GPC (GlyceroPhosphoCholine): Versatile Life Support Nutrient
Parris Kidd, Ph.D.
Parris M. Kidd, PhD is a cell biologist trained at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco. Since entering the dietary supplement field in 1983, he has published many in-depth reviews of integrative medicine in the journal Alternative Medicine Reviews, and is science columnist for totalhealth magazine. Dr. Kidd is internationally recognized for his accomplishments in dietary supplement product development, documentation and quality control. His website is www.dockidd.com.
GPC or GlyceroPhosphoCholine (pronounced gli-sero-fos-fo-ko-lean) is a nutrient with many different roles in human health. It reaches extremely high concentrations within our cells, and its abundance in mother's milk suggests it is crucial to life processes.
Clinically, GPC has been most intensively researched for its brain benefits. Biologically, it has great importance for the skeletal "voluntary" muscles, the autonomic nervous system, kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs. GPC goes beyond being a brain nutrient; it is a nutrient for vitality and long life.
Marked Benefits to the Brain
As a dietary supplement, GPC's brain benefits are unique. It boosts mental performance in healthy young people, as shown by three double-blind trials. In trials on middle aged subjects, GPC improved several physiologic measures of mental performance: reaction time, visual evoked potential, and EEG delta slow waves.
In the elderly, GPC improves mental performance and provides noticeable revitalisation. In 11 human trials with 1,799 patients, memory, attention, and other cognitive measures improved. So did mood (including irritability and emotional lability), and patients often developed renewed interest in relatives and friends. GPC was well tolerated, and generated no bad drug interactions. A large trial on elderly subjects with memory challenges published in 2003 concluded GPC had significant benefits for these individuals.
GPC Supports Normal Brain Function
Circulatory deprivation or surgery can challenge healthy brain function. GPC can speed recovery and support improved quality of life. In four trials with GPC on 2,804 subjects who experienced difficulties under these circumstances, up to 95% showed good or excellent improvement. GPC consistently improved space-time orientation, degree of consciousness, language, motor capacity, and overall quality of life. The investigators concluded GPC offered marked benefits, with an excellent benefit-to-risk profile.
Up to half of patients who survive bypass surgery experience problems with memory and other mental performance. A double-blind trial conducted with bypass survivors for six months determined that the GPC group had no remaining memory deterioration, while the placebo group failed to improve.
GPC Works Through Multiple Mechanisms
GPC supports human health through a variety of mechanisms:
1. It helps keep choline and acetylcholine available to the tissues. Choline is an essential nutrient and GPC appears to be the body's main choline reservoir. GPC in mother's milk represents the baby's main source of dietary choline.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important substance employed extensively throughout the body. ACh is a major brain transmitter; the motor nerves use ACh to drive the skeletal ("voluntary") muscles; the autonomic nervous system uses it to pace all the organs. ACh is also central to mental and physical endurance, and mind-body coordination.
2. GPC is a major cell-level protectant, not as another antioxidant but in pivotal roles of osmotic pressure regulator and metabolic antitoxin. GPC for osmotic regulation can reach very high concentrations in the kidney, bladder, liver, brain, and other organs. As metabolic protectant, GPC shields proteins against urea buildup.
3. GPC is a major reservoir for cell membrane omega-3 phospholipids. These substances are the major building blocks for cell membranes. Enzymes couple GPC with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, to make the phospholipid PC-DHA. This makes membranes especially fluid, enabling membrane proteins to perform with better efficiency.
GPC produces PC-DHA in the skeletal muscles, wherein fluidity is essential for contraction. Muscles that function abnormally can show GPC deficiency.
4. GPC contributes to both male and female in reproduction. As spermatozoa mature, GPC is used to make PC-DHA that makes their membranes fluid to enable motility. With men, the lower their semen GPC the greater the likelihood of poor sperm motility and with it, infertility.
Once semen is inserted into the female, an enzyme in uterine secretions breaks down the semen's GPC into substances that energize the sperm to achieve fertilization.
Dosing, Safety, Tolerability, Compatibility
Oral intake of GPC in the clinical trials was usually 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day, taken early in the day on an empty stomach. A reasonable dietary supplementation regimen is 1200 mg/day, taken in divided doses (AM and PM) between meals for 15-30 days, and thereafter 600 mg/day for maintenance. Symptomatic subjects can take 1200 mg/day until adequate improvement is achieved. Young, healthy subjects may experience benefit from daily intakes as low as 300 milligrams.
GPC is very safe, being compatible with vitamins and nutrients and with pharmaceuticals. In clinical trial comparisons, GPC's benefits surpassed the nutrients acetylcarnitine and CDP-choline.
GPC: Nutrient for All Ages
GPC is unmatched for its support of active living and healthy aging. In some 23 clinical trials GPC improved mental performance in all functional categories. GPC can revitalize the aging brain, facilitating growth hormone (GH) release and boosting nerve growth factor actions.
GPC's ample presence in human mother's milk suggests it could be conditionally essential. By supporting mental integrity, mind-body integration, the autonomic system, and the body's other organs, GPC enhances the active lifestyle. GPC is remarkable nutritional support for optimal health at any age.
Disclaimer: the above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider.