Alpha GPC vs CDP Choline: Which is the Best Choline for the Brain?

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Typically, most people focus on the physical when it comes to their health—however, the WHO defines health as encompassing your physical, mental and social well-being. The brain controls all body functions, and if the brain is not healthy, the rest of the body will suffer.

These days, people are looking to caretake their overall health, emphasizing brain function. As a result, dietary supplements highlight choline sources and vital components of brain health. Alpha-GPC and CDP choline are the most popular nootropic compounds that produce choline on the market today.

Each of these choline sources has its advantages. But if you have to choose between Alpha GPC vs. CDP choline, which one is best for your brain’s function?

What are Nootropics?

Ever heard of the terms “cognitive enhancers,” “memory enhancers,” or “smart drugs”? These terms represent a group of substances, also called nootropics, altering a person’s brain functions. Although each of these substances enhances cognitive function, the process through which they do so varies.

All nootropics have one thing in common – they alter the chemical messengers in your brain, which can enhance its function. However, some nootropics work better in pairs, and this is called a nootropic stack.

A nootropic stack creates a better synergy in enhancing your brain’s health. You can stack substances that improve alertness, cognition, learning, and sensory perception.

Nootropics aren’t single-use, and their effectiveness will manifest depending on how frequently you use them. They also come in two forms: natural and synthetic.

Choline Explained

Choline can be defined as a water-soluble molecule related to the B-vitamin – it’s a precursor to acetylcholine. This chemical is neither a vitamin nor mineral but can be termed as an essential nutrient. Choline occurs naturally in the body but needs to be supplemented because your body can’t synthesize enough choline on its own.

Foods that contain choline include salmon, beef, brussel sprouts, liver, and eggs. Choline is essential because it’s required in most body functions, including muscle movement, liver function, brain function and development, nerve function, and cellular metabolism.

When it comes to your brain’s function, choline is used to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps keep you focused and maintains your memory, mood, and sleep patterns.

A choline shortage in your body may lead to memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, mood swings, difficulty walking, and learning dysfunctions.

Who Should Take Choline?

Choline can benefit anyone who needs cognitive enhancement, including students, people with demanding jobs, and anyone over 45 years. Choline will help you stay alert longer and have a better memory.

Many nootropic supplements can help enhance the amount of choline in your brain, but we’ll focus on Alpha-GPC and CDP choline.


Alpha-GPC (L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) is commonly found in soy and sunflower lecithin. This nootropic stack consists of a combination of glycerophosphate and choline. Alpha-GPC presents as a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC) in the body and, when supplemented, quickly enters your brain. Alpha-GPC contains more choline (around 40%) than its counterpart.

Sometimes the choline levels in your brain will drop, and your body will then synthesize PC to form more Alpha-GPC. Alpha-GPC is the most useful as it directly provides the choline your body needs to make acetylcholine.

Alpha GPC performs several other functions, including:

  • Enhancing nerve growth in the brain
  • Stimulates the release of dopamine
  • Increases production of human growth hormone

Once introduced into the bloodstream, Alpha-GPC easily crosses the blood-brain barrier to supply your brain with choline. This choline is then converted into acetylcholine. Because Alpha-GPC is more like choline’s parent, the body handles its intake well, and it’s rare to experience any side effects from it.

alpha gpc vs cdp choline


Alpha-GPC’s benefits are derived chiefly from introducing choline into the brain. Alpha-GPC is a cognitive enhancer and has been shown to aid learning and information retention.

This chemical also helps reduce the effects of cognitive disorders, especially those caused by aging. This is because the brain uses Alpha-GPC to make phospholipids essential in keeping brain cells healthy.

Alpha-GPC has improved muscle movement, a serious advantage for athletic performance. In addition, it helps athletes improve their motor skills, leading to faster reaction times needed to secure wins. Athletes prefer increasing their choline intake using Alpha-GPC because of its effect on athletic performance.

