Out of the essential nutrients required to keep the brain and the body healthy, choline is considered a vital one. Choline is especially vital in the synthesis of cell membranes, and within the brain, choline is a precursor to Acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter that helps with maintaining proper memory function.
As the human body ages the natural process of Acetylcholine synthesis slows down, and it becomes very important to get enough choline in your system through either supplementation or your diet.
Two of the best choline supplements available are Alpha GPC and CDP Choline (also known as Citicoline). But which of these sources is the best has been an issue of much debate recently. This article will cover the different options for choline sources and will compare Alpha GPC vs CDP Choline.
Between 300mg to 1,200mg per day
Generally Regarded as Safe
Acetylcholine is an organic molecule that acts as a neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system. Acetylcholine is essential for memory formation, learning, and mental attention. When levels are low, thoughts can be sluggish, forming new memories or accessing old memories can be difficult, and you may experience “brain fog.”
Acetylcholine is unable to cross the protective membrane separating the bloodstream from the brain (the blood-brain barrier) so supplementing directly with Acetylcholine does nothing to raise levels in the brain. Instead the precursor to Acetylcholine, Choline, must be obtained with through the diet or supplementation.
Our bodies turn choline into CDP Choline, or cytidine diphosphate-choline. CDP choline increases dopamine receptor densities in the brain.
The CDP Choline or Citicoline is then broken down into phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine helps with cell membrane creation in the body, and also creates more Acetylcholine when necessary. On the other hand, Alpha GPC is a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine instead of a precursor.
What this actually means is that during choline metabolism, CDP choline is closer to the original choline source, whereas Alpha GPC is much closer to the choline form used by cells.
Since both Alpha GPC and CDP Choline are part of the same process, it is reasonable to ask which is then better for brain health?
Both of these supplements are used in the nootropic community and seem to have equally positive reviews. As of now, this question is not easy to answer, and is still a very hot topic for debate. Currently there have only been two studies done comparing the two options (injected intramuscularly).
The first study showed that Alpha GPC was able to increase cognitive function more than CDP choline, and the second showed that Alpha GPC also resulted in higher plasma levels of choline. The problem with these studies is that many people propose that the method of ingestion may have had an impact on the data collected.
Between 250 - 2,000 mg per day
Rated Likely Safe
When looking at the two supplements individually, it’s quite clear that both have been proven to be effective. Alpha GPC works differently than CDP choline does. Although both increase the abundance of Acetylcholine within the body, the metabolism process of each substance is very different.
CDP choline works as an intermediate to Acetylcholine, whereas Acetylcholine is a by-product in the breakdown process of Alpha GPC. Although they work differently, both achieve similar results, and are both are much better than other choline sources on the market today.
Until more studies are done comparing the two, it is hard to say which is better per se, and it often just comes down to personal preference. Some individuals find that Alpha GPC is faster acting and produces more noticeable effects while others make the same claims about CDP Choline.
You can even do a little test of your own. Try them both out. Start with either one for a couple of weeks, then switch over to the other. If one worked better, then you know the correct choice for you. Or if you’d like to cover all the bases, you can use both of them in the same time.
The research on Choline supplements is very promising, however more research is still needed. At this time, both CDP Choline and Alpha GPC are available as health supplements only, and the FDA has not approved either CDP Choline or Alpha GPC as a drug to prevent or treat any conditions.
Alpha GPC is about 13% more expensive per 50 milligrams than DPC choline. Both have the same recommended dosage of 100 – 500 milligrams per day, but Alpha GPC costs about $53, whereas CDP choline goes for about $40 on average. Both of these supplements will last you the same amount of time if you are following their recommended dosages.
The price difference is not too large, so the choice really comes down to personal preference. Try one out and if it doesn’t really do it for you, switch over to the other.
One reason to go with Alpha GPC over CDP Choline is if you’re breastfeeding. Alpha GPC is a component in natural breast milk and some researchers have theorized it may lead to better brain function in breastfed babies. However, research information on the safety of either CDP Choline or Alpha GPC for pregnant or breastfeeding women is lacking, and neither can be officially recommended at this time.
Both of these options are highly effective when stacked, especially with racetams which create a higher demand for Acetylcholine.
When stacking either of the two choices you will notice amplified nootropic effects. Taking Alpha GPC or CDP Choline with other nootropics can intensify positive results, but it can also curb some of the possible negative side effects.
If you are using a nootropic stack that is occasionally causing you headaches or fatigue, adding Alpha GPC or CDP choline may eliminate these side effects. Some of the recommended racetams to stack these supplements with are: Piracetam, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, and Noopept.
As mentioned previously, when deciding between CDP Choline vs Alpha GPC, it all really comes down to personal preference. The best way to make a determination is to see which of the two options actually has the better effect on you.
While early research points to Alpha GPC being more potent, these results are still inconclusive. Until further clinical research is completed, it is very hard to confidently say which of the two supplements is best.
Top Rated Alpha GPC Supplements
|Absonitrix Lyfetrition 300mg Alpha GPC 60 Capsules Nootropic Brain Memory Focus Pills *||$15.95|
|Alpha GPC by Vitamonk - Made in USA - 60 Alpha-GPC Capsules - 325mg - NO Artificial Fillers *||$19.99|
|Alpha GPC Choline Supplement, Pharmaceutical Grade, (60 Capsules 300 mg) *||$19.90|
|Alpha GPC | 250mg 60 Capsules | Raises Brain Choline Levels *||$32.82|
|Alpha GPC | Choline alfoscerate *||$24.99|
|Alpha GPC, 300 mg, 90 Veggie Capsules - SHARP GPC - A Natural Source of Choline (1) *||$29.90|
|Bulksupplements Pure Choline DL-Bitartrate Powder (500 grams) *||$17.96|
|Douglas Laboratories® - Alpha-GPC - Supports Neurological Health* - 60 Capsules *||$48.20|
|Jarrow Formulas Alpha GPC, Supports Brain Function, 300mg, 60 Veggie Caps *||$21.53|
|Jarrow Formulas Citicoline, Supports Brain Function, 250 mg, 120 Caps *||$31.71|
|NATURE'S WAY Choline 500mg 100 Tablets *||$9.82|
|Nootropics Depot Alpha-GPC 50% Powder 30G 30 Grams *||--|
|Now Foods Alpha GPC 300 mg - 60 Vcaps 3 Pack *||--|
|Now Foods Alpha Gpc 300mg, Veg-Capsules, 60-Count *||$21.94|
|NOW Foods Choline and Inositol, 100 Capsules / 500mg (Pack of 2) *||$16.15|
|Powder City Alpha GPC 50% Powder (50 Grams) *||$19.89|
|Powder City Alpha GPC Capsules 300mg (180 Capsules) *||$38.85|
|Pure Encapsulations - Alpha-GPC Supplement - 60 Capsules *||$46.90|
(* = affiliate link / image source: Amazon partner program)