Alpha GPC and Citicoline for mood
Choline is not only an essential nutrient for the body and brain, but vitally important if you are supplementing with cholinergics like the racetams. Citicoline and Alpha GPC are considered two of the most popular and effective of choline sources with which to supplement. One of the most bio-available forms of choline is Alpha GPC. L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine or choline alfoscerate, as it is also known is a naturally occuring nootropic that possesses stand alone nootropic benefits as well as being a powerful synergizing compound. It is also found endogenously in our body in small amounts and is manufactured as an extract, a highly purified form of soy lecithin. Lecithin is the brain building nutrient found in eggs, dairy, meat and wheat germ). Alpha GPC is an intermediate form of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter that is responsible for learning, memory and movement related tasks.
Our brain is made of and fed by choline, a fatty phospholipid substance very similar to the supplement Alpha GPC. Alpha GPC has been shown in studies to have significant nootropic properties, from memory and cognition enhancement to neuroprotection against cognitive decline related to brain aging. Multiple clinical trials and research studies utilizing thousands of participants have shown it to be an effective supplement to slow age-related memory loss that have been associated with a range of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and transient ischemic attack or stroke. Some studies suggest it may also be useful in the treatment of anxiety.
Certain preliminary studies suggest that it may also act as a dopaminergic, promoting the release of the hormone dopamine. This could suggest potential at slowing certain neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s as well as it being a possible mood booster
BENEFITS AND EFFECTS of Alpha GPC
- Memory enhancement: Alpha GPC is primarily used as a mental enhancer for its ability to improve memory. Some studies even suggest it may be an effective treatment for memory loss related to multiple age-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of dementia. This is further supported by a study finding GPC effective at restoring memory in healthy young volunteers following temporary chemically-induced amnesia.
- Energy booster: GPC is also used to boost energy levels and is popular as a body building or sports supplement for this reason. Some studies suggest it may speed up body recovery from strenuous exercise as well.
Neuroprotectant: Alpha GPC is considered rejuvenating. It assists in the natural replacement of damaged cells.
- Increased strength and rapid post-exertion recovery: Alpha GPC also increases levels of human growth hormone and a recent study recorded a 600 mg dose of Alpha GPC taken 90 minutes before bench pressing increased power by 14%.
Alpha GPC is a popular choline source for many nootropic aficionados, who find that despite it being a bit more expensive than cheaper forms, the effects, including its rapid and reliable bioavailability and effectiveness are excellent for combining with racetam supplements.
Choline supplements are even being researched as a possible adjunct therapy for depression and anxiety. After much anecdotal evidence of fish oil, b vitamin and choline supplementation being linked to lower anxiety and improved mood, some initial studies have put forth the possibility that this is due to the correlation between acetylcholine (our learning, memory and movement neurotransmitter) and GABA (our primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and natural stress regulator). Low choline levels can be associated with anxiety and when our brain produces more acetylcholine it tends to produce more GABA. Between this and the dopaminergic effect of acetylcholine, a mood boost accompanying the memory effects would not be too surprising.
CITICOLINE FOR MOOD
Citicoline is also a choline source that, unlike choline bitartate or other choline supplements lower on the food chain, has stand alone nootropic benefits in addition to providing not only choline support your brain craves but some dopaminergic activity. Citicoline is a precursor to both choline and dopamine so increased energy, productivity, motivation and focus may accompany increased levels of dopamine which is the pleasure, wakefulness and reward-feedback neurotransmitter. Dopamine spills out when you feel accomplished or do something you enjoy or love.
When we are low in dopamine it results in sluggishness, negative mood, even depression and many people may self-medicate using caffeine, sugar, illicit drugs or other means. Many of these short-circuit our brain into trading the positive reward-feedback cycle for addictive behavior which often further depletes stores of dopamine resulting in a negative loop.
Citicoline works naturally to safely increase levels of dopamine available to the brain by increasing the level of dopamine and the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. This may be the reason citicoline has been considered a possible safe therapy for those living with substance abuse and addiction issues.
According to a 2014 narrative review of nine clinical studies of citicoline related to addiction and substance abuse citicoline is neuroprotective agent with efficacy against neurological disorders like stroke and dementia. It works through influencing acetylcholine, dopamine and glutamate (the primary excitatory neurotransmitter) systems. It has neuroprotective benefits including increasing the integrity of neuronal membranes. Citicoline may be beneficial to those experiencing cravings, withdrawal symptoms and issues with proper cognitive functioning that are related to the neurotoxic and psychological effect of abusing drugs.
The review showed that most addiction cases studied with citicoline were related to cocaine use. Citicoline was shown to be safe and well tolerated as well as to decrease cravings which resulted in decreased ingestion. There is also a limited amount of evidence that suggests citicoline may be helpful in reducing alcohol dependence.
The researchers concluded that despite a limited amount of data to draw fom, citicoline’s safety and effectiveness “suggests promising results. Future research should employ larger sample sizes, increased dosing, and more complex study designs.”
Choline is an essential nutrient that 92% of the world is at least partially deficient in. As a result, it may be useful to supplement with choline if you’re not getting enough in your diet. Any cholinergic usage may result in some negative side effects such as headaches and brain fog if you are already deficient in dietary choline. Supplementing with a high quality choline source and ensuring that you’re receiving plenty of choline in your diet is the best bet to avoiding this. Luckily there are very few side effects associated with choline, since it is an essential nutrient. Some gastric discomfort (gas pains, bloating or nausea) are most reported. In some rare cases overuse of GPC has been reported to be linked to brain fog and mood issues. This is primarily anecdotal currently, but it’s always best to stick to minimal effective dosage with any supplement. Recommended dosage of Alpha GPC is 250-600mg up to three or four times a day. Citicoline is recommended at 250-1000mg up to twice a day, separated by about 8 to 12 hours between doses.
Always consult with your doctor before embarking on any change in your health and wellness regimen, especially if you’re on any over-the-counter or prescription medicines or being treated for any pre-existing condition.