Alpha-GPC: Improving Sports and Cognitive Performance Before Training

Alpha-GPC: Improving Sports and Cognitive Performance Before Training

Alpha-GPC (Alpha-glycertlphosphorylcholine or sometimes just glycerylphosphorylcholine) as nootropic supplement that can be used before training to improve the athlete’s concentration

This is because it is both a nootropic and ergogenic brain stimulant, a performance enhancer.

Alpha GPC for Sports and Cognitive Support

Due to its interesting properties for sports performance, Alpha-GPC (glycerylphosphorylcholine), is being incorporated in pre-workout supplements. On the other hand, its use as a supplement to enhance cognitive capacity is indisputable, and therefore, used in combination with other ingredients achieving a synergistic result.

Alpha GPC for Sports and Cognitive Support

It is a supplement containing choline, an essential nutrient classified among the B vitamins and a precursor of acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine, neurotransmitters involved in such important functions during exercise as memory and muscle control

Alpha GPC is a nootropic cholinergic supplement: it is a phospholipid containing choline that is used as a precursor for both the synthesis of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter, and the synthesis of phospholipids

Supplementation with Alpha-GPC

Even though Alpha GPC is in a variety of natural foods such as liver, milk, oats, eggs, cod or red meat, most people are deficient in choline because the amount of this nutrient is lacking in some foods:

It does not exceed 100mg per 100g of food, which is not necessary to be pharmacologically active and have an ergogenic effect in sport.

Choline is extremely important for healthy growth and development, so it is now available in the form of supplements such as Alpha GPC

Plasma membrane

In addition to being the most efficient choline precursor, secondary to this function, but no less important, due to the provision of glycerophosphate (GP), it also appears to support the structure of cell membranes, which is not a common mechanism attributed to choline precursors

Brain health

Alpha-GPC supplementation slows the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly and in people with Alzheimers at high doses (1200 mg spread over 3 doses during the day).

Alpha GPC brain health

It also supports the functioning of the brain and the following benefits are important:

  • Learning ability
  • Improved memory functions
  • Neuroprotection
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Thinking skills
  • Helps prevent stroke
Linked to these, the ergogenic effects on exercise by the Alpha GPC also exist

Alpha-GPC in Exercise

Although the evidence in this regard is moderate, the results classify it as an interesting supplement in subjects who are highly experienced in their sport, who will benefit most from an increase in concentration, among other benefits.

In particular, in short efforts near the individual maximum power developed, either in sports where speed predominates as the main control variable (e.g. speed cycling) or in sports where speed to generate force and isometric strength is more important (e.g. weightlifting, powerlifting).

The inclusion of Alpha-GPC for 3-6 days of training can improve performance by 3-14%.

Strength sports

Strength sports will benefit most from the use of Alpha-GPC; this also applies to explosion and power activities (CrossFit, Athletics…)

Alpha GPC and Growth Hormone (GH) Enhancement

Human growth hormone or HGH is an anabolic peptide hormone. The main purpose of this hormone is to promote muscle growth. In addition to this, HGH is also responsible for increasing protein synthesis, energy levels and cell repair.

Alpha GPC plays an important role in stimulating the production of human growth hormone in the anterior pituitary gland

Many of the positive adaptations that result from resistance exercise training (i.e. increased muscle mass and strength, decreased fat mass) are mediated, in part, by exercise-induced increases in growth hormone (GH).

Consumption of Alpha GPC is related to increased levels of Growth Hormone

Alpha GPC growth hormone

In this way, another notable effect would be to accelerate muscle recovery in addition to obtaining a peak in strength and contributing to muscle development

The secretion of growth hormone in response to stimulation (via GHRH) is amplified with the administration of Alpha-GPC, and although it is effective in both young and old people, it seems that older people experience a greater relative increase (due to having less production initially)


A trial of healthy adults given 1,000mg of Alpha-GPC found that plasma choline increased at 30-120 minutes (returning to the start of the study at 4 hours) and that the increase in growth hormone was only reported at 60 minutes, which normalized at 120 minutes.

