While complex mental process like memory and attention cannot be reduced to a single, simple chemical
pathway, it is undeniable that the function of the cholinergic system of the brain – those aspects of brain
function involving a neurotransmitter (brain messenger-molecule) called acetylcholine (ACh) – is central to our
mental function, and especially our ability to focus and to remember facts and verbal information.
Acetylcholine is made in the nervous system from a B-vitamin-like raw material called choline. When a person
is young, the more choline he or she takes in from diet and supplements, the more ACh gets made, the better
his or her memory becomes. As we age, that strategy becomes less and less effective, because the structure
and function of the cholinergic system itself suffers a slow, insidious decline.
The aging brain’s cholinergic function is impaired at several points, all of which affect mental performance:
• The ability of the brain to take in necessary raw materials.
• The loss of balance in key cholinergic enzymes.
• The loss of choinergic neurons.
Choline alfoscerate (al-FOSS-er-ate), or alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC), is a phospholipid – a
complex fatty substance containing phosphorus, like phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine – and is an
important building block in the construction of nerve cell membranes. After completing an analysis of thirteen
published clinical trials, involving over 4000 patients, a group of Italian scientists concluded that “The stated
therapeutic usefulness of Choline Alfoscerate in the relief of cognitive symptoms,
such as memory and attention impairment, differentiates [it] from cholinergic
precursors used in former clinical trials”, such as choline, lecithin, or
phosphatidylcholine. The reason, as evidence now suggests, is that the effects of
this versatile nutrient extend well beyond its role as a mere choline source: choline alfoscerate supports the restoration of a whole spectrum
of youthful cholinergic functions.