In recent years, Energy drink have exploded and become a $1 billion industry, because consumers in all walks of life are looking for ways to enhance their minds. As a commonly used component in sports supplements, there is an urgent need for research and cognition on Alpha GPC.
WHAT IS ALPHA GPC ?
Choline alfoscerate (also known as Alpha-GPC) is L-a-glyceryl phosphorylcholine (GPC), a key brain cell membrane phospholipid and cholinergic precursor. It is a source of choline for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, with a greater ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier than conventional choline sources.
Choline alfoscerate is an important neurotransmitter and phospholipid precursor providing support for age-related decline in cognitive function, memory, and cerebrovascular health.
HOW DOES ALPHA GPC WORK ?
Choline from the diet is transported to the brain for use. Extra choline is stored in cell membranes, and alpha-GPC is an intermediate step. The process begins when choline is converted into a substance called CDP-choline, which is then converted into another chemical called PC. This is used as a building block in cell membranes. Later, when there is a shortage of choline, PC is extracted from cell membranes. This PC is broken down into alpha-GPC, which is further broken down into choline.
Ingested alpha-GPC enters brain cells easily and waits until it’s needed. Now, when brain cells require more choline, they have a choice between grabbing PC from their membranes or using what’s floating around. The latter option skips a step in the process and preserves the integrity of cell membranes. This, in turn, allows the brain to maintain high cognitive function without self-destructing.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING ALPHA GPC?
Alpha GPC has been shown to:
- Help brain recovery following injury, coma, and surgery;
- Improve memory and cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia;
- Improve memory and learning ability in laboratory animals;
- Counteract brain aging in rats by increasing cholinergic receptor sites, restoring the bioavailability of acetylcholine, increasing nerve growth factor receptors in the brain, and slowing down undesirable structural changes in the brain;
- Counter the age-related loss of nerve cells and fibers in the brain;
- Protect the brain and other organs against toxic waste buildup;
- Support patients recovering from cerebral ischemic attacks;
- Increase the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that plays a major role in Parkinson’s disease;
Studies have investigated its efficacy for cognitive disorders including stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. An Italian multicentre clinical trial on 2,044 patients suffering from stroke were supplied alpha-GPC in doses of 1,000 mg/day for 28 days and 400 mg three times per day for the five ensuing months. The trial confirmed the therapeutic role of alpha-GPC on the cognitive recovery of patients based on four measurement scales, three of which reached statistical significance.
COMPARISONS WITH OTHER CHOLINE SOURCES
When controlling for the amount of Choline in each supplement, Alpha-GPC requires 46% the dose of CDP-choline and due to being relatively higher in choline on a weight basis, administration of the same doses of either agent result in the group given Alpha-GPC experiencing a greater serum increase in choline. Alpha-GPC is considered to be a more effective (assessed by potency on a weight basis) cholinergic than both choline and CDP-choline when looking at serum values or benefit from clinical interventions.
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 appears to be the best currently known cholinergic in increasing plasma and brain choline levels, as it has better transportation into the brain than does choline (somewhat similar to CDP-choline) but since it is a greater percentage choline by weight (relative to CDP-choline) taking X dose of either drug gives more choline when using Alpha-GPC.