Athletes for whom strength or speed is important can boost their chance of success by taking 600 mg alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine [abbreviated to alpha-GPC] for six days before a competition. Sports scientists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the US discovered that this results in a three-percent increase in strength.
Alpha-GPC [structural formula shown below] is a precursor of choline, and therefore also of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the messages that the brain sends to the muscles. That’s why sports scientists suspect that alpha-GPC supplementation might be of interest to athletes.
Effect of strength training on women visible after just three weeks
Studies in which people have been given alpha-GPC have not produced immediately clear conclusions. Some show that alpha-GPC improves sports performance, others don’t.
According to the researchers at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, this is because different studies used different doses. The researchers in Louisiana decided to use a dose of 600 mg alpha-GPC: a dose that they thought would work.
By the way, not all sports scientists are convinced that isometric strength is a good indicator of sports performance, but never mind. Just disregard this for the moment.
Six days later the researchers repeated the procedure. In the intervening period the students had taken 600 mg alpha-GPC every morning. The alpha-GPC was produced by Chemi Nutra, which markets the substance as AlphaSize. Chemi Nutra also financed the study.
The researchers repeated the experiment, but this time round gave the students a placebo.
The students generated more isometric strength on both the squat machine [first figure below] and on the push-up machine [second figure] after taking the alpha-GPC supplement. Supplementation resulted in a significant 3 percent increase in strength on the squat machine. The alpha-GPC did not result in a statistically significant increase in strength on the push-up machine.
“Given that in many sports it is understood that a very small change in performance, often times less than 2 %, can significantly affect outcomes it is important to note that the 6 days of Alpha-GPC resulted in greater than a 3 % increase in lower body isometric strength”, the researchers summarised.
“Sport performance coaches can consider adding Alpha-GPC to the diet of speed and power athletes to potentially enhance muscle performance.”
The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength
Ergogenic aides are widely used by fitness enthusiasts and athletes to increase performance. Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (A-GPC) has demonstrated some initial promise in changing explosive performance. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine if 6 days of supplementation with A-GPC would augment isometric force production compared to a placebo.
Thirteen college-aged males (Means?±?SD; Age: 21.9?±?2.2 years, Height: 180.3?±?7.7 cm, Weight: 87.6?±?15.6 kg; VO 2 max: 40.08?±?7.23 ml O 2 *Kg ?1 *min ?1 , Body Fat: 17.5?±?4.6 %) gave written informed consent to participate in the study. The study was a double blind, placebo controlled, cross-over design. The participants reported to the lab for an initial visit where they were familiarized with the isometric mid thigh pull in a custom squat cage on a force platform and upper body isometric test against a high frequency load cell, and baseline measurements were taken for both. The participant then consumed either 600 mg per day of A-GPC or placebo and at the end of 6 days performed isometric mid thigh pulls and an upper body isometric test. A one-week washout period was used before the participants’ baseline was re-measured and crossed over to the other treatment.
The A-GPC treatment resulted in significantly greater isometric mid thigh pull peak force change from baseline (t?=?1.76, p?=?0.044) compared with placebo (A-GPC: 98.8.?±?236.9 N vs Placebo: ?39.0?±?170.9 N). For the upper body test the A-GPC treatment trended towards greater change from baseline force production (A-GPC: 50.9?±?167.2 N Placebo: ?14.9?±?114.9 N) but failed to obtain statistical significance (t?=?1.16, p?=?0.127).
A-GPC is effective at increasing lower body force production after 6 days of supplementation. Sport performance coaches can consider adding A-GPC to the diet of speed and power athletes to enhance muscle performance.