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Alpha GPC, also known as GPC choline is a powerful acetylcholine boosting compound. It is purified from lecithin, a common supplement containing phosphatidylcholine. Unlike lecithin and related choline supplements, alpha GPC has different structure and method of acetylcholine conversion.
Alpha GPC is considered superior to most other choline and phosphatidylcholine supplements. Unlike these types of supplements, it is known to have nootropic qualities on its own. It has been evaluated by medical scientists for cognitive disorders, but not been approved as a treatment. In relation to other choline supplements, alpha GPC is considered one of the best to stack with racetams.
How it Works
Alpha GPC works slightly different than other choline supplements. It is a synthetic precursor to acetylcholine. Basically, it mimics the effects of choline to produce acetylcholine. It is considered better than choline at converting into acetylcholine due to its unique chemical properties.
Small amounts of alpha GPC can be obtained through food however GPC supplements are bio-synthetically created. It is usually created from highly purified lecithin. Lecithin is a common product used for phosphatidylcholine supplementation (a weaker precursor to acetylcholine). Alpha GPC differs from lecithin and carries a different chemical structure. This explains its unique effects and properties over choline and phosphatidylcholine.
Alpha GPC has also been noted in several studies (in rats) to increase concentrations of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum. This may contribute to some of its nootropic benefits. The same effects have been observed with serotonin.
Possible Side Effects
Alpha GPC has very little side effects however there are some to note. Most people will experience very little side effects when using it in the right dosages. Below are some of the most common side effects seen with GPC choline.
There has been some evidence suggesting that cholinergic hyperactivity may affect areas of mood. These effects are more commonly observed with positive allosteric modulators of the acetylcholine receptors (racetams).
It has been suggested however that choline may induce depression due to an offset balance created between acetylcholine and the other neurotransmitters. Alpha GPC does not seem to carry the same risk of causing this however it should be a concern. Generally it is considered superior to choline in limiting these side effects.
Alpha GPC has been observed to be very safe when used in the recommended dosages. The majority of the side effects listed above are much more common in sensitive individuals. Lowering the dosage may help to eliminate some of these side effects.
Since alpha GPC is a natural compound found in certain foods, it carries very little risk of causing tolerance and addiction potential. It is a non-psychoactive compound with very little effects on the central nervous system. Overdose and tolerance are extremely rare.
Potential Benefits of Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC increases acetylcholine synthesis in the brain. Increasing and maintaining acetylcholine levels is important for brain function and health. Other acetylcholine precursors do not seem to have the same nootropic qualities as alpha GPC. It is not all that clear what makes this type of acetylcholine supplement more effective. It may have to do with other factors such as how it interacts with neurotransmitter release.
People who will see the most benefit from alpha GPC supplementation are those who are deficient in choline. Others with damage to the cholinergic system like people suffering from brain trauma, or Alzheimer’s disease may see an improvement in cognitive function. For other healthy individuals, the cognitive benefits of alpha GPC may be minimal. This is why may people will stack with cholinergic racetam supplements to potentiate the effects.
Alpha GPC may also help to protect the brain by reducing free radicals. It may specifically protect the cholinergic system from damages. This may have possible implications in reducing the chance of getting Alzheimer’s when administered early or to slow down the progress of the disease. Alpha GPC is known to reduce free radicals and oxidative stress in the brain. It is a highly neuroprotective compound.
Alpha GPC is also thought to trigger the release of important hormones. It is thought to release human growth releasing hormone which in turn, releases natural human growth hormone (HGH). HGH can help to repair body tissue and is important for health human growth and repair.
One unique property of Alpha GPC not seen in other choline supplements is the increase in natural human growth hormone levels (HGH). This is believed to be caused by a release of human growth releasing hormone (HGRH) triggered by Alpha GPC. HGH has enormous health benefits known to help with body tissue repair and development. For this reason, Alpha GPC is commonly sold by body building supplement retailers.
Alpha GPC can offer benefits when used on its own however the greatest benefits as a nootropic are seen in a stack. The best synergetic effect will be seen when it is stacked with a positive allosteric modulator cholinergic compound like a racetam.
It is commonly stacked with cholinergic racetams to help potentiate the effects. Racetams are thought to cause an increased demand for acetylcholine and alpha GPC is thought to replenish these amounts without causing and overload of choline in the brain. It is thought that too much choline can lead to headache and that supplementing with alpha gpc instead of choline can reduce the chance of side effects. This is up to some dispute. Overall, alpha gpc is considered one of the best choline compound to stack with racetams