Does Alpha-GPC Really Increase Dopamine Levels?

Written on February 8, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci


A lot of people are looking for ways to increase dopamine in the brain, but is Alpha GPC the answer? Does it increase dopamine levels in the brain?

Alpha GPC is a form of choline that has powerful cognitive effects. It helps to transport choline to the brain and boosts the production of acetylcholine, as well as dopamine, calcium, and cell membrane phospholipids.

Alpha GPC will improve dopamine levels, which can help with mood and brain function.

In this article, I'll take a closer look at the Alpha GPC effects on dopamine.

So without further ado, let's just get straight into it, shall we?

How Alpha-GPC Affects Dopamine in The Brain

Alpha-GPC is a choline compound that increases the brain's synthesis of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.

It also facilitates the release and uptake of other key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

This helps to boost attention span and mental focus, improve memory formation and recall capacity, increase motivation and drive, increase the ability to learn complex tasks, and more.

Alpha-GPC plays a role in the reward circuits of the brain.

It has been shown to increase dopamine levels independent of whether it is injected, ingested orally, or combined with other supplements such as caffeine and L-theanine (found naturally in green tea).

By increasing catecholamine activity within neurons that release these neurotransmitters, Alpha-GPC can enhance mood and decrease feelings of stress.

Alpha-GPC is also known to have neuroprotective properties on brain cells by blocking NMDA receptors in the hippocampus region, which protects neurons from glutamate toxicity.

Why Dopamine is Important

alpha-gpc-dopamine

Dopamine is responsible for our survival.

It plays a prominent role in the brain’s limbic system, which controls emotions and behavior including motivation, pleasure-seeking behaviors (such as eating), moods, sexual behavior, and feelings of well-being.

Dopamine is important in the brain’s reward pathway, which reinforces behaviors that ensure our survival and reproduction.

The dopamine pathways associated with motivation have been called the “seeking circuit.”

If a rat can turn on this seeking system by pressing a lever or pulling a chain to get food pellets, it will keep pressing the lever again and again – to the exclusion of all other activities.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that serves as a chemical messenger between neurons, or nerve cells in the brain.

It helps control the movement of muscles throughout our body, from breathing to heart rate and digestion.

Dopamine also helps us feel pleasure and motivates many behaviors that are necessary for our survival as human beings.

Our brains naturally release dopamine when we eat or have sex – reinforcing these activities through feelings of satisfaction and motivation for more.

How Alpha-GPC Can Help Boost Dopamine Levels

Alpha-GPC boosts dopamine levels by inhibiting catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).

COMT is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

By inhibiting COMT, Alpha-GPC prevents the breakdown of these neurotransmitters thus increasing their levels in the brain for improved cognitive function.

Alpha-GPC boosts dopamine levels through reuptake inhibition.

Dopamine then binds to its receptors on the postsynaptic neuron to elicit its effect.

By inhibiting reuptake, Alpha-GPC allows for more dopamine binding and thus increases the effects of dopamine on neurons in different parts of your brain for improved cognitive function.

A key point is that Alpha-GPC boosts dopamine levels while not decreasing extracellular concentrations of dopamine like methylphenidate (Ritalin) does.

This is an important distinction because the decreased extracellular dopamine concentrations caused by Ritalin results in the desensitization of dopamine receptors.

The increased levels of dopamine induced by Alpha-GPC do not cause this problem and, thus, allow for improved cognitive function throughout your entire day without the need to take breaks (cycle on and off).

Alpha-GPC Boosts Dopamine Levels in The Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling memory, attention, thought processes, and decision making.

It is also important for inhibiting impulsivity and aggression.

Dopamine plays a critical role in the prefrontal cortex, as it can signal to other parts of your brain that you’re ready to take action (ie: stop what you’re doing and do something else).

As dopamine declines with age, so does cognitive ability. Alpha-GPC is the best way to boost dopamine in this area of your brain.

A study from 2017 found that administration of Alpha GPC increased levels of acetylcholine and improved cognitive performance, particularly working memory tasks.

In addition, it also boosted dopamine levels when compared to a placebo.