1. Phosphatidylserine overview
Phosphatidylserine or PS was first discovered in 1941 by Howard A. Schneider and Jordi Folch and become very popular in Europe. The pioneer clinical studies conducted in Italy, to test its efficacy in enhancing memory later spread to the rest of the world, hence its current popularity as a nootropic.
Phosphatidylserine is an aminophospholipid (fatty substance) and amino acid derivative produced naturally in the body. In fact, it’s makes up a large portion of the human brain that is about 15% of the total phospholipid layer in the brain.
Phosphatidylserine is primarily used for improving memory, learning and attention, for Alzheimer disease treatment, athletic performance, and many other conditions. Phosphatidylserine depression treatment has also been noted.
Although the body makes PS on its own, most of what is needed is derived from dietary sources. It is unluckily that most of our modern diets do not contain enough PS.
The main sources of PS are protein-rich foods such as brain of a cow, egg yolk, soybeans, milk and chicken breast or other organ meat. However, the PS obtain from dietary sources is in minute quantities hence the need for supplementation with commercially processed PS with concentrated amounts.
Several scientific studies indicate that PS levels often decline with age, and so do the memory, learning and attention. Some kind of depression has also been linked to age-related phosphatidylserine deficiency. Phosphatidylserine supplements have proven to contribute party as a solution to such conditions treatment. PS supplements are easily absorbed into the brain tissues and hence combat the deficiency due to aging.
PS supplements were originally made from animal sources, particularly from cows’ brains. However, concerns regarding the possibility of cross-species transmission of diseases such the mad cow disease; supplements are currently derived from plant sources such as soy lecithin, sunflower or even cabbage.
The modern market has highly regarded phosphatidylserine (PS) supplements due to their benefit in human brain health. Most supplements are sold in form of phosphatidylserine powder, capsules, tablets, and softgels.
2. What is Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine also called PS is a phospholipid naturally found in everyone’s cells and tissues but most abundant in the brain tissues.
It plays a critical role of keeping cell membranes fluid, flexible and permeable for nutrient absorption. PS also helps the brain conduct nervous impulses and release neurotransmitters.
In brief, Phosphatidylserine function to ensure the proper functioning of memory-related pathways.
Many foods are proven phosphatidylserine sources but higher concentrations are found in eggs, soy, and the brain tissue of animals.
Adding PS supplements into your diet will help in improved memory and learning.
3. Why do people take Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine nootropic is most often taken in a bid to avoid loss of memory and prevent mental decline which could possibly occur in the aging process.
Several studies report that phosphastidylserine use could potentially enhance brain power. Individuals who took this supplement recorded a higher score on concentration, mood, and short-term memory tests. They could, for instance, better recall objects and names.
The capability to regulate the discharge of dopamine and serotonin compounds mainly explains phosphatidylserine use in lifting mood and combating depression. It also explains why users of phosphatidylserine buy the supplement to valuably adjunct the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, a condition attributed to insufficient dopamine production.
Scientists also use phosphatidylserine in research on treating Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. This research is still underway, with high expectation that phosphatidylserine can be of some help in treatment of this condition.
Phosphatidylserine has also been recommended in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, stress and muscle soreness in athletes who are involved in extensive training.
Some studies also show that people use phosphatidylserine for sleep enhancement.
Many people have also used PS for its ability to improve mood, reduce irritability, and provide a relaxed feeling
4. How does Phosphatidylserine work?
Phosphatidylserine ps is an essential chemical with multiple functions within the body. It forms part of cell structure, with a vital responsibility of maintaining cellular function, particularly inside the brain.
The body essentially utilizes PS as a systematic element of the binary skin of lipids responsible for the formation of cellular membrane. In this aspect, PS facilitates waste products discharge and nutrients entrance by its tendency to increase cell fluidity, facilitating the entrance of nutrients and the discharge of waste products.
PS also assist in production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which is responsible for the growth, survival and development of brain cells. It also plays role in the maintenance and repair of damaged neurons hence improvement of the overall brain health.
Also PS has a function in intra nerve cell information transfer, or neural signalling. In this situation, PS instrumentally triggers dead cells elimination in the body and still initiates blood clotting.
Moreover, Phosphatidylserine nootropic happens to modulate production of certain enzymes, upward regulating some while downward regulating others. Phosphatidylserine function in the release of acetylcholinesterase and the production decrease can never be overlooked. Acetylcholinesterase enzyme breaks down neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Lowering acetylcholine levels in the brain efficiently increase amounts of instantly available acetylcholine, widely linked to overall features of cognition.
