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Alpha GPC review: Positive impacts of Alpha GPC on adults with mild cognitive impairment

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Mental processes in the brain, including thinking, orientation, language, learning, and memory, are in short called cognitive functions which affect our feelings, behaviour, and functional outcomes, such as work performance and relationship skills[1]. As a result of rapid demographic ageing, many elderly people are experiencing mild cognitive impairment which can lead to memory disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease[2]. Different treatments have been researched over the years trying to define an effective medication that contributes to delaying the transition from mild cognitive impairment into dementia. One of the promising treatments that can help improve cognitive function is a nutrient called Alpha GPC. Research shows that it increases the release of the memory chemical acetylcholine in the ageing brain [3]. 


Researchers of the Alpha GPC study examined 8 high-quality studies conducted from 1993 to 2022 in Italy, Russia, and Mexico that evaluated the effects of Alpha GPC treatment on people with mild cognitive impairment[2]. Studies used neuropsychological tests to assess mild cognitive impairment and the efficacy of the treatment including MMSE (Mini Mental State Examination questionnaire) and ADAS (The Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale). These are validated questionnaires used in research to measure memory and language skills, and the level of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the Alpha GPC review speak for themselves.


  • Alpha GPC can improve language, orientation, and memory
  • Firstly, researchers compared the effectiveness of the building block of our memory chemical acetylcholine, called Alpha GPC to the effectiveness of other treatments on cognitive functions[2]. They found that Alpha GPC treatment stimulated significantly better cognitive functions, such as memory, orientation, and language [2,4]. The difference was still noticeable after 180 days when they compared cognitive functions in patients who were administered Alpha GPC to those who received a substance that only has a psychological effect which can improve health, called a placebo[2]. 

    They also found that Alpha GPC in combination with a common medication used to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease called donepezil, significantly improved cognitive functions compared to donepezil and placebo treatment[2].

  • Alpha GPC can boost your mood
  • Secondly, researchers found that Alpha GPC treatment administered together with donepezil has significantly improved mood and lowered depression symptoms compared to donepezil and placebo treatment[2,5].

  • Alpha GPC can improve relationship skills and help destress patients’ caregivers
  • Thirdly, the results of the research showed that the severity of behavioural symptoms, such as agitation and aggression, sleep problems, wandering, and unusual sexual behaviour, in patients who were administered Alpha GPC and donepezil treatment has significantly reduced compared to those treated with donepezil and placebo after a treatment follow-up ranging from 360 to 720 days[2].

    Lastly, researchers found that the decrease in the severity of behavioural symptoms in patients when administrated Alpha GPC and donepezil treatment also significantly reduced the stress of patients’ caregivers after a period ranging from 360 to 720 days[2].


    The findings suggest the need for further and more extensive studies to confirm the effect of Alpha GPC as a treatment for mild cognitive impairment[2]. Why the need for more studies, you ask? Well, it was in 1914 that the first brain chemical was discovered, our memory chemical acetylcholine[6]. In the late 20s acetylcholine was hypothesised to indirectly impact cognitive impairment[7]. Science defined multiple types of dementia just in the last few years, therefore research needs to be conducted to evaluate the true effect[8]. Even though Alpha GPC is beneficial for a healthy human brain, there is a need for additional studies for scientists to be able to conclude Alpha GPC is beneficial for people with mild cognitive impairment or memory disorders. For example, the above-presented review presented findings from only 8 studies which altogether examined the effect Alpha GPC had on 311 people. With multiple types of dementia currently defined, there are just as many reasons why someone suffers from a memory disorder and low acetylcholine levels can only explain so much. 

    Treatments for mild cognitive impairment - is Alpha GPC one? 

    There are currently limited treatment options for mild cognitive impairment in the UK. For people where the underlying cause of mild cognitive impairment is a treatable condition, their doctor can prescribe treatments to manage those conditions, e.g. if someone is experiencing mild cognitive impairment because of a vitamin deficiency, their doctor could prescribe a set of vitamin supplements to them[9].  

