Focus. Energy. Memory. Mood. Four things we all wish came in an unlimited supply. Can Phosphatidylserine supplements help? Research proves they can. Most of us find motivation and the remembrance of simple tasks to be commonplace in our youth. However, as we face the inevitable process of aging, it does not always come gracefully. We start to forget little things. We get sidetracked easily. We lose that pep in our step, and we slowly begin to accomplish less. Not only does our body age, but our brain starts to deteriorate as well. It’s part of life. Unfortunately, we can’t stop the brain from aging entirely. But we can certainly slow it down to preserve our mental acuity by using nootropics like Phosphatidylserine.
Neuroprotection and brain repair are two of the many Phosphatidylserine benefits that we’ll discuss in this post. If you’ve been actively exploring the world of nootropics, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Phosphatidylserine. It’s not NZT-48 from the movie Limitless, but it is considered one of the best natural brain supplements for focus, memory support, and mood stabilization. Phosphatidylserine also benefits cortisol control and weight loss, and it can reduce symptoms of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). Many health professionals even suggest using this nootropic as a natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
What is Phosphatidylserine?
What is Phosphatidylserine? Phosphatidylserine (or PS for short) is a fat-soluble amino acid derivative that is highly prevalent in the brain. More specifically, within the cell membranes of neurons. PS is a phospholipid containing both fatty acids and amino acids. Phospholipids are essential molecules that provide protection and structure to our cells. When phospholipids line up into two parallel layers, they construct what is known as the phospholipid bilayer. This layer makes up our cell membranes. Therefore, Phosphatidylserine is a vital building block of cell membranes and directly contributes to the cell’s ability to function. It is also a critical component of efficient cell-to-cell communication. Not only is PS abundant in human neural tissue, but it’s found in every single cell in the human body.
The benefits of Phosphatidylserine are numerous, but PS supplementation is particularly important for the growth and maintenance of neurons. While there are several high-quality food sources to obtain Phosphatidylserine, food alone may not be enough to optimize brain function. Nutritionally supporting cognitive function with the proper brain supplements can boost focus, energy, motivation, willpower, memory formation and much more.
PS has also been shown to improve reaction time, attention span and overall mental capacity. In a nutshell, Phosphatidylserine promises to slow age-related deterioration of the brain while helping to rejuvenate damaged and aging neurons. This post will shine some light on several important Phosphatidylserine benefits and give new insights to the usefulness of this natural nootropic.
5 Health Benefits of Phosphatidylserine
1. Weight Loss & Cortisol Control
Why has PS become popular for dieters and those in the bodybuilding world? Simply put, Phosphatidylserine can help with weight loss by controlling cortisol levels. Here’s how: Your body responds to stress by releasing a hormone called cortisol from the adrenal gland. It quickly enters the bloodstream and enables you to better deal with external stimuli. Blood pressure and alertness elevate to their limits. Optimal performance becomes the priority at the expense of long-term bodily functions. It’s a biological survival mechanism and a temporary reaction to acute stressors. This reaction’s usage peaked back in our primal times when quick adaptation would make the difference between getting eaten or surviving.
Although it sounds like a positive reaction, excessive cortisol levels can be quite harmful to overall health. You might face dangers such as accelerated aging, a weakened immune system, fatigue, and obesity to name a few. Phosphatidylserine supplements can block certain harmful effects of prolonged heightened levels of cortisol. By lowering and stabilizing cortisol levels, PS can help to regulate metabolism, improve memory formation, enhance mood, and reduce bodily inflammation.
Cortisol control is exactly the reason some people take Phosphatidylserine for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) as well. Those with Adrenal Fatigue may find it near impossible to handle the smallest amount of stress. When you have AFS, you’re unable to distinguish between different types of stress, whether it’s physical, biological, or emotional. Your body treats them all the same, usually with a panic attack, excessive weight gain, or severe anxiety. This is why cortisol regulation is so important.
Phosphatidylserine supplementation seems particularly useful during exercise and athletics. Several test subjects demonstrated significant improvements in endurance as well as post-exercise physical and mental tasks. Researchers also observed notable reductions in muscle damage. These results have made the benefits of Phosphatidylserine desirable in bodybuilding and weight loss circles.
2. Treatment of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
ADHD is becoming more common in today’s world. Many parents and professionals seek non-prescription alternatives to medications like Adderall and Modafinil. Phosphatidylserine for ADHD is an excellent natural alternative. It’s a positive step in the right direction to avoid prescription drug dependencies.
