Found in high concentration in the brain, phosphatidylserine plays a key role in neuronal energy production and communication as a key structural component of the cell membrane. Shown in animal experiments to have a trophic (growth supportive) effect on the brain, PS plays a key role in cell to cell communication in the brain, including the transfer of biochemical messages into the cell, triggering cellular responses. The proper functioning of these processes are especially important to the nervous system and to healthy cognitive function. PS has also been shown to support aspects of cell metabolism, such as glucose utilization and enhanced neurotransmitter formation. Furthermore, it appears to have antioxidant activity, protecting the brain from free radicals. Since very little PS is found in food, the compound must be synthesized or supplemented to provide what is needed for optimal brain health.
Studies of oral supplements of PS have shown it to affect neuronal membranes and cell metabolism, as well as the acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems. A body of research has highlighted improvements in cognitive function and memory following supplementation with PS. In one 12-week study of 30 elderly volunteers, PS supplementation significantly increased cognitive parameters, including memory recognition, memory recall, executive functions and mental flexibility. Total learning and immediate recall also improved significantly. The same study also found PS to support blood pressure already within a normal range. PS supplementation has also been shown to improve short-term auditory memory, inattention and impulsivity in children. A 30-week study found a formula of PS with Omega-3 may reduce hyperactivity symptoms in children and may be especially effective in a subgroup of hyperactive-impulsive and emotionally and behaviorallychallenged children. Clinical trials have also shown PS to significantly benefit memory, learning, vocabulary skills and concentration. It also supports a balanced mood among the elderly with a dosage of 300 mg a day, after 30 days.
Endocrine Health and Stress Resilience
PS has also shown promise in modulating stress-related fatigue. Studies from Italy have shown that PS blunts the ACTH and cortisol response to stressors, suggesting those experiencing fatigue due to stress or overstimulation from elevated cortisol may benefit from using oral PS to reduce this response. A second study using the Trier Social Stress Test, (TSST) a laboratory stress test which can test the response of humans to a socially stressful public speaking situation, confirmed this finding. After three weeks of a combined blend of phoshatidic acids (100 mg PS), a statistical reduction in stress induced ACTH production as well as serum/salivary cortisol production was seen. Other studies on PS (50-800 mg) given to subjects under stress (physical, emotional, mental, etc.), found it reduced stress-induced excretion of cortisol.
Administration of PS has also been studied in exercising subjects, by giving higher levels of PS (600 mg) to blunt the cortisol elevation resulting from intensive exercise. PS has also been found to reduce the cortisol response to overtraining, resulting in a reduction in muscle soreness and improved athletic performance.
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Always be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement when pregnant or nursing. For children, we recommend speaking with your child's pediatrician regarding proper dosing. Store away from children.