With all the talk of choline lately, more people are becoming interested in the effects of taking a choline supplement. CDP-choline is a popular and well-documented choice, but there’s a new kid on the block: alpha glycerophosphorylcholine.
What is Alpha-GPC?
It’s a natural chemical that is necessary for healthy brain function. Dietary sources include soy lecithin and milk. Studies indicate it may be helpful in combating Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, increasing memory function, improving cognitive abilities, and enhancing anti-aging processes within the body.
In Europe, it is prescribed to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, it is an over-the-counter nootropic dietary supplement intended to improve memory and cognitive function, as well as encourage muscle building.
How Does It Work?
Choline from the diet is transported to the brain for use. Extra choline is stored in cell membranes, and alpha-GPC is an intermediate step. The process begins when choline is converted into a substance called CDP-choline, which is then converted into another chemical called PC. This is used as a building block in cell membranes. Later, when there is a shortage of choline, PC is extracted from cell membranes. This PC is broken down into alpha-GPC, which is further broken down into choline.
Ingested alpha-GPC enters brain cells easily and waits until it’s needed. Now, when brain cells require more choline, they have a choice between grabbing PC from their membranes or using what’s floating around. The latter option skips a step in the process and preserves the integrity of cell membranes. This, in turn, allows the brain to maintain high cognitive function without self-destructing.
Why Use the Supplement?
Many people take it for one or more of these purposes:
• Reverse deterioration in Alzheimer’s patients
• Improve recovery of thinking skills and overall function after a stroke
• Improve memory
• Enhance thinking skills
• Enhance learning
• Encourage muscle building in athletes
Why Would I Take This Dietary Supplement If I’m Already Taking CDP-Choline?
Initial studies suggest that both supplements may be equally effective. Since these substances operate at opposite ends of the spectrum, they complement and support one another. Some folks find that taking only one of these provides the results they want; others prefer to take both supplements for an enhanced effect.
Since each person responds differently to dietary supplements, it may be best to start with taking one type and then gradually add the other.