Alpha-GPC is not only an important compound for the brain, but it is also fast becoming a popular nootropic and promising supplement for improving strength during resistance training.
We’ve created a complete guide to analysing the science and research behind what makes Alpha-GPC an effective supplement for enhancing mental and physical performance. In this guide, you’ll learn about the uses, benefits, recommendations, and frequently asked questions about alpha-GPC.
What is Alpha-GPC?
Alpha-GPC, also known as alpha-glycerophosphocholine, is a naturally occurring type of choline that is produced in the body. Choline is recognised as an essential nutrient for the body, as it plays a part in many important bodily processes, such as maintaining your brain and nervous system, regulating your memories, and supporting normal muscle function (1).
What does Alpha-GPC do?
Alpha-GPC works in several ways to ensure normal bodily functions. Primarily, alpha-GPC increases the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine., which is important for learning and memory functions. In athletes, Alpha-GPC has been shown to prevent a reduction in choline, which can improve physical performance (2).
What is a Cholinergic Compound?
Compounds like alpha-GPC that influence the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are called cholinergic compounds. Because alpha-GPC easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, it can supply the brain with a high amount of choline (3). This makes it the preferred cholinergic supplement for users.
Benefits of Alpha-GPC
Studies to measure how alpha-GPC can improve attention and memory have shown that alpha-GPC can improve memory and attention impairment, including the symptoms of age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.
One study of 32 volunteers took either Alpha-GPC or a placebo before being given scopolamine to induce amnesia. The study found that Alpha-GPC was able to counteract the memory and attention loss from the amnesia (4).
Another study measuring if cholinergic precursors such as alpha-GPC helps treat the symptoms of dementia disorders like Alzheimer’s found that alpha-GPC consistently improved patients' cognitive test scores in all but one assessment (5).
Increases Growth Hormone Levels
Studies have shown that alpha-GPC can be beneficial for improving athletic performance by increasing growth hormones. Human growth hormone (hGH) is a naturally occurring hormone that’s responsible for building and repairing brain and muscle tissue, as well as cell growth and regeneration.
One study measuring the bodily responses to taking alpha-GPC in young adults found that a single dose significantly increases growth hormone production (6).
Another study similarly found that alpha-GPC increases growth hormone levels. The study’s results found that both elderly and young volunteers had an increase in growth hormone secretion, but found that alpha-GPC’s effects were more effective in younger subjects (7).
Several studies have supported the idea that alpha-GPC can improve physical performance and strength during resistance training.
A study found that participants taking 600mg of alpha-GPC 90 minutes prior to exercise found that their peak bench press force was 14% higher compared to a group taking a placebo (8).
One study aimed to compare the differences between taking caffeine and alpha-GPC prior to mental and physical tests. It found that vertical jump power was higher in the groups taking alpha-GPC in comparison to those taking caffeine or a placebo (9).
Another study on 27 young adults taking alpha-GPC also found that compared to taking a placebo, alpha-GPC gave participants a 12% increase in upper body power output and 12% improvement in accuracy during a reaction-time test (10).
It has been noted in another study that alpha-GPC is specifically effective at improving lower-body strength as opposed to upper-body strength (11).
Summary of benefits
The research from dozens have studies have found that alpha-GPC could have the following health benefits:
- Improves memory and attention
- Increases growth hormone levels
- Increases power and strength
Taking alpha-GPC is generally regarded as well-tolerated, with no serious side effects being reported in human trials (12).
Adverse effects that have been reported have only found in a small percentage of subjects, with 2% of 2044 subjects reporting either heartburn, headache, nausea or insomnia. Overall, trials confirm that alpha-GPC is very safe to take (13).
How to Take Alpha-GPC
Many of the studies on alpha-GPC have shown that the physical and mental health benefits are seen using doses between 400mg and 600mg per day, so we recommend taking 600mg per day.
More research is needed to understand the best time to take alpha-GPC, but studies show that it is most effective when taken up to 90 minutes before exercise.
How long does it take for alpha GPC to work?
It takes around 15-30 minutes for choline levels in your bloodstream to rise after taking alpha-GPC (14).
Where to buy Alpha GPC
As alpha-GPC is a natural product and can be classed as a nootropic, many online stores offer alpha-GPC capsules as a dietary supplement. At Prohormones UK, we offer German Pharma’s Alpha-GPC capsules to help improve your mental and physical performance.
Is Alpha-GPC the best type of Choline?
Unlike other choline supplements such as CDP-choline, alpha-GPC is more bioavailable, which means it is the best form of choline supplement for providing high levels of choline to the brain (15).
Alpha-GPC food sources
Instead of taking an alpha-GPC supplement, there are several foods that are rich in choline, including beef, chicken, eggs, grains, milk, soy, potatoes, and kidney beans (16).
Most of the foods that contain choline are animal-based products
The highest sources of choline in specific foods are:
- Beef liver
- Chicken breast