If you could take a magic pill that would make you smarter, more creative, and more productive, you would, right?
I sure would…
Unfortunately, no such pill exists.
There are, however, some supplements that can give you a bit of a mental edge.
These kinds of supplements, often referred to as nootropics, have become extremely popular in recent years and Alpha GPC is one of the most promising of them all.
Still, most people have no idea what Alpha GPC is or how it works.
So, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about this unique nutrient, including:
- What It Is
- How It Works
- The Proven Benefits
- Side Effects And Safety
What Is Alpha GPC?
Alpha GPC is a choline-containing phospholipid which is considered to be the most bioavailable Choline supplement, yielding about 40% Choline by weight.
Choline the an essential nutrient which is used to produce Acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is heavily involved with cognitive functions like memory and learning.
Many nootropic supplements work, at least in part, by increasing Acetylcholine levels one way or another.
Some may work by inhibiting the reuptake of Acetylcholine while others work by directly providing a Choline source to make Acetylcholine.
Alpha GPC is the latter.
By contributing Choline for the synthesis of Acetylcholine, Alpha GPC can potentially enhance aspects of cognitive function.
Most people who supplement with Alpha GPC are doing so because of the cognitive benefits (i.e. better memory, ability to learn, etc.) but there are other reasons to use it as well.
What Are The Benefits Of Alpha GPC?
Although the research on Alpha GPC is definitely skewed towards cognitive function/performance, there have been some studies which have looked at other ways in which it make be beneficial.
But let’s start with the most proven of the lot…
Alpha GPC Improves Cognitive Function
Due to it being known as a highly bioavailable form of Choline, capable of crossing the blood-brain-barrier and increasing Acetylcholine production, Alpha GPC has attracted the interest of researchers in the area of cognitive health.
A comprehensive review on the subject, which compiled data from 17 studies regarding Alpha GPC and cognitive function, concluded that supplementation with 1200mg/day is a reliable (and safe) way to combat deteriorating cognitive health.
What remains under-researched, however, is how Alpha GPC impacts cognitive abilities in normal, healthy people.
There have been a few studies though, so we’re left with a few clues.
In one study, Alpha GPC improved certain measures of cognitive function, but the impact wasn’t overwhelmingly apparent.
In combination with Caffeine and Phosphatidylserine, Alpha GPC has been shown to improve reaction time and ability to focus.
Taking a look at the research as a whole, it looks like Alpha GPC is definitely effective for combating cognitive decline and probably effective for enhancing certain aspects of cognitive function in otherwise healthy people.
It’s not the ‘miracle brain-booster’ that it’s sometimes made out to be, but it can definitely help.
When it comes to nootropic supplements, a slight mental edge is all you can really ask for and, based on the research, that’s what Alpha GPC can provide.
Alpha GPC Enhances Exercise Performance
It may seem odd that Alpha GPC, a supplement which is usually used for improving brain function, would be studied as a potential performance enhancer, but the mechanism is actually the same.
Acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning that Alpha GPC increases in the brain, is also directly involved in muscle contractions.
Studies show that Alpha GPC supplementation can increase power output during exercise. The impact isn’t too significant, but in sports where things like explosive force are important, a slight edge can make all the difference.
When it comes to bodybuilding, higher power ouput translates to more weight lifted, resulting in greater gains in muscle over time.
It definitely makes sense to supplement with Alpha GPC if you lift weights or play sports.
Alpha GPC Increases Growth Hormone Release
Alpha GPC appears to be an effective Growth Hormone secretagogue in the short-term, but the long-term impact of continued supplementation on GH remains untested.
It’s not clear if Alpha GPC can really boost GH in the long-term, like MK-677 has been shown to do, but it definitely appears to impact GH-release in the short-term.
You can draw your own conclusions about whether that’s beneficial to you or not.
Alpha GPC Increases Fat Oxidation Release
Alpha GPC is not well known as a fat-burner, but one study has noted increased fat oxidation rates with a dose of 1000mg.
