writer with a PhD in neuroscience who contributes to Fitness Savvy, had this to say regarding how alpha GPC may help with mood, cognitive function and strength/athletic performance:
“There is evidence to support a role for an [alpha] GPC in strength training, with one study suggesting that after six days of supplementation with an [alpha] GPC, isometric midthigh peak force was significantly increased.” (Bellar, D., N.R. LeBlanc, and B. Campbell, The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2015. 12: p. 42-42)
“[With regard to neurodegeneration] more than seven million Americans have been diagnosed with dementia, and of these, over five million have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). [Alpha] GPC shows promise as a nutraceutical agent due to evidence supporting its ability to enhance cognitive function and slow down cognitive decline in AD, vascular dementia and multi-infarct dementia.” (Defina, P.A., et al., Alzheimer’s disease clinical and research update for health care practitioners. Journal of aging research, 2013. 2013: p. 207178-207178.); (Doggrell, S.A. and S. Evans, Treatment of dementia with neurotransmission modulation. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 2003. 12 (10): p. 1633-1654)
Okay – so as we touched on earlier in this piece, alpha GPC delivers choline to the brain across the blood-brain barrier and increases acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter at neuromuscular junctions, at synapses in the ganglia of the visceral motor system and at a variety of sites within the central nervous system. (x)
When it comes to alpha GPC and memory/learning in the hippocampus, the 12th International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo in Austin, Texas in June 2015 shed some light on this topic, primarily via a presentation given by Adam G. Parker, Allyn Byars, Martin Purpura and Ralf Jager, most of whom are renowned on the campus of Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas in the school’s Department of Kinesiology.
According to a study discussed at the presentation, the acute effects of alpha GPC supplementation in comparison to caffeine or placebo on mood, cognitive function and physiological performance were analyzed amongst 20 participants – 10 males and 10 females – with the conclusion finding “no statistically beneficial effect on measures of mood, cognitive function or physiological performance” when acute supplementation with caffeine or alpha GPC was introduced. (Parker et.al, The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed and agility. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015. 12 [Suppl 1]:P41)
Experimental and clinical studies have documented that alpha GPC is able to counter the amnesia induced by scopolamine, an anticholinergic that stops the flow of ACh in the brain. (x)
Further, a 2003 study found “clinical usefulness and tolerability of [alpha GPC] in the treatment of the cognitive symptoms of dementia disorders of the Alzheimer type.” (x)
A study performed in Italy in 1994 also found a low percentage of adverse occurrences following a stroke or mini-stroke, leading medical professionals to agree that its benefits also apply to patients who recently experienced strokes. (x)
Certain preliminary studies suggest that alpha GPC may also act as a dopaminergic, promoting the release of the hormone dopamine; this could suggest potential for slowing certain neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s as well as it being a possible mood booster.
Put simply, using it for depression is a reality that is being looked at more thoroughly. (x)
Increasing Strength and Athletic Performance
Amongst many athletic types, alpha GPC for bodybuilding has been showing promise in the areas of increased growth hormone release due to its cholinergic properties. Choline has been directly tied to muscle performance and stamina, with acetylcholine stimulating muscle contraction and supporting muscle movement. (x)
How to Take Alpha GPC Powder
Alpha GPC, as a highly bioavailable form of choline, crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily than many other choline supplements, and is effective at supporting choline levels.
As always, we recommend you consult with your doctor for approval first.
Possible Side Effects of Alpha GPC Powder
While it is safe when used in appropriate dosages and as recommended, there are some alpha GPC side effects that you should be alerted to.
- Skin Rash
Additional warnings and safety precautions include avoiding alpha GPC powder during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Where to Buy Alpha GPC Powder
You can purchase alpha GPC powder supplements at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements.
BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying alpha GPC extract as a dietary supplement for its potential to support cognitive function, learning and memory as well as possibly improving athletic performance? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
Alpha GPC (alpha-glycerophosphocholine) is a choline-containing supplement that, although found in a variety of food products rich in choline, tends to be pharmacologically active at higher doses. Its main function revolves around cognitive operation and brain health, while also bearing responsibility for growth hormone production.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.