What’s GPC? Intro:
GPC is the “nickname” given to L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine AKA “alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline” or alpha GPC.
Alpha GPC is the building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is thought of as a bodybuilding supplement but is one of the most noticeable (meaning you can tell!) of the brain boosting supplements.
This brain chemical is crucial in memory formation and a number of other cognitive processes. You will not have what we call good brain health without enough of it. In fact, a deficiency can be an early sign of dementia which is now known to often be proceeded by short term memory loss.
You will find Alpha GPC in food such as milk and soy lecithin. However, one can’t get enough of this top tier pick for best brain supplements via food. Unless you want to eat dozens of eggs daily- you must take supplements. After you read this through I’ll bet you’ll want to! All muscle and brain function in the body depends on the transmission of electrical impulses along neurons (nerve cells). To clarify, these cells communicate with each other across a chemical bridge between the ends of these nerve cells called synapses. Accordingly, the choline-based molecules that carry the signal across these synapses are called neuro-transmitters.
GPC increases the availability of stored acetylcholine within your neurons
Brain cells use acetylcholine to send chemical signals to each other in the fundamental brain processes. These include memory control, learning, attention and reasoning. While levels of this neurotransmitter naturally decline as we age, supplements like GPC can ensure there is enough of this brain chemical available to meet the demands of your cognitive activity and even your muscular activity. Why? Because the primary neuro-transmitter in muscle tissues and the brain is acetylcholine.
A deficiency of acetylcholine at synapses slows down or prevents nerves impulses from reaching their destination. Further, severe deficiencies of acetylcholine around neurons have been identified with a number of health issues. For example, aging, slowed reaction times, deficient response to exercise, short-term memory loss and several brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s are all linked to GPC deficiency.
GPC has 3 primary functions:
Cognitive Enhancer: The boost and release of acetylcholine as a result of GPC supplementation can dramatically stimulate cognitive functioning. This includes memory, learning, concentration and focus. This makes GPC one of the few brain-specific supplements for memory, cognition and “speed of thought.” Alpha GPC for brain health is well-established in Neurology circles.
Neuromuscular Optimization: It helps increase lean body mass and strength. I’ll discuss how in a bit.
Growth Hormone Enhancer— A-GPC is a “Human growth hormone secretagogue” and can assist in building muscular strength as well as decreasing fat mass. However, as with all secretagogues, it doesn’t work well if you’re over 40-45 and you need to dose it throughout the day.
Non-brain benefits of GPC:
Alpha GPC has benefits for bodybuilding if you can get it to increase your HGH enough, but it has another one too:
It has a few benefits that go a long way to create muscle growth. The first is increased “focus” for lifting those heavy weights and lowering them slowly enough such that a work-out can be more intense.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one of the primary drivers of muscle growth and studies do indeed show that only 600 mg daily of GPC will increase levels of the HGH marker IGF-1 in young men.
HGH is in charge of post-workout tissue repair, allowing bodybuilders to lower the amount of time they need to rest between workouts. In addition, clinical studies show that the action of increased levels of HGH allow bodybuilders to cut rest times for “muscle groups” by 30-50%, thus allowing for greater muscle building ability.
Another little-known mechanism of action is something I mentioned but I’ll say it more scientifically now. By increasing neural speed and concentration with it you can intensify your workouts. Adding some decaf green tea supplementation (ECGC) to this will amplify its’ effect.
There are some early studies demonstrating that GPC might help us avoid developing cancer. Of course, these studies are ongoing, and there will be “more news to follow.”
Brain health -where the “money is”!
Alpha GPC for Focus, Memory, and Cognitive Ability
Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), a unique form of choline, has been proven to boost attention, mental focus, memory, and cognitive ability. The use of alpha GPC for brain “speed of thought” improvement is a well established phenomenon.
It helps build brain cell membranes as well as contributing to the formation of acetylcholine neurotransmitters that are vital for memory and cognitive function.
Alpha GPC is a phospholipid, and this directly impacts the development of cell membranes in the cerebral cortex.
This is also the very important area of the brain that is referred to as “gray matter.”
Alpha GPC has many benefits. For example, it can increase memory, attention span, focus, mental energy and our capacity to learn new things.
Alpha GPC works to increase brain activity of acetylcholine neurotransmission.
