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Is Alpha GPC the best choline supplement?

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Choline is an important nutrient that was granted the status of an essential nutrient in 1998 by the US Institute of Medicine. The importance of choline was recognized due to its function in the liver, brain and body cells starting from pregnancy and infancy up until old age. In the brain, choline is used to produce the chemical involved in memory, learning and attention, called acetylcholine. 

The US prescribed recommended intake for adults as 550 mg/day for males and 425 mg/day for non-pregnant females. The European guidelines recommended choline intake of 400 mg/day for adults in 2016.

can you get choline from your food?

Though your body can produce small amounts, choline must be taken from the diet to meet the body’s need to ensure optimum functioning. Food sources of choline include [1]:

Food sources

mg choline per 100 g

Beef liver

426

Fried egg

273

Smoked salmon

224

Dried shiitake mushrooms

202

Soy flour

191

Skim milk powder

169

Dried celery flakes

122

Raw soybeans

116

Sundried tomatoes

105


Cooking can reduce choline content in some foods [2]. For example, 30% choline is lost when chicken is roasted [3]. In foods, choline is found in many forms and different forms are absorbed at different rates [4].

is Alpha GPC the best form of choline?

Choline can also be consumed as a supplement. Those who have low choline intake in their diet can benefit from supplementation. Alpha GPC is the best source of choline currently available due to its high choline content (41% of choline by weight) and ability to freely pass into the brain. Brain feed has created the world’s 1st 500mg Alpha GPC capsule containing 99% Alpha GPC* (the purest form of Alpha GPC).

Shop brain feeds Alpha GPC from £29.99

why is Alpha GPC more efficient than dietary choline?

If you are looking to increase your acetylcholine levels, Alpha GPC can contribute to higher choline available for its production. It has shown to facilitate quick increase in acetylcholine levels 1-3 hours after intake [5]

Since choline has many important functions in the body, its use to produce acetylcholine depends on the concentration of choline in the blood. Alpha-GPC increases choline levels faster than other types of choline. It was found that upon absorption, Alpha GPC was incorporated into brain cells within 24 hours [6].

Another choline supplement that can freely enter the brain is citicoline (CDP choline). It is only 18% choline by weight which means you will need double the dose to provide the same level of benefits as Alpha GPC. A study comparing CDP choline vs Alpha GPC found that Alpha GPC reaches more regions in the brain for acetylcholine production [7] and leads to higher efficiency on cognitive tests [8]. 

Choline bitartrate is a synthetic choline supplement. It provides the same amount of choline by weight as Alpha GPC but it cannot enter the brain due to its structure. Due to this, it can be used for body benefits other than acetylcholine production.  


Choline

Production

Freely enters the brain

Choline by weight (%)

Recommended dose (mg)

Cost

Main functional benefit

Alpha GPC 99%

Fermentation

40

500 – 1200

[9]

Premium

Acetylcholine in the brain

Alpha GPC 50%

Fermentation

20

1000-2400

Premium

Acetylcholine in the brain

Citicoline (CDP)

Synthetic

18.5

500 - 2000 [10]

Premium

Phosphatidylcholine precursor

Choline bitartrate

Synthetic

X

41

2000mg *Tolerable limit. Limited evidence on brain functions [11]

Inexpensive

Liver function


choline side effects?

As an essential nutrient, choline is not shown to have side effects under 3500 mg/day [12]. Alpha GPC is well tolerated within recommended levels. At higher than recommended doses, a small number of people may experience side effects such as headaches or dizziness.

how to choose the right supplement?

It is important to read the fine print carefully when choosing supplements. The following are three important points to remember to make an informed decision:

  • Form of choline- depending on the benefit you are seeking, whether it be for your body or brain, investigate the form mentioned on the label 
  • Dosage- check the dose provided and whether the recommended dose is provided by 1, 2 or 3 capsules. This will help you choose the supplement that provides the best value for your money
  • Source- depending on personal beliefs/preferences, you can check if the supplement is suitable for vegetarians/vegans or if it contains animal products (eg. gelatine)

Apart from a diet high in choline, supplementation can help meet recommended levels to ensure adequate choline is available to meet the body’s needs. Alpha GPC benefits stem from its rapid absorption, ease of entry into the brain and high choline content. It can provide benefits for your body and increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. 

references

  1. Nutrient Search Tool (n.d.). Foods highest in Choline. [online] Nutrition Data. 
  2. Arias, N. et al. (2020). The Relationship between Choline Bioavailability from Diet, Intestinal Microbiota Composition, and Its Modulation of Human Diseases. Nutrients, [online] 12(8).
  3. Showell, B.A. et al. (2007). Determination of Cooking Yields and Nutrient Retention Factors of Choline in Meat Products. The FASEB Journal, 21(5).
  4. Wallace, T.C. et al. (2019). Choline: The Neurocognitive Essential Nutrient of Interest to Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 17(6), pp.733–752.
  5. Frank, K. et al. (2022). Alpha-GPC Research Analysis. examine.com. [online]
  6. Parnetti, L. et al. (2007). Cholinergic precursors in the treatment of cognitive impairment of vascular origin: Ineffective approaches or need for re-evaluation? Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 257(1-2), pp.264–269.
  7. Frank, K. et al. (2022). CDP-choline Research Analysis. examine.com. [online] 
  8. Di Perri, R. et al. (1991). A multicentre trial to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine versus cytosine diphosphocholine in patients with vascular dementia. J Int Med Res, 19(4):330-341.
  9. Moreno, M. (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, [online] 25(1), pp.178–193.
  10. Clark, W.M. et al. (1999). A Randomized Efficacy Trial of Citicoline in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke. Stroke, 30(12), pp.2592–2597.
  11. Tabassum, S. et al. (2017). Chronic choline supplementation improves cognitive and motor performance via modulating oxidative and neurochemical status in rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, [online] 159, pp.90–99.
  12. Harvard TH Chan (2020). Choline. [online] The Nutrition Source. 
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