Smart Drugs,

#144: Getting to Know Alpha-GPC

September 02, 2016

While there are many foods naturally high in choline, there are also tons of choline supplements out there:  citicoline (also known as CDP choline), phosphatidylcholine, and alpha-GPC (L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine).

In episode 144, Jesse and Scott Hagerman, President of Chemi Nutra focus on alpha-GPC.

Acetylcholine is the End Game for Alpha-GPC

Choline is an essential precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is a multi-tasker in the brain and body, playing important roles in activating muscles, attention, responsiveness to sensory stimuli, motivation, learning, memory, and REM sleep.

It’s a natural compound and is biosynthesized by the body from foods like eggs and liver are particularly high in choline.  Choline is then turned into acetylcholine.

In the body, acetylcholine engages muscle fiber and controls muscle movement and power output.

In the brain, acetylcholine keeps you motivated, helps you focus, boosts memory, and aids with learning.

An Efficient Source of Choline

Each form of choline has its strong points, and alpha-GPC has a few unique benefits.

Alpha-GPC is a veryefficient source of choline.  It raises the body’s levels of acetylcholine faster and keeps them elevated for longer.

There are two reasons why:

  1. From a molecular structure standpoint, it has a high amount of choline by weight.  Each molecule of alpha-GPC is 40% choline, while citicoline, for example, is only about 20%.
  2. More importantly, perhaps, is that Alpha-GPC is very polar, so it passes through the brain’s membrane easily, making it very tissue available.

A Significant Nootropic

Although alpha-GPC is prescription only in some countries, it’s not a synthetic drug — it’s a fully natural, highly purified compound.

This unique nootropic is great for both your body and brain.  It promotes human growth hormone, especially when combined with exercise that involves large muscles.  It even boosts physical performance more than caffeine (incredible, right?).

On the cognitive side, it improves memory, focus, and attention.  As Hagerman says, “There’s so much evidence, there’s no reason for us to invest a dime in further studies” on the cognitive benefits of alpha-GPC.

Taking Alpha-GPC


  • Minimum:  25mg / day
  • Recommended:  200mg / day
  • Clinical use to treat Alzheimer’s:  1000 – 1200mg / day

In longitudinal studies, even large doses of 1000mg are safe.  Less than 1% of people experience adverse effects, the most common of which are upset stomach and headache.

It doesn’t negatively affect sleep quality, so no need avoid taking it at night, although some people report vivid dreams after taking alpha-GPC.

How to take it
It’s odorless, tasteless, and stable, and easy to take.  Hagerman suggests mixing it with Kool-Aid for a finished product…

OK just kidding about that last one, but you could if you wanted to. 😉

PS:  For more memory-enhancing tips, sign up for Brain Breakfast — brain boosting goodness delivered to your inbox every week.

Read Full Transcript
Show Notes
  • 00:00:22

    What is Alpha-GPC?

  • 00:01:37

    This Week in Neuroscience: ‘Ground Zero’ Brain Region for Alzheimer’s Highlighted

  • 00:04:46

    The audience interaction section

  • 00:08:00

    Intro to Scott Hagerman

  • 00:09:36

    How Scott began working with Alpha-GPC

  • 00:12:10

    Corporate versus academic research

  • 00:14:55

    Why Alpha-GPC?

  • 00:16:44

    Alpha-GPC as a prescription drug for age-related diseases

  • 00:17:22

    Alpha-GPC’s mechanism of action

  • 00:19:37

    How quickly does Alpha-GPC work and how long does it last in the body?

  • 00:21:41

    The highest safe dosages

  • 00:23:13

    Is there an optimal time of day to take Alpha-GPC?

  • 00:23:56

    What Scott would like to see next in Alpha-GPC research

  • 00:26:55

    Cognition studies

  • 00:29:13

    Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: Brief rapamycin therapy in middle-aged mice extends lives

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