Whether Alpha GPC can influence long-term fat-loss, though, remains unclear.
It doesn’t matter if something increases fat oxidation in the short-term unless that leads to long-term, sustainable fat-loss.
Take L-Carnitine for example…
It’s too early to draw solid conclusions about the impact of Alpha GPC on fat-burning and weight-loss, but there is SOME evidence that it MIGHT.
What’s The Clinically Effective Dosage For Alpha GPC?
The clinically effective range for Alpha GPC is anywhere from 600-1200mg/day.
For enhancing cognitive function, 1200mg/day is ideal.
For enhancing power output during exercise, 600mg/day is effective (higher doses untested).
Increases in GH release and fat oxidation have been observed at a dose of 1000mg.
Unfortunately, the majority of supplements which contain Alpha GPC as a key ingredient–usually nootropics or pre-workouts–tend to be under-dosed.
Many of them contain doses as low as 50 or 100mg. At such low doses, the benefits we discussed above are far from guaranteed.
That’s why it’s probably better to just buy a standalone Alpha GPC supplement and dose it yourself.
Does Alpha GPC Have Any Side Effects?
There is absolutely no indication that Alpha GPC is harmful in any way.
If anything, it’s good for you!
That is, assuming you stay within the established clinical range of 600-1200mg. Higher doses are probably okay, but studies are limited.
It’s always better to be cautious.
When combining Alpha GPC with other nootropics which impact Acetylcholine levels, like Huperzine A, it’s possible that you could experience some Acetylcholine overload.
That generally results in a headache which subsides as your body eliminates the substances. Too much Acetylcholine isn’t going to kill you, but it’s definitely unpleasant.
Keep that in mind when combining different nootropics which increase Acetylcholine in different ways.
My Personal Experience With Alpha GPC
I’ve been experimenting with nootropics for several years now and Alpha GPC is one of the few which has earned a permanent place in my daily supplement regimen.
I take anywhere from 600 to 1200mg per day.
The effects are mild. It’s not a stimulant. It’s not going to make you euphoric or ultra focused.
What it does do, however, is slightly improve certain aspects of cognitive function.
I remember more, learn more, write better, think more clearly, and perform better in just about everything I do.
This is particularly beneficial to me, of course, since I’m always either researching or writing, but I think anyone who truly wants to maximize their cognitive potential stands to benefit from supplementing with Alpha GPC.
You’re more likely to notice the benefits if you do activities or work that is mentally rigorous.
If you just sit around all day, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, the effects may be less apparent.
However, if you’re mentally challenging yourself on a regular basis, the improvements can be quite noticeable.
The Best Alpha GPC Supplement
If you’re a regular reader of my work, then you know…
Not all supplements are created equal!
In reality, the vast majority of supplements contain low quality ingredients sourced from less than reputable vendors, usually from China.
When it comes to specialty ingredients like Alpha GPC, where the production process is difficult and fairly complex, source makes all the difference.
After years of research and self-experimentation, I arrived at the realization that most Alpha GPC supplements simply can’t be trusted.
So, I did the only thing I could…
I made my own!
Singular Sport Alpha GPC (With AlphaSize®)
Singular Sport Alpha GPC uses a high quality, patented form of Alpha GPC called AlphaSize®.
Sure, it’s a little more expensive than generic forms of Alpha GPC, but I’d rather pay a premium to be absolutely sure my Alpha GPC is top quality, rather than rolling the dice on some questionable, off-brand form.
Like all Singular Sport products, Singular Sport Alpha GPC is Third Party Tested to make sure it actually contains what it’s supposed to and is free of harmful contaminants like heavy metals and bacteria.
If you’re looking for a more high quality, transparent Alpha GPC supplement, there isn’t one.
The Bottom Line On Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC makes for a useful addition to any nootropic or performance stack. There’s still a lot we don’t about it, but the research which has been conducted shows it can:
- improve cognitive function
- combat aspects of cognitive decline
- enhance exercise performance
Just make sure you’re getting a clinical dose (600-1200mg/day) and go with a brand you can trust.