Alpha GPC Benefits vs CDP Choline Benefits
When it comes to essential nutrients, choline is a frontrunner in keeping the brain and body healthy. Choline plays a crucial role in the synthesis of cell membranes, which then uptake nutrients of their own
Within the brain, choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps maintain proper memory muscle function. The importance of proper choline levels becomes paramount in aging populations when synthesis of acetylcholine slows down, causing memory and cognitive function to decline rapidly.
In less severe stages and cases, the impact of age on memory is used as a joke or excuse when someone forgets something, but in more severe cases, the memory loss can be devastating.
Choline can only be absorbed through diet. Certain foods like eggs and meat are higher in choline than others, but these are also the same foods that have been vilified and wrongly accused of causing many other diseases. As a result, many Americans are choline deficient, with an estimated 10% or fewer men, women, and children get the recommended daily amounts of choline. This especially becomes problematic for vegetarians and vegans who do not have these foods in their diet.
When there is a choline deficiency, the body prioritizes construction of cell membranes, leaving brain function on the back burner. In addition to eating more choline-rich foods, choline supplements are a solid way to increase choline intake, especially in aging groups. Two popular supplements with high bioavailability are CDP Choline and Alpha GPC. Even though they’re technically different, both are effective since they occur at different stages in choline’s metabolic breakdown.
What are CDP Choline and Alpha GPC?
The body turns choline into CDP Choline, which is then broken down into phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine is the body’s choline warehouse of sorts. It can help both with the cell membrane creation, but also creates acetylcholine when necessary.
Alpha GPC is on the opposite end of the process from CDP choline. Alpha GPC is a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine instead of a precursor. Basically, what this all means is that in the process of choline metabolism, CDP choline is closer to the original choline source and Alpha GPC is closer to the form used by the cells.
So if they’re both part of the same process and help produce the same neurotransmitters in the end, which is better for brain health?
That’s actually a tough question that’s up for debate. There have only been two studies directly comparing the two when injected intramuscularly. In the first study, Alpha GPC seemed to increase cognitive function more than CDP choline and in the second, Alpha GPC resulted in higher plasma levels of choline. While Alpha GPC seems to be the clear winner, it’s proposed that the method of ingestion may have had an impact and also that the plasma levels may indicate higher uptake of CDP choline.
When not compared head to head, both Alpha GPC and CDP choline have been proven to be effective. Given the inconsistency in a superior supplement, the best course of action is to simply test them out. You can start with either one for a couple weeks, then switch. If one worked better than the other did for you, you’ve got a winner! You could also use them concurrently to ensure that the entire process is covered.