A Brain-Friendly Form of Choline for Mental Health
Choline is found in foods such as beef and chicken liver, egg yolk, soybeans, beef, milk, and peanuts. However, strict vegetarians, endurance athletes, people who drink a lot of alcohol, and those who follow low-fat/low-cholesterol diets may be at risk of choline deficiency.
GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), like phosphatidylserine, is an orthomolecular compound (found naturally in the brain), where it serves as an acetylcholine precursor. Acetylcholine is an essential neurotransmitter involved in memory, cognition, sleep, and neuromuscular control.
Acetylcholine decline coincides with advancing age, and is a hallmark of neurodegenerative disease.
GPC is believed to prevent and ameliorate dementia and memory and learning loss because it increases plasma levels of choline and therefore increases production of acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine.
- 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 improves symptoms of vascular (multi-infarct) dementia including behavior, mood, and thinking skills.
Alpha GPC performs a number of essential roles in maintaining optimal cognitive function throughout the human life span:
- Alpha GPC enhances communication between nerves in the cerebellar cortex, a brain region responsible for coordination and movement control through its effect on receptors for nerve growth factor. As we age, nerve growth factor receptors tend to decrease unless sufficient GPC is present.
- Alpha GPC stimulates release of the neurotransmitter, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in an animal model study, making more GABA available to brain cells. GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian nervous system, and declining GABA levels have been linked with neurological disorders such as anxiety, depression, pain, panic, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Alpha GPC is also involved in the synthesis and recycling of phospholipids in the brain. Laboratory studies suggest that GPC can increase the rate of phospholipid synthesis, including the phosphoinositides, which are used for signal transduction in the central nervous system.