Concurrently, PS boosts the synthesis of Na+/K+ braced ATPase, a protein enzyme known to pump out sodium and pump in potassium within the cells. This reaction is credited to the extended duration of physical activity due to phosphatidylserine use.
Moreover, PS affects cognition, mood, and motivation by reducing the excretion of cortisol, which is simply catalysed by stress/anxiety, and increasing amounts of the happiness speck, serotonin, and the motivation speck, dopamine.
Furthermore, PS has the potential to restore cognitive function and slow down the appearance of age-related cognitive decline. Ps achieves this by hindering the age-related deterioration of dendritic spines. Dendritic spines form part of the nerve cells that play a critical role in the information storage. The decay of the spines directly affects the synaptic action responsible for cognitive functions. It may also affect the transmission of information between neuron cells.
5. PS Potential Nootropic Benefits
Phosphatidylserine supplements have been proven as an excellent nootropic component. It has been used for enhancing memory, treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, preventing age-related cognitive decline, boosting thinking skills in minors, relieving children from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), preventing depression and stress, and enhancing athletic performance.
Here are some benefits associated with PS;
(1) Phosphatidylserine and Cortisol
Cortisol is a stress-related hormone and is released naturally when our brain feel under stress. In our day to day lives, stress may occur due to lifestyle, work or even strenuous exercises. High levels of this stress hormone can affect the body metabolism, blood glucose levels which often lead to unhealthy weight gain and further, may interfere with memory.
Interestingly, phosphatidylserine is regarded as an excellent natural cortisol blocker. Several studies have shown that PS inhibits the release of cortisol responses to exercise-related stress. Phosphatidylserine has also been known to improve mood even in young people.
For instance, in a study with a group of students, phosphatidylserine was administered at 300mg of daily for a month. This resulted to reduced stress when the young adults were subjected to a stressful arithmetic task. It was also noted that they had a better mood.
(2) Phosphatidylserine for Memory, Learning &Attention
Most research has reported phosphatidylserine nootropic benefits in terms of phosphatidylserine for memory improvement. PS reduces the symptoms of cognitive impairment by assisting people to recall things more quickly. It plays role in increasing the level of acetylcholine, which in turn enhances memory, improves learning and also accuracy.
In a clinical trial with a group of children aged 4-14 years, PS given at a dose of 200 mg per day resulted in improved attention, short-term memory and, self-control.
In another study with 149 individuals suffering from age-related cognitive decline, Ps was administered at 100 mg per day for 12 weeks. At the end these participants showed an improvement in learning and better performed in memory related tasks.
(3) Phosphatidylserine for Depression and Stress
Depression is a common condition and mostly with the elderly. However, young people also often get depressed. Age-related depression could be attributed to the decline in PS levels and hence the need for PS supplements which are rapidly absorbed by the body.
Researchers are known to have used phosphatidylserine for anxiety related studies, in which PS was reported to downwards regulate cortisol (stress hormone) release.
The main purpose of cortisol is to provide emergency energy boost to the body under depressive situations. In this process, stored body proteins are converted to glucose, which can possibly fuel the “flight or fight” response. Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol over extended duration can be hazardous.
Health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, hypertension, suppressed libido, hyperglycemia, and other deadly physical problems are sometimes linked to phosphatidylserine deficiency. Phosphatidylserine functions effectively while responding to mental stress by enabling maintenance of adrenal glands efficiency and reducing cortisol concentrations in patients subjected to mental stress.
Researches indicate that phosphatidylserine use may substantially improve depression symptoms in persons of any ages.
Tests conducted to geriatric patients (both males and females) experiencing late-age depression reported that proper Phosphatidylserine dosage lowed depression-related memory impairment.
In another study involving healthy males of tender age, Phosphatidylserine use reduced symptoms of depression and boosted emotional responses.
(4) Phosphatidylserine and ADHD
ADHD is a brain disorder that affects many children characterised by difficulty in paying attention, staying still and acting without self-control.
Research indicates that plant-derived phosphatidylserine for ADHD use helps improve hyperactivity, attention, and impulse control in minors and teenagers with ADHD.
A case study was conducted on 36 children between 4 – 14 years, diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but not subjected to any ADHD treatment before the trial.
The kids were divided into two groups; one received 200mg daily of PS and the other under placebo for a period of 2 months. The team assessed the children’s mental performance, working and short-term memory, and ADHD symptoms.