    However, someone suffering from mild cognitive impairment can help ease the symptoms by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical exercise was shown to reduce the risk of dementia, and eating a healthy diet while keeping a healthy weight also helps[10]. Read more about the benefits here

    Are you taking care of your brain?

    Higher levels of the memory chemical acetylcholine are however also associated with better cognitive performance in healthy people [11]. So, what exactly is the role of acetylcholine? Its release positively impacts working memory meaning we can quickly learn a new coworker’s name and easily remember it through a conversation. Higher levels of the memory chemical also help us task switch more effectively. Let’s say we’re using public transport and reading this article. Someone interrupts us because they’re interested in getting off at a station in the city centre but don’t know what it’s called. How quickly will you be able to switch from talking to someone to efficiently reading this article? Acetylcholine helps us get there quicker.   

    Our bodies use a nutrient called choline to produce acetylcholine. When consumed, choline enters the brain and is converted to acetylcholine[12]. Choline is found in eggs, beef, fish, and unsweetened cocoa powder. These provide an average of 200 mg of choline per 100g of food[13], while the European guidelines recommend an intake of 400mg of choline daily for an adult[14]. You can always opt for a high-quality choline supplement to ensure your diet is sufficient in choline sources. brain feed’s world's first 500mg Alpha GPC UK-made supplement contains the purest form of Alpha GPC, 99%. The capsule contains the correct daily Alpha GPC dosage for adults. Read reviews here. If you’re a new customer remember to use the code ‘NEW 15’ at checkout to get 15% off your first order

    The review of the studies shows that Alpha GPC effectively improves cognitive functions in patients with mild cognitive impairment. There is however a need for additional studies to be conducted to confirm the exact effect it has. Until then, take charge and make sure to adopt a healthy lifestyle that strengthens your cognition. 



    References:

    [1] Woods, B., Rai, H. K., Elliott, E., Aguirre, E., Orrell, M., & Spector, A. (2023). Cognitive stimulation to improve cognitive functioning in people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1. 

    [2] Sagaro, G. G., Traini, E., & Amenta, F. (2023). Activity of Choline Alphoscerate on Adult-Onset Cognitive Dysfunctions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 92(1), 59–70.

    [3] Parnetti, L., Abate, G., Bartorelli, L. et al. (1993). Multicentre Study of l-α-Glyceryl-Phosphorylcholine vs ST200 among Patients with Probable Senile Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type. Drugs & Aging 3, 159–164.

    [4] Moreno Moreno, M. D. J. (2003). 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. Clinical Therapeutics, 25(1), 178–193.

    [5] Carotenuto, A., Fasanaro, A. M., Manzo, V., Amenta, F., & Traini, E. (2022). Association Between the Cholinesterase Inhibitor Donepezil and the Cholinergic Precursor Choline Alphoscerate in the Treatment of Depression in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports, 6(1), 235–243.

    [6] Liu, P.-P. et al. (2019). History and progress of hypotheses and clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, [online] 4(1).

    [7] McGleenon, B.M. et al. (2001). Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in Alzheimer’s disease. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 48(4), 471–480.

    [8] Types of dementia (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Society. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia

    [9] Treatments (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Research UK. https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/dementia-information/types-of-dementia/mild-cognitive-impairment/treatments/?gclid=CjwKCAjw5pShBhB_EiwAvmnNVwoBVr8fJwfuJ-xQ9BGbZZ2tTSRiubv6gU1f2D6Hfmgr9QyuWLHLAxoC-zsQAvD_BwE

    [10] How is mild cognitive impairment treated? (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Society. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/mild-cognitive-impairment-treatments

    [11] Huang, Q., Liao, C., Ge, F., Ao, J., & Liu, T. (2022). Acetylcholine bidirectionally regulates learning and memory. Journal of Neurorestoratology, 10(2), 100002.

    [12] Zhao, D. et al. (2001). Generation of choline for acetylcholine synthesis by phospholipase D isoforms. BMC neuroscience, 2, 16.

    [13] Foods highest in Choline (n.d.). Nutrition Data. https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000144000000000000000-w.html

    [14] EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies) (2016). Scientific opinion on Dietary Reference Values for choline. EFSA Journal 2016, 14(8), 4484.

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