Phosphatidylserine is a greasy substance found in food and made in the human body that is thought to play a key role in brain health.
› What is it?
Phosphatidylserine is a protective substance used in every cell of the body. It is involved in clotting and is vital for the proper functioning of nerve cells in the brain. Animal studies suggest that phosphatidylserine levels decline with age.
› Health benefits
Memory and Alzheimer’s disease
A 2015 review of studies on phosphatidylserine concluded that it safely slows or even reverses structural deterioration in nerve cells. This means it may help with forming short-term and long-term memories, the ability to learn and recall information, the ability to focus and concentrate, and the ability to reason and communicate. Most research has used phosphatidylserine supplements derived from the brains of cows, but most phosphatidylserine supplements are now made from plant sources. Researchers do not yet know how these two types of phosphatidylserine compare in effectiveness.
Exercise capacity and muscle soreness
A 2006 study of phosphatidylserine supplements showed that they may help improve athletic performance and decrease muscle soreness.
Small studies have pointed to a role for phosphatidylserine supplementation in helping to regulate mood and improve depression scores. More research is needed in this area.
Small studies of phosphatidylserine supplements, with and without combining omega-3 fatty acids, showed improvement in symptoms of ADHD in children. More research is needed in this area.
› How much do I need?
A review of phosphatidylserine studies reported that the body can efficiently absorb up to 300 to 800 milligrams a day; any excess will be flushed out. A therapeutic dose for memory improvement is 100 milligrams taken two or three times per day, according to the Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database.
› In food
A number of foods contain phosphatidylserine, including soy, egg yolks, white beans and liver. The average American diet contains about 130 milligrams of the substance.
› Dietary supplements
Phosphatidylserine is available as a supplement in powder or capsule form. Possible side effects include insomnia, gas and upset stomach. Phosphatidylserine may also have a blood-thinning effect and interact with antihistamines, antidepressants, and medicines used to treat glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. Check with your doctor before using phosphatidylserine supplements.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, WebMD
Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.