The team discovered that Phosphatidylserine dosage notably improved short-term memory and ADHD symptoms. The reduced ADHD symptoms included impulsivity, short-term cognition conditions, and inattention. The placebo trial group recorded no improvement.
6. How Phosphatidylserine (PS) may help with brain health and mental performance?
Supporting brain energy metabolism
Phosphatidylserine function to enhance energy metabolism by improving the circulation of blood glucose and oxygen molecules.
Mitochondria are cell organelles that the make energy required in the cells. PS helps in the production of these essential organelles (mitochondria).
A human study reported that PS supplements lead to a significant increase in brain glucose metabolism ranging from 19.3% to 20.3% in the visual cortex and the basal ganglia/thalamus respectively.
Optimizing neural communication
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is known to keep the neuron cells fluid and permeable. This promotes the formation and transmission of neural signals within the neurons and across neuron connections. Memories are formed from this communications.
Signalling for brain “clean-up”
As we with other body cells, the brain cells also die and are replaced by others. However, the brain cells that cease to be functional become toxic. Thanks to phosphatidylserine brain protection potential.
PS helps keep the brain cells permeable and fluid. In case any brain cells ceases, PS sends alerts to the body defences’ to get rid of the cells before they become dangerous. This helps in the cleaning of damaged brain cells.
Promoting brain cell survival
Phosphatidylserine (PS) plays an important role in the production of the nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is involved in the growth, maintenance and survival of neuron cells.
Phosphatidylserine has been reported to work together with the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in Omega-3’s in neuron optimization. This promotes neuron survival and health.
7. Guidelines for Use
(1) Recommended Dosage
The appropriate phosphatidylserine dosage may vary depending on the age, underlying health condition, and the intended outcome.
For adults, the recommended dosage of 100 mg taken three times a day is considered both safe and effective for slowing down memory decline.
Most clinical studies involving both children and adults have used a dosage of 200-400mg a day with no or mild side effects. However, it is advised to always start with the lowest effective dose of PS at 100 mg three times daily and adjust as necessary.
To reap maximum benefits from PS supplements, try taking PS 20 to 30 minutes before meals with enough water. Patience is needed when taking supplements as they take some time to exhibit maximum benefits. With phosphatidylserine use, it takes 3-9 months to realise significant improvements, especially with stress-related issues.
(2) Ailments Dosage
Some phosphatidylserine dosages have been studied including;
- For Alzheimer’s Disease-100 mg taken 3 times a day.
- Memory Loss/Impairment due to aging- 100 mg thrice a day before meals for a period of 6 months.
- Stress and depression -100 mg twice or thrice a day.
- Stroke- 100 mg twice a day.
- For ADHD in children- 200-300 mg a day.
8. PS works well with other supplements/ Phosphatidylserine Stack
Phosphatidylserine is often used together with other supplements that are known to enhance cognitive functioning in an effort to maximize its benefits.
For example, PS and Rhodiola rosea are used together to improve athletic performance. PS although well known for its benefit in relieving age-related memory decline, it has proven be an excellent nootropic supplement in sports nutrition. Studies show that PS reduces perceived stress that boosted golf scores and also resulted to healthy responses to stress.
On the other hand, Rhodiola rosea is a nootropic that enhances stress tolerance and better athletic performance. It has been in the ancient times and well known to enhance the body’s ability to cope with strenuous exercises.
The combination of these two supplements, PS and Rhodiola results in improved athletic performance due to their benefit in dealing with stress and also enhancing memory.
An independent study on 200 ADHD minors evaluated the effectiveness of Phosphatidylserine in combination with Omega 3’s on 30-weeks long trial. The major finding of the study was a remarkable impulsive/restlessness scale reduction and a notable emotions improvement. The study deduced that Phosphatidylserine use with Omega 3 can lessen ADHD symptoms especially in a subset of behaviourally-deregulated and emotionally, hyperactive-impulsive ADHD children.
In children suffering from depressive disorder, phosphatidylserine use supplemented with omega-3 lipids improved cognition and attention and mitigated depressive symptoms.
Phosphatidylserine has also been demonstrated to boost other supplements known to improve the brain health. An example of such brain supplement is curcumin, a compound obtained from turmeric. Curcumin functions to improve the circulation of blood to our brain while also raise the release of serotonin and dopamine. However a major drawback with curcumin is in its difficulty in absorption. PS stacking hence comes in handy in this supplementation to increase the utilisation of curcumin.
