Forrest Liu, director of Cima Science Co., Ltd, just attended a professional international nutritional conference on Alpha GPC. He shared the content of his presentation in this article, talking about the new standard for L-α-Glycerophosphocholine. He mentioned how to improve the overall quality and eliminate the health risk of 3-MCPD by manufacturing Alpha GPC through the natural extraction method rather than biochemical synthesis.

L-α-Glycerophosphocholine, also known as L-α-GPC, is one of the metabolic products of phospholipid in the body. The alpha Glycerophosphocholine is an important precursor to acetylcholine. GPC is one of the components of human breast milk and body fluids. The structure of alpha GPC molecule is as below:

Glycerophosphocholine structure

CAS No.: 28319-77-9

Structural formula: C8H20NO6P

Molecular weight: 257.22

Structural characteristics of GPC molecules

From the perspective of molecular structure, GPC is composed of choline, glycerin, and phosphate. Choline accounts for 40 percent of each GPC molecule, while as for citicoline, it is only about 20 percent.


GPC is a highly polar molecule that could easily cross the blood-brain barrier, making it highly bioavailable.

Physiological functions of choline

Physiological functions of choline

  • Control the concentration of phospholipids in the liver and blood
  • As methyl donor
  • Synthesis of acetylcholine
  • Synthesis of intracellular messengers
  • Synthesis of
  • phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin

Common foods rich in GPC

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, the common food sources include Beef, Egg, Soybeans, Chicken, Fish, Mushrooms, shiitake, Milk, Wheat germ, Brussels sprouts, etc.

food sources of alpha GPC

GPC is the precursor of acetylcholine synthesis

GPC can quickly deliver choline to the brain through the blood-brain barrier, raising the body’s acetylcholine levels and keeping it elevated for longer.

alpha GPC conversion to Acetylcholine precursor

Adjuvant therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

Adjuvant therapy for alzheimer's disease

Biochemical basis of GPC action

Biochemical basis of alpha GPC action

Production process and quality standard of Alpha GPC

Different specifications have a different manufacturing process. Wuxi Cima Science Co. Ltd manufactures both synthetic alpha GPC and natural Alpha GC from soybean lecithin or sunflower. Specifications of alpha GPC available:

Synthetic Alpha GPC 50% powder

Synthetic Alpha GPC 50% granule

Synthetic Alpha GPC 85% Liquid

Synthetic Alpha GPC 99% powder

Natural Alpha GPC of 50%, 85% and 99%

manufacturing process of Alpha GPC

→Filtration →Purification process→Crystallizing→Re-Dissolved & Decolour→Filtrate→ Clear Liquid→Vacuum Concentration →Drying→ Grind screening →Testing→Pasteurization→ Packing → End Product

Product advantages:

  • High purity, thin layer identification without impurity spots
  • Product specifications can be customized
  • Large-scale production, with an annual output of 30 tons of high purity GPC workshop
  • 3-chloro-1 , 2- propylene glycol  residues meet EU food requirements
Items GPC-50% GPC-85% GPC-98%
Appearance and character White crystalline powder Colorless transparent viscous liquid White crystalline powder
Moisture Karl Fischer method


Karl Fischer method ≤14%~16% Karl Fischer method


Content (% by dry product) ≥50% 98%~102% 98%~102%
Specific optical rotation(20℃) -1.0~2.0 -2.4~-2.8 -2.4~-2.8
pH 10% aqueous solution


10% aqueous solution


10% aqueous solution


Chloride <500ppm <200ppm
Sulfate <500ppm <200ppm
Total heavy metal <10ppm
Solvent residue Ethanol does not exceed 5000ppm
Total bacterial count ≤ 1000CFU/g
Mold counting ≤ 100CFU/g
Salmonella Not to be detected

On October 27, 2017, the international agency for research on cancer released a preliminary list of carcinogens for reference, 3-monochloro-1, 2-propylene glycol was in the list of class 2B carcinogens.

Alpha GPC Manufacturing Route: synthetic VS Natural Extraction

At present, the main production technology of GPC in the domestic market is a synthetic route.

One of the raw materials is chlorine glycerin, which contains 3-chloro-1, 2-propylene glycol.

Carcinogen 3-chloro-1 , 2- propylene glycol

After the EU banned the export of soy sauce from China in 1996, the problem of 3-chloro-1-2-propylene glycol began to attract domestic attention. 3-chloro-1, 2-propylene glycol is considered to have carcinogenic effects.

Carcinogen in foods

Toxic by inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin.  It affects the lungs, liver, kidney, and brain. Inhalation of steam can produce nausea, headache, dizziness, coma, and other symptoms. Inhalation of steam can cause pulmonary edema, serious death.

Standards for limitation of 3-MCPD

Standards for limitation of 3-MCPD


Product name 3-MCPD
Synonyms 3-Monochloropropane-1,2-diol; α-Chlorohydrin; Glycerol α-monochlorohydrin; Chlorodeoxyglycerol; 3-Chloro-1,2-propanediol
CAS Number 96-24-2
Molecular Formula C3H7ClO2
Molecular Weight 110.54

The IUPAC name of 3-MCPD is 3-Chloropropane-1,2-diol. It is also known as 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol, 3-Chloro-1,2-propanediol or 3-chloro-1, 2- propylene glycol. It may also exist in other forms, such as 3-monochloro-1,2-propanediol esters, processed oils/fats containing 3-MCPD equivalent (in the form of fatty acid esters).

According to Wikipedia, 3-MCPD is the most common member of chemical food contaminants known as chloropropanols. 3-MCPD is regarded as a carcinogen, an element that causes cancer. It is suspected to be carcinogenic in humans.

Content-control of 3-MCPD in Alpha GPC

Due to the problem of carcinogen residue, Korea stopped importing GPC from China in June learned from CPhI China exhibition, which seriously affected its export business.

Removal technology of 3- MCPD from Alpha GPC

After five years of research and development, targeted special adsorption resin has been successfully developed. Meanwhile, the raw material conversion rate in the process of product synthesis has been optimized. After multiple extractions of the synthetic liquid, using ion exchange resin adsorption and special resin adsorption, 3-MCPD can be effectively removed to meet the quality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *