Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) which is also known as choline alphoscerate is a naturally occurring compound derived from soybeans. Alpha GPCs claim to fame is its ability to improve cognition. This is due to the large amount of choline found in Alpha GPC.
Because Alpha GPC is a phospholipid, which means it can interact directly with a cell membrane, it has a wide variety of characteristics. Research has linked Alpha GPC to enhancing cognitive functioning, increasing growth hormone release and improving physical performance.
Since the early 90's Alpha GPC has continued to gain the attention of researchers and medical professionals from around the world. Specifically for its powerful influence on cognition. Researchers at the Journal of Experimental Pharmacology did a systematic analysis of the literature pertaining to the effectiveness supplements which enhance brain functioning, known as nootropics. The researchers focused specifically on products with a high cholinergic activity.
The researchers analyzed published data which included a total of 1,570 patients with cognitive impairment. This impairment stemmed from a vascular, degenerative or a combination of both vascular and degenerative origin. The papers found the addition of Alpha GPC improved the clinical status of the patients. The authors point out the patients who were given Alpha GPC specifically showed improvement in memory and an improvement in attention.
Studies investigating Alpha GPC's role in enhancing physical performance have also been conducted. Recently the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the effects of a single acute ingestion of Alpha GPC and its affect on Growth Hormone (GH) levels and explosive performance. The researchers used a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design of athletes with at least two years of resistance training experience.
The athletes ingested 600 mg of Alpha GPC or a placebo 90 minutes prior to engaging in a squat exercise. The exercise consisted of squatting 70% of their 1-RM (Rep Max) for 6 sets with 10 repetitions per set. 30 minutes post exercise the participants were put through a series of metabolic tests. Immediately following the metabolic tests participants performed 3 sets of bench press at 50% of their 1-RM.
Researchers found the participants who ingested Alpha GPC had their peak GH increase 44 fold compared to the placebo groups who only increased 2.6 fold. The Alpha GPC group bench press force was 14% greater than the placebo group. The research team concluded that acute ingestion of 600 mg of Alpha GPC, 90 minutes prior to a resistance training session, can increase post exercise GH levels and bench press force.
In another study, participants ingested 300 mg of Alpha GPC in two separate dosages. Participants were instructed to ingest one 300 mg dose in the morning and a second 300 mg dose in the evening. After a period of 6 days the participants were put through a series of upper body and lower body isometric exercises. Researchers concluded that regular supplementation of Alpha GPC increased body force production in both the upper and lower body.
The data is clear, Alpha GPC is a well tolerated supplement which research has demonstrated to have cognitive benefits as well as performance enhancing qualities. Historically, some animal based research models have showed promising results yet failed to translate when using human subjects. Knowing this makes the research cited above even more impressive as it shows a positive reaction with human participants.
The appropriate dose of Alpha-GPC depends on many factors. As with all supplements, follow the label and talk to a health care provider before using the information provided below.
Healthy individuals looking for cognitive enhancement frequently start with a dose of 300 mg per day. High quality nootropics, which are designed to support enhanced cognition, frequently contain 300 mg per serving.
For enhanced Growth Hormone (GH) production the research states that a dose of 600 mg ingested 90 minutes prior to a resistance training session may cause an elevation. When looking for an ergogenic benefit, according to the research cited above, one full dose of 600 mg or two 300 mg doses may enhance power output.
In cases of impaired cognition, the dosage of Alpha GPC is frequently much higher than in a healthy population. Impaired cognition is frequently treated with 1,200 mg of Alpha GPC divided into three 400 mg doses.
Alpha GPC is usually well tolerated and is generally regarded as safe. However, individuals with a choline sensitivity should beware. Some people with a choline sensitivity have reported headaches and gastrointestinal upset.
In sensitive individuals, it may also cause hypotension (low blood pressure) and dizziness. If you are pregnant, nursing or using medications it's important to speak with a health care professional prior to using any supplement, including Alpha GPC.
Alpha GPC is regarded as a safe supplement for those wishing to increase their cognitive functioning and physical performance. Alpha GPC is recognized in the medical and research community as a powerful supplement and is currently prescribed in other countries to help offset cognitive decline.
In addition to being a well tolerated supplement, Alpha GPC may have a powerful synergistic effect when combined with other supplements. This may include other products which might also increase acetylcholine levels like ACLAR and Huperzine A. The synergistic effects of Alpha GPC are just starting to be discovered.
Alpha GPC has been shown to support Growth Hormone (GH) production and increase physical performance. The stimulation of GH could enhance recovery times. This enhanced recovery, combined with increased performance, may lead to an increase in muscular gains.
If you are looking for a supplement that has the ability to improve the functioning of the mind, provide an ergogenic aid and possibly reduce recovery times through the production of GH, then Alpha GPC is a great starting point.