March 21, 2022 4 min read

Alpha-GPC (also known as L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is an essential lipid used to create cells and regulate various cellular processes. It also helps the body produce choline, an essential neurochemical necessary for proper cognitive function. Research has found that low alpha-GPC levels can cause a range of adverse effects, so it’s no surprise that the list of potential alpha-GPC benefits is lengthy.

If you’re curious about the benefits of alpha-GPC for yourself, here’s what you should know:

Key Benefits

  • May boost cognition and memory
  • Could enhance vision
  • May protect against brain damage as we age
  • Could improve athletic performance
A model of the brain near blocks spelling the word memory

1. Alpha-GPC may improve memory.

Alpha GPC is used to boost memory and cognitive skills. Research shows that it can increase acetylcholine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps carry out all basic memory and learning functions. For this reason, research has found that alpha-GPC supplementation may be useful for improving the symptoms of dementia.

Another study assessed the efficacy and tolerability of alpha GPC when used to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. This study found that the alpha-GPC group experienced a consistent improvement in cognition and behavior over a 180 day treatment period, whereas the placebo group experienced no change or had symptoms that continued to worsen.

Since low acetylcholine levels may be a risk factor for dementia and related disease, experts speculate that alpha-GPC supplementation may help prevent these cognitive disorders.

2. It may enhance focus and learning.

Although much of the cognition-related evidence focuses on using alpha-GPC to repair cognitive damage in older adults, some research suggests that it may help boost cognition in healthy young adults as well.

One study found that increased choline intake may be linked to improved cognitive performance. The research saw improvement in four areas in dementia-free adults: verbal memory, visual memory, verbal learning, and executive function.

Another study comparing the impact of caffeine and alpha-GPC found that alpha GPC supplementation was associated with an 18% increase in the performance speed of young adults carrying out various physical and mental tasks.

3. It may help build muscle and decrease athletic recovery time.

Various studies have found alpha-GPC supplementation to be potentially beneficial for improving athletic performance by increasing muscle growth, reducing recovery time, and even strengthening bone mass.

One study suggests that it helps by increasing the production of human growth hormone, a primary component of cell growth. Human growth hormone is essential for the repair of human tissue and cellular regeneration, which means it plays a primary role in athletic recovery. In this study human growth hormone levels increase 44-fold after alpha GPC use, compared to only 2.6-fold after using the placebo. The study also concluded that alpha-GPC supplementation increased the participant’s physical force, increasing peak bench press force by 14% compared to the placebo group.

4. Alpha-GPC may help stroke recovery.

Reviews from 1994 and 2001 suggest that alpha-GPC can help recover brain function prior to a stroke, and can improve cognitive function by up to 70%. These studies suggest that Alpha-GPC may have neuroprotective properties that could be beneficial for protecting brain health in many ways. Of course, the studies were limited, so more evidence is needed to fully understand how alpha-GPC may be used for stroke recovery.

A woman with glasses who takes alpha-GPC to protect her vision from decreasing.

5. It may benefit eyesight.

Some evidence suggests that Alpha-GPC may benefit eye health and help protect against degenerative conditions that cause vision loss. One study found that Alpha-GPC supplementation may help heal the retinas, improve circulation, and improve vision in patients with ocular ischemic syndrome, a condition where the blood vessels in the eye become clogged with plaque.

6. Alpha-GPC may reduce brain damage caused by seizures.

Some evidence suggests that alpha-GPC could be useful for managing the side effects of epilepsy, like brain damage, perhaps due to its neuroprotective properties. One animal study found that rats injected with alpha-GPC three weeks after induced seizures experienced improved cognitive function and improved the regrowth of brain cells.

Conclusion

Alpha-GPC is a popular wellness supplement that’s often chosen for its potential to enhance cognition and protect against various types of neurological damage, including damage that can naturally happen as we age. All in all, the benefits of alpha-GPC are far reaching, making it a nootropic superpower that fits into most people’s wellness routines.

Many people prefer to take alpha-GPC alongside other nootropic and adaptogenic supplements to create a full-coverage wellness routine. Because alpha-GPC supplements are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceuticals in the U.S., it’s important that you look for a high-quality supplement that’s well-made and lab tested. The best way to avoid Alpha-GPC side effects is by ensuring that you use proper dosage and a high quality supplement. 

Always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements or making any changes to your wellness routine, especially if you take prescription medications.

Resources

  1. “Alzheimer's Disease Clinical and Research Update for Health Care Practitioners” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3776389/
  2. “Cognitive improvement in mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia after treatment with the acetylcholine precursor choline alfoscerate: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12637119/
  3. “The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252552/
  4. “The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595381/
  5. “alpha-Glycerophosphocholine in the mental recovery of cerebral ischemic attacks. An Italian multicenter clinical trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8030842/
  6. “Choline alphoscerate in cognitive decline and in acute cerebrovascular disease: an analysis of published clinical data” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11589921/
  7. “[Analysis of choline alfoscerate effectiveness in chronic ocular ischemic syndrome]” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27213801/
  8. “Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairment” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27765578/

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