A-GPC 101. The wonder ingredient everybody is taking about
A-GPC, or alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, is a supplement that has been gaining attention in the fitness and health community for its potential benefits for training and cognitive function.
A-GPC and high intensity training
A-GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is believed to improve high-intensity training and strength by increasing the availability of acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in muscle contraction, and A-GPC is a precursor to acetylcholine, meaning that it can help to increase the amount of acetylcholine available in the body.
One of the main ways that A-GPC is thought to improve high-intensity training and strength is by increasing the recruitment of muscle fibers during exercise. This means that more muscle fibers are activated during a given exercise, leading to greater muscle contraction and improved strength. Additionally, A-GPC can also increase the intensity of muscle contraction, leading to further improvements in strength.
A-GPC and Strength training
A number of studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of A-GPC on high-intensity training and strength. One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that taking A-GPC before resistance training led to an increase in maximal squat and bench press strength, as well as improved muscle activation during the exercises (1). Another study found that supplementing with A-GPC before performing a high-intensity cycling test resulted in an increase in power output (2).
It's worth noting that while A-GPC has been shown to have potential benefits for high-intensity training and strength, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and appropriate dosage. Additionally, as with any supplement, it's essential to talk to a doctor or qualified healthcare professional before starting to use it.
A-GPC and cognitive benefits
A-GPC is also believed to have cognitive-enhancing properties. It is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory, attention, and overall cognitive function. Studies have found that supplementing with A-GPC can lead to improved memory and attention, as well as reduced symptoms of age-related cognitive decline. For example, a study published in the journal Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition found that taking A-GPC improved memory and attention in healthy older adults (2).
It's important to note that while A-GPC has been shown to have potential benefits for training and cognitive function.
Mechanistic evidence suggests that alpha-GPC exerts its effects by increasing the synthesis and release of acetylcholine in the brain, where it is involved in memory, motivation, arousal, and attention.3
Acetylcholine is also responsible for the action potential that stimulates muscles to contract. Therefore, it’s theorized that increased acetylcholine levels lead to a stronger signal for muscle contraction and, consequently, increased force production
"There are supplements that can dramatically boost acetylcholine. Alpha-GPC is the most efficient I've discovered. Prior to work or a workout, taking 300 to 600 mg of alpha-GPC significantly improves one's capacity for concentration and focus. When I want to focus or concentrate intensely, I would use Alpha-GPC by taking it 10 to 20 minutes beforehand."
Andrew Huberman, MD
Host of the Huberman Lab podcast and Stanford School of Medicine professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology.
McMorris, T., Mielcarz, G., Harris, R. C., Swain, D. P., Howard, A., & Kirkham, T. C. (2007). Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine supplementation enhances power output during repeated Wingate cycle tests. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 15.
Mielcarz, G., Wurtman, R. J., & Shorr, R. I. (2008). Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine in the treatment of mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition. Section B, Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 15(6), 727-735.