Alpha-GPC is also beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients concerning cognitive function. This disease attacks brain neurons and depletes acetylcholine, affecting the patients’ mental performance. Taking Alpha-GPC supplements helps delay the onset of this disease when caught early. It’s also valuable for dementia patients because it boosts memory by promoting blood flow to the brain.


With its high amounts of choline, Alpha-GPC often comes with a higher price. This stack costs more than other nootropics with the same function, including CDP choline.

CDP choline

This compound is also known as citicoline and is also found in the brain. In most dietary supplements, CDP choline is referred to as Cognizin. This is because it’s made from a combination of choline and cytidine. CDP choline is mainly produced when the brain converts choline into phosphatidylcholine. During this conversion, acetylcholine is formed.

CDP choline carries around 20-25% choline and, despite the low concentration, is more effective than choline alone because citicoline readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. CDP choline is one of the components used in making RNA and regenerating new cells. CDP choline has several uses, including acting as a memory booster and enhancing focus, vision, and learning among people.

Citicoline is also very useful in transporting dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter that helps you feel motivated and enhances your mood.

Its supplements can be used to manage Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain functioning issues related to aging. 


CDP choline is used to make acetylcholine, and most of its advantages stem from this synthesis. Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter in the Central Nervous System that aids in main body functions such as digestion, muscle movements, and breathing.

Because of these functions, CDP choline is responsible for effective communication and learning, including speech, memory, focus, and understanding.

This chemical is also responsible for reducing brain fog, boosting mental energy, and enhancing your working memory. Consequently, taking CDP choline can help slow down the cognitive decline of aging.

Because it is a memory booster, CDP choline can act as an antidepressant in depressed patients. It also boosts your metabolism by helping you burn calories and digest food.


Unlike other nootropics, CDP choline seems to have a more negligible effect on enhancing physical productivity and athletic performance. Therefore, because you can stack nootropics, mixing this compound with a physically enhancing nootropic can be an excellent idea because you can stack nootropics.

Too much choline can lead to liver damage, low blood pressure, and heavy sweating. CDP choline is also not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. 

What is the Difference Between Alpha GPC vs. CDP choline?

We have seen numerous similarities between the two in that both are nootropic stacks, and both can cross the blood-brain barrier. In addition, alpha-GPC and CDP choline also work to increase the levels of acetylcholine in the brain to enhance cognitive function. So, where does the difference lie?

The first difference comes in the amount of choline found in both nootropic stacks. Alpha-GPC, for instance, consists of 40% choline, while CDP choline only contains about 25% of choline. This means that introducing Alpha-GPC into the bloodstream will introduce more choline.

Studies also show better results in enhanced cognitive function for CDP choline users over Alpha-GPC users. CDP choline is also more effective in improving cognitive function than Alpha-GPC because its production promotes the production of mitochondria.

Mitochondria provide energy to our cells, and their increase promotes energy metabolism, which rejuvenates a person in the long run.

Difference in Dosage

Another big difference is the dosage required to boost choline uptake. When it comes to Alpha-GPC, a daily 150mg dosage is enough, although the daily recommendation is 300mg. The recommended citicoline dosage is between 250mg and 700 mg daily.

Differences in Side Effects

Anything foreign that’s introduced into the body will have some side effects. CDP choline, for instance, can cause effects such as chest pains, blurred vision, stomach issues, dizziness, and headaches.

For Alpha-GPC, effects may include confusion, heartburn, headaches, and dizziness. Knowing what side effects to look out for can be helpful when deciding whether to lower your dosage or discontinue your use altogether.

Which One Would You Choose?

Both Alpha-GPC and CDP choline can improve your cognitive performance – choosing between the two depends on your personal needs and preferences. Alpha-GPC offers more bioavailable choline, and CDP choline works like two cognitive enhancers in one.

Final Thoughts

When looking at Alpha-GPC vs. CDP choline, both supplements will help you boost your mental performance. But do you need a supplement to defy age-related mental complications? Or would you like to enhance your physical and athletic performance? Asking these questions can help you make your final decision.

Because each of these substances has unique advantages, you can choose to leverage the benefits of both by stacking the supplements with the help of a doctor. Thanks for reading!

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