What Is Alpha GPC, And What Can It Do For Your Brain?

Have you heard of acetylcholine? If you haven’t, let us enlighten you. Acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter (a compound in your brain that transmits messages) in the cholinergic system. The cholinergic system is what’s responsible for your ability to learn, think, and recall memories. It’s your thinking system.

Alpha-GPC, sometimes heralded as a nootropic in itself, is a compound that provides choline for your brain. It works in a unique way when compared with the many other choline supplements available.

What’s Alpha-GPC all about? Where does it come from?

Alpha-GPC (L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, so you know where the name comes from) is naturally present in the human body, albeit in very small amounts. The supplement form is usually derived from soy lecithin, as an extract.

Alpha-GPC is a difficult compound to obtain through your diet since there aren’t a lot of significant sources of it. It can, however, be obtained in decent amounts through eating:

  • dairy products like yogurt and milk
  • organ meat like liver
  • wheat germ

As you can see, it’s pretty hard for a vegetarian to supplement themselves with alpha-GPC through their diet. This is why it’s much more popular to do so with supplements.

Alpha-GPC can be taken orally and is highly bioavailable because it’s water soluble. This means that most of it reaches your brain without being destroyed along the way. Once it’s absorbed, it breaks down into GP (glycerophosphate) and C (choline). The choline is what we want.

Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, which, as we mentioned, is the “thinking chemical.” Since it’s hard to find choline in your diet, and the body can use more than it produces naturally, choline supplements like alpha-GPC are popular. Once the choline hits your brain and is turned into acetylcholine, you’ll start to notice the effects of the supplement.

These effects can be subtle and difficult to notice in those who aren’t used to taking nootropics. There’s no “high,” so to speak. The effects are mostly peripheral, and can be hard to judge without taking tests to compare your brain function. Still, you’ll notice:

  • Memory enhancement. Acetylcholine is responsible for your ability to commit things to memory, so you’ll be able to remember things better, which is great for studying or working. It also enhances memory recall, so you’ll be better able to remember things that you might have forgotten about. It’s not uncommon for people taking choline supplements to find themselves thinking about things they’ve forgotten for years. This also makes choline a practical supplement for preventing or reducing the onset of brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • Energy improvement. Choline supplements can also reduce fatigue, but not to as significant a degree as, say, coffee.
  • Improved verbal fluidity. Since choline helps improve your brain’s plasticity and communication levels, you’ll be imbued with the ability to flabbergast your peers with the grandiloquence of elegant speech. Like that.
  • Improved physical strength. This supplement also improves your body’s production of HGH, the human growth hormone. This means that if you work out, you may notice improved gains.
  • A stable mood. Choline also helps to regulate your mood and stabilize your state of mind.

As we’ve stated, these effects are mostly peripheral and you may not feel them – or you may not be aware that you are – until you’ve taken alpha-GPC for a week or more.

How do I use alpha-GPC?

While it’s possible to use alpha-GPC on its own, it functions much better as part of a stack of different nootropics. A “stack” is any combination of supplements and nootropics.

The recommended dose of alpha-GPC for beginners is between 300 and 600 mg. After you’re comfortable at that dose, you can begin to increase it. Alpha-GPC works great in the following stacks, since the nootropics in question all enhance your body’s ability to make acetylcholine.

  • Alpha-GPC and a racetam. The racetams are the oldest synthetic family of nootropics and are generally considered to be the most reliable. If you’re new to nootropics, it’s a good idea to start with piracetam, which is a fairly mild nootropic with minimal chance of side effects.
  • Alpha-GPC and noopept. Noopept, while structurally different from the racetams, functions in a similar way.

Are there any side effects?

Alpha-GPC is one of the safest nootropics you can take. There aren’t any recorded interactions with other nootropics or prescribed drugs, except for an interaction with scopolamine, a drug used to treat motion sickness and postoperative nausea. Do not use alpha-GPC if you take scopolamine. Otherwise, there is a small chance that you might experience some of these side effects:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nervousness or anxiety
  • the jitters (the feeling you get when you’ve drunk too much coffee)
  • diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems

These side effects don’t usually manifest unless you’re taking far more than the recommended dose, so there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

The chance of side effects is increased if you suffer from hypotension (low blood pressure) so it’s not recommended to use alpha-GPC without first talking to your doctor.

In conclusion

Alpha-GPC is a great supplement and a good functional nootropic. While it does work on its own, it works much better as part of a stack containing at least one other nootropic.

Its ability to provide your brain with choline to produce acetylcholine will help improve your memory and your verbal fluidity, as well as helping stabilize your mood. You’ll notice these effects significantly more if you also take another cholinergic nootropic.

Alpha-GPC is generally considered safe and can be used by most people without significant side effects. Have fun!

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