Alpha-glycerophosphocholine (alpha GPC) is known in the nootropic world as a “must-have” for athletes. It’s a choline-containing phospholipid derived from soy, eggs, and organ meat that can aid in focusing, strengthening muscles, and stimulates hormone production.
Alpha GPC is one of those nootropics that has a wide range of benefits. From boosting mental stamina to increasing physical endurance, alpha GPC has shown time and time again that it has the ability to provide a significant boost, whether you’re looking to enhance your performance at the gym, sports arena, or a boardroom meeting. Alpha GPC just might be the missing piece in getting you to your full potential.
How Alpha GPC Works
The way alpha GPC gets absorbed is actually pretty simple. First of all, alpha GPC is a natural compound found in the brain and has the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier when taken in supplement form.
In the brain, it acts as an adaptogen and increases production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is typically released by motor neurons to activate muscle contraction, memory, or learning. The alpha GPC isn’t actually doing the work but rather triggers the release of a neurotransmitter that has been shown to have significant effects on both body and brain.1
Individuals with low acetylcholine levels tend to experience muscle weakness and cognitive decline. Taking alpha GPC as a supplement on a regular basis activates the excretion of acetylcholine in the brain and raises overall performance to new heights. It’s no wonder athletes are downing alpha GPC like it’s candy.
The factor that makes alpha GPC different from other choline supplements is that it doesn’t need to get processed by the liver in order to be used by the body. Therefore, it has the ability to reach the brain almost instantly. This is why alpha GPC is touted as both a brain and body enhancer.
Benefits of Alpha GPC
In a study published in 1996, it was found that old rats who showed signs of dementia and cognitive decline experienced an improvement in their motor skills and movement after a period of ingesting alpha GPC.2
A study on the effectiveness of alpha GPC on Alzheimer’s disease also turned up promising results. Older adults diagnosed with the disease were found to have increased focus and memory recall after taking 400 mg of alpha GPC three times a day for about 6 months.3
It’s important to note that both of these studies on the relationship between alpha GPC and mental recovery used very high doses in their trials, but long-term use at this dosage level has not yet been formally studied.
Improved Muscle Strength
Another significant benefit of alpha GPC is that it improves muscle strength and endurance, which is probably why it’s considered to be the nootropic of champions.
A study on alpha GPC and strength found that daily supplementation of alpha GPC at 600 mg improved the test subjects’ ability to perform isometric weightlifting.4 Another study done by the same researchers found that a moderate dose of alpha GPC actually has a better effect on fitness performance than a higher dose would.5
The study tested 48 college-aged men who were divided into four groups. The first group was given a placebo, the second a caffeine pill, the third a 250 mg dose of alpha GPC, and the fourth a 500 mg of alpha GPC. The researchers found that the third group had the highest scores on the fitness test. This might be evidence that less is more when it comes to alpha GPC.
A recent study found that regular dosing of alpha GPC increases dopamine production.6 Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for the motivation component of reward-motivated behavior. The study concluded that supplementation of alpha GPC may be beneficial to help in the regulation of mood.
It’s clear that when it comes to alpha GPC, the dosage matters. According to the studies outlined, between 250 mg and 600 mg appears to be appropriate for those looking to increase physical strength and endurance, whereas mental benefits may only be experienced when administered in higher amounts; however, there are not many long-term studies at these higher doses.
If you’re looking for a “nootropic of all trades” that will push your physical and mental performance to the next level, try alpha GPC.
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