The never-ending quest for the substance that can bring about significant changes in the way people think and carry on with their daily lives without ever growing tired had resulted in the rediscovery of many of the existing pharmaceutical and herbal products that man has ever used in his lifetime. Many of these substances or chemicals have been used extensively in certain health conditions to elicit a desired therapeutic outcome with some very unique side effects.
Of particular importance are endogenous compounds that have been discovered many years ago but whose exact physiologic mechanisms are poorly understood. With the advent of molecular biochemistry as well as advances in bioengineering, molecular scientists and healthcare experts are slowly beginning to understand the mechanisms upon which these endogenous substances play in the many complex processes of the body.
Scientists and experts continue to hone or tame the complex physiologic properties of these naturally-occurring substances to provide a strikingly different and entirely novel idea towards the treatment of another fully different health condition or perhaps even help enhance the body’s natural metabolic and physiologic processes.
L-alpha gylcerylphosphorylcholine, in short Alpha-GPC, is one such endogenous substance that is now being more thoroughly investigated by the scientific community for its being an important biosynthetic precursor of the equally important and physiologically active neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. In fact, the benefits of Alpha-GPC are closely linked to the action of acetylcholine through the cholinergic nervous system pathway.
A product of fatty acid synthesis from soy products, milk and milk-based food items, beef, and eggs, Alpha-GPC is known to have profound cognitive effects especially in terms of memory retention and processing and learning processes.
In several studies among patients with Alzheimer’s disease and / or senile dementia, it is generally believed that the cognitive and perceptual deficits among these patients can be attributed to the diminished levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. As such, enhancing the delivery of Alpha-GPC to the brain has been taken to be almost synonymous with improved acetylcholine functioning through an increase in its levels. The result is an overall improvement in cognitive performance.
Alpha-GPC is thus an effective way to boost one’s cognitive potentials, improving focus and memory, and enhancing the ability to learn new things.
The History of Alpha-GPC
The history of Alpha-GPC is undoubtedly linked to the discovery of choline. Discovered in 1864 by the German chemist Adolph Strecker, choline was first isolated from the bile of ox and pig. Strecker’s work on amino acid synthesis earned him the naming of the choline biosynthetic pathway as the Strecker amino acid synthesis.
In 1865, Oscar Liebreich chemically synthesized the very first laboratory-produced choline in the world. The chemically synthesized molecule was not called choline at that time and was referred to as neurine primarily because of its observed physiologic effects on neural processes. In 1898, scientists discovered that neurine was structurally and chemically identical to the choline molecule that was discovered by Strecker in 1864. Hence, neurine was officially named the fully synthetic version of the naturally occurring choline in the body. Research suggests that Alpha-GPC products are the direct descendants of the very first neurine.
It was in 1998 when the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board finally classified choline as an essential nutrient which needs to be taken in sufficient amounts by the body so that its maximum physiologic effects will be optimized for a variety of metabolic and neural processes.
Currently, Alpha-GPC is often used as treatment for neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Many countries label Alpha-GPC as a non-prescription drug while the United States has classified it as a substance that is ‘generally-recognized-as-safe’.
Several studies have been conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of Alpha-GPC on improving cognitive functions and processes. While the results have been quite mixed, generally, the studies show a remarkable trend towards validating the efficacy of Alpha-GPC in the improvement of memory, enhancement of learning processes, and increasing attention span.
Understanding How Alpha-GPC Works
Alpha-GPC is a cholinergic molecule. This means that it mimics the action of cholinergic nerve pathways through the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Simply put, to understand the action of Alpha-GPC is to understand what acetylcholine does for the rest of the body.
Acetylcholine has a central role in sustaining focus and attention as well as in the enhancement of overall sensory perceptions. Cholinergics, in general, can bring about improvements in memory and learning as well as enhancing the brain’s neuroplasticity.
With diet or supplementation, the amount of circulating Alpha-GPC in the blood is increased. Because of a difference in pressure gradient between the blood and the brain tissue, Alpha-GPC crosses this barrier and undergoes oxidative phosphorylation where it loses its phosphate group. What is thus left is choline which is then integrated into the complex biosynthesis of acetylcholine.
Alpha-GPC also enhances dopamine levels in the brain particularly the frontal lobe and the cerebellum, optimizing the coordination of fine and gross motor skills with visual sensory inputs.
Benefits of Alpha-GPC
The benefits of Alpha-GPC are closely related to its cholinergic action. Generally, Alpha-GPC can provide the following benefits:
- Improved clarity, attention, and focus – The physiologic effects of acetylcholine in sustaining attention as well as enhancing sensory perceptions can bring about significant improvements in the way you can look at a certain problem, understand the unique attributes of the problem, and identify the correct and most sensible approach to managing such problems. Thus, Alpha-GPC can provide you with a clear understanding of what needs to be done as well as the focus and concentration required to accomplish it.
- Enhanced memory – Acetylcholine is generally regarded as an important neurotransmitter in learning and memory processes. Taking Alpha-GPC will significantly enhance the overall physiologic benefits of acetylcholine.
- Improved mood – Although not necessarily a strong point of acetylcholine, per se, Alpha-GPC’s observed effects on dopaminergic receptors can provide you both with the psychological and emotional energy boost that you need as well as improve your overall sense of well-being and good mood.
Alpha-GPC is a water-soluble molecule that can be taken with or without meals. The recommended dose is 300 milligrams although this can be increased up to 1,200 milligrams per day. It is best to take Alpha-GPC early in the morning, preferably with breakfast so that its effects will be felt the whole day through.
In some cases, Alpha-GPC can be combined with racetams. As these nootropics require increased amounts of acetylcholine, adding Alpha-GPC in your diet or as an adjunct to racetam supplementation will greatly increase the amount of available acetylcholine in the brain. As such, the concomitant consumption of racetams will be fully optimized.
Side Effects of Alpha-GPC
The side effects of Alpha-GPC will be closely associated with cholinergic effects such as headaches, dizziness, heartburn, insomnia, and skin rashes. Nonetheless, the US FDA has labelled it as generally safe.
Buying Alpha-GPC Online
Although Alpha-GPC is not a prohibited substance in the US, many pharmacies and drugstores simply do not carry many of these cognitive enhancing substances. This is why the safest and most practical way to purchase an Alpha-GPC or even a racetam will be from well-recognized and reputable online shops that provide these kinds of nutritional supplements.