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Alpha-GPC is a compound which is naturally present in our brain and it is a primary source of choline in the human body. It is a precursor to an important drug which is currently believed to have the potential of treating mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia (1).
Alpha-GPC is responsible for taking choline across the blood brain barrier and it is also a natural precursor of acetyl-choline. Acetyl choline is appearing as a very potent non-prescription drug around the world. The drug is commonly available in the United States and is placed in the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) group (2, 3).
Alpha-GPC can be produced from common soy lecithin which is a primary ingredient for obtaining choline and its derivatives. Normally, it is prepared by a deacylation chemical reaction. Enriched soya is used as the primary material and alpha-GPC is separated using chromatography (4).
There have been several studies and trials which have been initiated to find the usefulness of alpha-GPC in the treatment of cognitive disorders and diseases.
A clinical trial was carried out in Italy on over 2000 stroke patients. There were given an initial month dosage of 1000 mg/day and the treatment was continued for 5 more months with an increased dose of 400 mg, given three times a day (5).
Four significance scales were used to measure the efficacy of alpha-GPC and three of them expressed clinical significance. The trial has suggested that alpha-GPC has a major role in boosting cognitive recovery in patients suffering from mental strokes.
Alpha-GPC is highly hygroscopic in nature. It means that it absorbs moisture from the air. Pure alpha-GPC will quickly turn into a gel on exposure to the environment in a matter of minutes.
Proper storage methods therefore, need to be employed when storing alpha-GPC for longer time periods. It is best to store the bulk quantity in a freezer by using vacuum sealed bags (8).
A good storage practice is to make monthly proportions of the drug and then store it in a convenient manner. You should only keep the supply of a single month with you.
Note: You need to remember that hygroscopy is not synonymous with degradation. The product may be perfect for use if it has just turned into a gel. The gel form however is difficult to accurately weigh out for a small dose.
Benefits of alpha-GPC
There are numerous benefits of using alpha-GPC as a supplementary drug. More studies are required though in order to find evidence that supports the presumptions that are currently present about the drug.
Alpha-GPC is well known now through multiple researches that claim that it improves the cognitive ability of people who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. Usually, 1200 mg of alpha-GPC is advised for such patients.
Alpha-GPC also has excellent therapeutic value when treating dementia. Injections are usually employed during this treatment and it is found that it is able to significantly improve behavior and cognitive ability of the patients (9).
Alpha-GPC is among the top drugs that can be given to patients who have recently had a stroke. The drug is known to improve the recovery period. Early research suggests a continuous treatment with alpha-GPC for six months.
Alpha-GPC is regarded as an excellent oral supplement which can be ideally used to gain nootropic advantages. It especially combines well with other methods of improving cognitive functions (10).
Many athletes have become interested in using alpha-GPC to gain bodily advantages. Alpha-GPC can have a mild effect on the production of growth hormones which are beneficial for an athlete. This use though has not been proven through research and only produces momentary spikes in the hormone levels that drop after the use of the supplement (11).
Alpha-GPC interacts with scopolamine in a negative manner. Alpha-GPC increases the production of acetyl choline while scopolamine inhibits the production of this chemical.
Alpha-GPC can provide cognitive improvement, although more research is needed for scientific establishment of this fact.
Alpha-GPC side effects
The current studies show that the use of alpha-GPC does not produce any toxic effects. It is very safe to use when its quantities are according to the prescribed quantities of not more than 1200 mg per day.
Some people though, can have side effects which are common with drugs that enhance the brain functions. People can experience dizziness, confusion and headache through therapeutic use (13).
It can also produce heartburn and skin rash symptoms in some users.
Alpha-GPC is also known to produce insomnia in people but it is not common at normal dosage levels (14).
There is little clinical information available about the effects of consuming alpha-GPC during pregnancy and neonatal care. It is best to stay away from using any supplements that are not prescribed by your doctor.
Alpha-GPC can be taken both orally or through an injection. The most common mode of using alpha-GPC is through the oral method.
Alpha-GPC is often delivered as a part of dietary supplements in the United States to improve cognitive ability and memory (15).
There is currently no standard for the dosage of alpha-GPC as it is predominantly regarded as a food supplement.
It is currently given in daily doses that are in a range of 300-1200 mg daily. However, the right dosage should always be employed through a discussion with your health professional (16).
Summary: Alpha-GPC has great potential to work as a primary drug for patients who have suffered a stroke or are at an increased risk. Alpha-GPC is excellent because it can cross the blood brain barrier and directly deliver choline to the central nervous system. Alpha-GPC also contains 40% choline by weight which performs a nootropic function.