Most helpful positive review
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
An excellent supplement for cognitive and memory enhancement
on November 22, 2013
This product is a nootropic, that is, it helps with cognitive and memory functions. Each capsule contains 300 mg of alpha-GPC and 100 mg of phosphatidylserine (PS). The manufacturer recommends two capsules a day before 4 p.m.; that's pretty standard for all alpha-GPC products, and over the last four years I've tried most of the major ones. The manufacturer also says you might be able to go up to six capsules a day; that's on the high side although I've seen (and tried) recommendations to use four per day for the first month.
I started buying this formulation from Amazon on a subscription basis because that's the most economical way for me to get alpha-GPC, which is pretty generic. Does this particular formulation work? To cut to the chase, yes. Explaining how it works and what more you might do requires much more explanation, though.
Alpha-GPC is the real thing in that it definitely boosts those parts of the brain involving memory and cognition although you are most likely to notice the effects during activities like mindfulness meditation or intense focus on work tasks. On the bottle, Doctor's Best also claims that their product may help with stress and facilitate "growth factor action"; these are dubious claims that unnecessarily gild the lily (and also ignore that fact that too much alpha-GPC may make stress worse).
I tend to classify my experience in the following way when it comes to nootropics:
1. Acetylcholine (ACh) enhancers. Doctor's Best Natural Brain Enhancers, and Alpha-GPC in general, falls into this class of nootropics. ACh is a key neurotransmitter that can facilitate both memory and cognition. Alpha-GPC gives a sharp boost to ACh, much more than something like choline bitarate. Much of the research into palliatives for dementia and Alzheimer's focus on this line of inquiry. I settled long ago on a strategy that uses anti-cholinesterase agents to maintain ACh levels combined with choline-related supplements to also boost those levels. Combining Huperzine-A and alpha-GPC (or Doctor's Best) is one example of such a combination. Donepezil is an effective substitute for Huperzine but available only by prescription.
2. Hippocampal supplements. Magnesium l-threonate may (according to research) help significantly with the long-term memory functions of the hippocampus. I've used it but find it still pretty pricey. Zinc might also help here but can rapidly cause cramping if you aren't careful.
3. Vasodillators. Some vasodillators that act on the brain are showing a lot of promise as well with memory and cognition, and they have the virtue of complementing rather than conflicting with the ACh enhancers. A good example of a vasodillator is vinpocetane although use early in the day may cause nausea. Ginkgo biloba is purportedly helpful in this respect, but the research evidence is mixed.
Amazon carries products in all of these classes, and if you're serious about cognitive and memory enhancement, you might find it worthwhile to try products in each class (many of which are available by subscription).
As an aside to my above points, I should explain that I don't really care about the PS in the Doctor's Best formulation and doubt that it has much value (for me, anyway). The FDA has reviewed the available research and concluded that there is no scientific basis to believe that PS helps with cognition and memory for the general population (although it may have more specialized uses in sports nutrition and with ADHD). I agree with the FDA.
Both memory and cognition benefit the most from these supplements when we're taking steps to exercise both. The brain is similar to a muscle in that respect. You wouldn't expect to become a great runner watching daytime TV. And your cognitive and memory functions aren't going to benefit much from that either.
Which brain exercises work the best is very individual. For my part, I complement my use of nootropics with meditative exercises based loosely on Buddhist practices. I also use psychoacoustic soundtracks in the gamma and theta ranges. More recently I've begun experimenting with the MindPlace Procyon mind machine.
One warning with nootropics, at least those involving ACh: they can lead to agitation, irritability, and insomnia if you overuse them or take them late in the day. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) will counteract this up to a point, since it has anti-cholinergic properties. Ultimately, though, you may just have to wait it out.