PS has also been reported to work synergistically with other nutrients such as Ginkgo biloba and fish oil.
9. Can you get Phosphatidylserine naturally from foods?
Phosphatidylserine occur naturally in various foods and the most abundant source is the brain of a cow. However, its consumption has a risk of causing the mad cow disease. Although our bodies make phosphatidylserine, we also obtain small amounts from phosphatidylserine foods.
The main sources of phosphatidylserine are protein-rich foods such as;
- Chicken leg, liver and breast,
- Pork and veal,
- Trout, Atlantic cod and crayfish,
- Egg yolk,
- Beef liver.
It is worthwhile noting that the quantities of these foods should be regulated as huge amounts could affect the health of some people.
Other foods sources of PS are unpolished rice, cabbage, whole grain barley, potatoes and carrots.
It is unfortunate that not many people include organ meat in their daily meals hence phosphatidylserine could also be taken as a supplement.
10. What are the risks/side effects of taking Phosphatidylserine?
Since phosphatidylserine (PS) occurs naturally in our body, it is considered safe and can be well tolerated. PS is therefore non-toxic.
Some concerns have been raised in regards to products made from animal sources that they could transmit diseases, such as the mad cow disease. However, these are only theoretic risks since there are no proven cases of diseases emanating from phosphatidylserine supplements derived from animal sources. But as the saying goes ‘better protection than cure’ be sure to look for plant-derived supplements.
Many consumers take the phosphatidylserine supplement derived from soy and sunflower with no side effects. Researchers show that when PS supplements are taken by mouth appropriately in a period of 3 months, they are considered safe. However, phosphatidylserine side effects have been reported with doses above 300 mg per day. Some people have reported phosphatidylserine side effects such as insomnia, gas, and unwanted energy boost and stomach upset.
11. Is Phosphatidylserine safe? (FDA, some research evidence)
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is found naturally in the human brain, hence considered safe as a nootropic supplement in any diet. Studies have proven its benefits to the brain in improving memory, relieving stress and enhancing learning and attention. Additionally, PS works well with other supplements to maximize its potential. When used appropriately it regarded safe.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) has received an FDA-qualified health claim as a nootropic, that says;
“Phosphatidylserine (PS) can minimise the threat of cognitive decline in the elderly. However, FDA concludes that there is still minimal scientific evidence to support this claim.”
This means that PS is a safe supplement for your brain. However, take precaution when including any supplement in your diet by consulting your health care provider.
12. Are there any interactions with medications?
Phosphatidylserine supplement can influence the expression of certain medicines in our bodies. It is hence always advisable to consult your health care practitioner before including any supplement to the diet.
Some of the phosphatidylserine drug interactions reported are;
- Moderate interactions have been reported with medications for Alzheimer’s disease. These medications includedonepezil, rivastigmine, tacrine and galantamine. These drugs are mostly Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors hence they increase the amount of acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain. PS also increases acetylcholine hence one may end up with too much acetylcholine.
- Phosphatidylserine may interact moderately with cholinergic drugs used for conditions such as glaucoma. As earlier mentioned that PS increase the production of acetylcholine chemical, taking it along with glaucoma medicines might increase the side effects associated with these medications. The glaucoma medicines include
- Phosphatidylserine drug interactions have also been noted moderately with drying medications, allergy medicines and antidepressants. PS might increase the production of chemicals that decrease the effects of the drugs. The anticholinergic drugs (drying medicines) include atropine and scopolamine.
Some other phosphatidylserine drug interactions have been noted with medications used for blood thinning or clotting, anti-inflammatory drugs, and supplements that enhance athletic performance.
Health practitioners also advise patients with kidney disorder to avoid PS supplements.
13. What to look for in a good Phosphatidylserine product?
While all brands may seem similar, always read the label for crucial information. Consider sourcing your supplements from highly accredited individuals or entities for quality assurance.
Some PS supplement are sold as stacks or complexes with other brain supplements, hence check the label properly and engage your health worker before indulging into them.
Due to the health risk concerns on animal-derived PS, look for PS derived from plant sources.
Like any other supplement or drug, Phosphatidylserine dosage information is critical to the proper use of supplements. Always read the manufacturers’ instructions and follow them for safe use of the product.
Check for phosphatidylserine reviews by customers on online platforms including the manufacturer’s websites to obtain the most relevant information regarding the efficiency and any side effects of a particular supplement.
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