Alfa-GPC, Alpha Glycerol Phosphoryl Choline, Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline, Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphatidylcholine, Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, Choline alphoscerate, Glycerophosphorylcholine, Glycérophosphorylcholine, GPC, GroPCho, L-A-Glyceryl Phosphorylcholine, L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine.
Alpha-GPC is a chemical released when a fatty acid found in soy and other plants breaks down. It is used as medicine.
In Europe alpha-GPC is a prescription medication for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It is available in two forms; one is taken by mouth, and the other is given as a shot. In the United States alpha-GPC is only available as a dietary supplement, mostly in products promoted to improve memory.
Other uses for alpha-GPC include treatment of various kinds of dementia, stroke, and “mini-stroke” (transient ischemic attack, TIA). Alpha-GPC is also used for improving memory, thinking skills, and learning.
How does it work?
Alpha-GPC seems to increase a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. This brain chemical is important for memory and learning functions.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Alzheimer's disease. Developing research suggests that taking 1200 mg of alpha-GPC per day significantly improves thinking skills in Alzheimer's patients after 3 to 6 months of treatment.
- Dementia. Giving 1000 mg of alpha-GPC per day as a shot might improve symptoms of vascular (multi-infarct) dementia including behavior, mood, and thinking skills. Researchers who did this study used a prescription-only form of alpha-GPC (Delecit) that is not available in the US.
- Stroke and “mini-stroke” (transient ischemic attack, TIA). Stroke and TIA patients who receive alpha-GPC within 10 days after the stroke or TIA seem to have a better recovery. Early research suggests that people who get 1200 mg of alpha-GPC per day as a shot for 28 days, followed by 400 mg of alpha-GPC three times daily (1200 mg/day) by mouth for 6 months, recover more thinking skills and are better able to function.
- Improving memory.
- Thinking skills.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Alpha-GPC seems to be safe when used appropriately. It can cause side effects in some people including heartburn, headache, insomnia, dizziness, skin rash, and confusion.
Scopolamine (Transderm Scop)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Alpha-GPC increases a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Scopolamine blocks this same chemical. But it's not known if alpha-GPC decreases the benefits of scopolamine.
The appropriate dose of alpha-GPC depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for alpha-GPC. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Barbagallo Sangiorgi G, Barbagallo M, Giordano M, et al. Alpha-glycerophosphocholine in the mental recovery of cerebral ischemic attacks: An Italian multicenter clinical trial. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1994;717:253-69. View abstract.
Canal N, Franceschi M, Alberoni M, et al. Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1991;29:103-7. View abstract.
Di Perri R, Coppola G, Ambrosio LA, et al. A multicentre trial to the evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine versus cytosine diphosphocholine in patients with vascular dementia. J Int Med Res 1991;19:330-41. View abstract.
Gatti G, Barzaghi N, Acuto G, et al. A comparative study of free plasma choline levels following intramuscular administration of L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine and citocholine in normal volunteers. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1992;30:331-5. View abstract.
Moreno MDM. 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. Clin Ther 2003;25:178-93. View abstract.