Alpha GPC for Focus, Memory, and Cognitive Ability
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), a unique form of choline, has been proven to boost attention, mental focus, memory, and cognitive ability. It helps build brain cell membranes as well as contribute to the formation of acetylcholine neurotransmitters that are vital for memory and cognitive function.
Alpha GPC is the exact form of choline found in human cells and in choline-rich breast milk. This special nutrient assists the formation of new brain cells and helps maintain brain plasticity, both key factors in brain anti-aging. Several dozen clinical trials support the use of this safe and effective nutrient for healthy brain function in people both young and old.
The drug scopolamine depletes the brain’s acetylcholine stores, an experimental way to cause amnesia and produce results in the brain similar to that found in age-associated cognitive impairment. In a double-blind study Italian researchers gave alpha GPC1 or placebo to young adults for 10 days, then exposed them to scopolamine, and conducted a variety of mental tests. Alpha GPC prevented decline in memory and attention tasks. Remarkably, it actually improved the study participant’s word recall from their baseline testing even though they were being given an amnesia drug.
In 2001, researchers did meta-analysis evaluating 10 alpha GPC patient trials2 and its effectiveness in treating dementia related disorders. Alpha GPC consistently showed improved memory and attention span based on a wide variety of mental tests. Invariably, alpha GPC improved the clinical picture in those suffering from cognitive decline.
In 2003, a double-blind trial further proved alpha GPC’s ability to help those with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia3. Six months of alpha GPC supplementation significantly boosted a wide variety of cognitive and memory test scores. Improvements in behavior and quality of life were also noted. The researchers concluded, “The results of this study suggest the clinical usefulness and tolerability of alpha GPC in the treatment of the cognitive symptoms of dementia disorders of the Alzheimer type.”
One interesting study with young and old adults found that alpha GPC boosts the release of growth hormone4 that is needed for general rejuvenation, including rejuvenation of brain cells—a safe and easy strategy for naturally enhancing growth hormone functionality.
Several recent animal studies help explain why alpha GPC is highly concentrated in breast milk, and why no pregnant or nursing mother should run low on choline. In mice bred to have Down syndrome5 it was found that supplementing the mother with choline during pregnancy, and nursing dramatically improved the attention function of offspring. Another study showed that choline supplementation during pregnancy completely offset the effects of alcohol on the fetus6. And yet another animal study proves that alpha GPC can turn down the inflammation in brain cells by stabilizing the important glial cells7 – a finding of high importance to all humans.
The importance of choline to the formation of memory and attention boosting acetylcholine is well documented. Alpha GPC is a preferred type of choline supplementation. It is supported by a wide range of science, including human science in young and old. It is a helpful nutrient to boost cognitive performance at any age and help offset age-associated cognitive decline.
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