Another study has reported that 600mg of Alpha-GPC taken 45 minutes before physical exercise is able to increase the peak of exercise-induced growth hormone.

The increase appeared to be significantly greater than placebo when measured immediately and up to 15 minutes after exercise ceased, normalising to 60 minutes

Increased strength and power

Alpha-GPC is effective when it comes to increasing force production after six days of supplementation. This is very beneficial for speed and power athletes, as well as raising interest among fitness enthusiasts and athletes to improve their physical performance.

In fact, tests reveal that power can be increased by around 14%, when 600mg of Alpha-GPC was administered prior to a power test to one group while placebos were administered to another group

Increased fat burning

Supplementation with Alpha GPC can also aid in the fat-burning process, and support lipid metabolism. This is due to the role of choline as a lipotropic nutrient.

Although not the most effective weight loss supplement, it can be of particular interest. Choline also helps with the pathology of fatty liver (fat accumulation in this organ). Healthy levels of this nutrient ensure that fatty acids are available to the cellular mitochondria, which can convert these fats into ATP or energy.

EIn trials, this effect seems to be achieved by providing high doses, around 1000g of alpha gpc

How can I take Alpha-GPC?


The optimum standard dose of Alpha-GPC shown in sport is 300 – 600mg, which expressed as a quantity relative to body weight would be 4.8 – 9.6 mg/kg weight (for people with normal or low fat).


It is recommended to take 30-60 minutes before the (almost) maximum effort; furthermore, 3-6 days are necessary to achieve a significant effect.

Contraindications to Taking Alpha GPC

Certain symptoms may be experienced if the recommended dose is not taken. These side effects include: heartburn, migraines and dizziness. Sometimes, an inadequate dose can also lead to anxiety and confusion. Most of the side effects associated with Alpha-GPC are dose-dependent.

They can be avoided by adjusting to the appropriate doses. As mentioned above, the standard dose for athletes and bodybuilders is between 300-600mg, while for patients with mental disorders it would be 1200mg in three doses of 400mg each


  • Alpha GCP is the most effective cholinergic supplement as it offers increased bioavailability. It is therefore easily absorbed by the body. It also contains more choline by weight, which is why the same dose of Alpha GCP will produce better results than other precursors.
  • The benefits of Alpha GPC also include improved mood, better mental health and better recovery from brain injuries, resulting in better sports performance.
  • Some studies have also observed an increase in growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation rate; however, the measures were taken in the acute phase (45-120 min after ingestion) and were not assessed beyond that period of time.
The improvements in performance observed in experienced athletes make it interesting to include them as ergogenic supplements to increase concentration (and, consequently, performance) before tests or (almost) maximum efforts that are relatively short in duration


  1. Bellar, D., LeBlanc, N. R., & Campbell, B. (2015). The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 1-6.
  2. Lodish, H., Berk, A., Kaiser, C. A., Krieger, M., Bretscher, A., Ploegh, H., & Amon, A. (2014). Biologia celular y molecular. Artmed Editora.
  3. Nitsch, R., Pittas, A., Blusztajn, J. K., Slack, B. E., Growdon, J. H., & Wurtman, R. J. (1990). Alterations of phospholipid metabolites in postmortem brain from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 640, 110-113.
  4. Ziegenfuss, T., Landis, J., & Hofheins, J. (2008). Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5(1), 1-2.
  5. Ceda GP, Ceresini G, Denti L, Marzani G, Piovani E, Banchini A, Tarditi E, Valenti G. (1992). Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to GHRH of young and elderly subjects.
  6. Kawamura T, Okubo T, Sato K, Fujita S, Goto K, Hamaoka T, Iemitsu M.(2012). Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults.
  7. Marcus L, Soileau J, Judge LW, Bellar D (2017). Evaluation of the effects of two doses of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on physical and psychomotor performance.

Related Entries

Review Alpha-GPC

Acetylcholine Precursor - 100%

Increased Concentration - 98%

Increased Growth Hormone levels - 85%

Increased Strength - 95%

Aided Fat Loss - 90%


HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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