Remarkably, it is also easily absorbed into the blood and just as easily will pass the blood-brain barrier. This is important because this makes Alpha GPC fast-acting and potent.
Neural transmission speed:
Alpha GPC increases the synthesis of acetylcholine, which will cause your brain to increase the speed at which synapses occur. This serves to increase the speed at which many thought processes are carried out.
Not to mention, the long term benefit of increasing the number of neurological connections, and the speed at which they occur may actually make you smarter.
The speed at which a person processes information is the basis for the development of greater intelligence quotient (IQ) levels.
As a result, Alpha GPC can help increase the speed at which we process information in the long-term.
Furthermore, it is being studied as a “nootropic” (cognitive enhancer) in those with no brain issues as well as in those WITH brain issues.
Memory formation ultimately depends on the coordination of various neurological processes. GPC supplementation has been shown to increase the release of acetylcholine the hippocampus, the brain region necessary for the formation of new memories.
Acetylcholine enhancement in healthy study participants resulted in improved performance on working memory tasks. These improvements in memory function correlate with heightened activity in brain regions associated with memory encoding.
In two controlled trials, daily doses of 1200 mg of GPC improved the immediate recall and attention in a group of young adult males (ages 19-38) compared with a placebo. Further, in middle-aged and elderly subjects, GPC supplementation improved reaction time.
Alpha GPC & Memory:
There is quite a bit of both academic research and anecdotal user reports attesting to the fact GPC does indeed improve memory. The supplement also is able to increase the blood flow to the brain which results in better supply of nutrients for your brain cells.
Specifically, Alpha GPC can increase oxygenation of the brain as well as cause more sugar to be metabolized for energy. Due to the increased levels of acetylcholine associated with Alpha GPC, the processes related to memory formation become more efficient. You might find that you retain more of what you see or hear during the day.
Acetylcholine is involved in both working memory capacity – short term memory that relates to fluid intelligence – as well as your long term memory storage – relating to crystallized intelligence.
When using Alpha GPC, some users might notice they can remember long ago forgotten names and facts. Similarly, others might suddenly be able to recall all the dates and concepts from their college biology class. Some might recall previously “fuzzy” details of occurrences and conversations. The overall speed of memory recall may also be improved for some people as well. In studies of older patients with vascular dementia, 1200 mg per day of GPC helped improve cognition, as well as emotional state, confusion, and apathy. So this may be yet another natural component to the depression treatment “mix.”
GPC and brain protection:
If you have been reading “my material” you must know we lose brain cells constantly. Similarly, you must also know we need all the brain protection help we can get. GPC is a neuro-protectant along with other popular supplements such as the versatile acetyl l carnitine (supplement).
The aging brain benefits treatment with GPC supplementation. It decreases the loss of brain cells and also peripheral nerve fibers that come with the aging process. A well done animal study found that long-term treatment with GPC partly offset the loss of nerve fibers and brain cells that typically occurs with aging. The number of brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus was significantly higher, corroborating the memory studies above.
In addition, this supplement may be able to protect and repair damaged brain cells. It may even improve the efficiency of communications between neurons within the brain. Accordingly, if you have not read my brain health article and want to protect your brain, click to topics like the worst brain cell killers or what supplements do I need. Big no no’s are all artificial sweeteners but stevia. Another is something you all eat at the movies. Deadly to your brain. Curious now? ;-) (Dieacetyl-it’s the fake butter on the popcorn).
Make note that this is actually a drug, not a supplement in Europe. In fact, it substitutes for the commonly used Alzheimer’s drug Aricept over there. This should NOT be taken with Aricept or similar drugs.
If you are having memory issues, please get evaluated before it’s a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for which there are absolutely no guarantees with nootropics. However please do note that Alzheimer’s research is revealing that nutritional ketotic diets are incredibly helpful when coupled with the right supplement regimen. In addition, unbelievably enough- a type of Alzheimer’s is caused by mold– yes, household mold! I can’t get into all of that now but go to those articles if you want the scoop.
Meanwhile, make sure that, as you age, you boost your memory, speed of thought and get smarter than your kids, LOL. I personally take 1200 mg/day of GPC because I like having a very well functioning brain. If you are training, I suggest splitting it such that you take 600 mg in the morning and then 600 mg pre-workout.