One double-blind study attempted to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children using soy-derived Phosphatidylserine. The treated children showed notable improvements in their ADHD symptoms. The study observed enhancements in short-term auditory memory, along with a decrease in inattention and impulsivity. These improvements can increase capacity for critical thinking. That means using logic in new situations, identifying patterns and solving problems become easier. The same positive effects were not present in the placebo group, proving that PS is a great over the counter ADHD remedy. The lack of effect on the placebo group highlights the apparent nootropic qualities of supplementing PS.
3. Mood Stabilization, Anxiety & Depression
Phosphatidylserine can also enhance your mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are three ranges of beta waves in our brains that we need to consider: Low Beta Waves (12 Hz – 15 Hz), Mid-Range Beta Waves (15 Hz – 20 Hz), and High Beta Waves (18 Hz – 40 Hz). Those waves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention directs towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. During stressful situations, High Beta Waves are most present in the brain. High Beta Waves contribute to anxiety, high energy, arousal, paranoia, depression, and significant stress.
Phosphatidylserine supplementation can reduce mental and physical fatigue while lowering the amount of High-Range Beta Waves present in the brain. When more Low Beta Waves are present, our mind enters a state of introverted concentration with an intense but quiet focus. When our mood stabilizes and we can finally relax, not only can we accomplish more, but we are at peace with the world. Mood enhancement is one of the major Phosphatidylserine benefits and reason alone to consider a PS supplement.
We know that Phosphatidylserine can control stress hormone cortisol. But it can also have a positive impact on several neurotransmitters related to mood. The most well-known neurotransmitters that PS can help regulate are dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenaline, and melatonin.
Dopamine and serotonin are linked to “feel good” emotions associated with reward. Melatonin plays a critical role in maintaining healthy sleep patterns and preventing insomnia, like GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). Norepinephrine and adrenaline are “response” neurotransmitters that release during stressful and intense situations. Phosphatidylserine ensures optimal levels of these vital neurotransmitters in the brain. The regulatory process helps stabilize mood and reduce perceived feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety.
4. Memory Enhancement & Mental Cognition
PS benefits our brain’s ability to create and retrieve both short-term and long-term memories. Multiple studies demonstrated improvements in working memory and spatial memory resulting from Phosphatidylserine supplementation. Due to Phosphatidylserine’s effect on focus and concentration, it also indirectly improves memory and learning capabilities, while boosting overall mental cognition. Intensely focusing on the task at hand allows our brains to absorb and retain more information. PS then enhances cell-to-cell communication which allows newly retrieved information to move more freely throughout the brain. The information we need becomes a memory and what we find unimportant is forgotten.
Phosphatidylserine works well on young healthy adults, but it becomes even more useful as we age. Several studies have confirmed PS as an effective treatment for those on the cognitive decline, or those who may suffer from age-related memory problems. As mentioned earlier, PS also reduces negative symptoms and slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
PS also strongly impacts mental cognition, processing speed, and our overall capacity for critical thinking and reasoning. It’s known as one of the top supplements for brain fog. Another double-blind study confirmed a 20% improvement in speed of calculations and a 13% improvement in processing accuracy through PS supplementation. In athletics, a mental edge that substantial could be the difference between an average performance and a legendary one. An advantage such as this would also greatly benefit students, working professionals, and entrepreneurs.
5. Neuroprotection & Brain Repair
Structural deterioration and impaired neurotransmission are initial indications of the brain’s aging process. Your overall concentration of neurotransmitters typically lessens as you mature. Phosphatidylserine can help slow down and reverse the effects of age-related cognitive decline. PS has strong brain repair inclinations and neuroprotective properties making it ideal for all age groups. Feeling youthful and maintaining mental acuity should be on top of everyone’s to-do list.
A recent study of elderly individuals showed significant enhancements in immediate learning, memory acquisition, and facial recognition with Phosphatidylserine supplements. The test subjects were also able to complete certain tasks in less time, with more accuracy, and were less likely to forget recent information. They also improved their scores on rating scales associated with cognitive decline (Hasegawa and MMSE). Overall, PS is quite capable of fighting dementia and reversing the effects of an aging brain.
Phosphatidylserine Complex Supplements
The body can produce Phosphatidylserine by itself when you provide the right food sources. But since PS plays a critical role in maintaining healthy brain function, you should consider a supplement. This statement is true not only for older individuals but also for younger folks looking to preserve their mental edge. Supplementation helps counter the natural decline of the Phosphatidylserine concentration in your brain as you age. The Phosphatidylserine complex is one such supplement.
Most PS complexes consist of three to four ingredients: Phosphatidylserine, Phosphatidylcholine, Phosphatidylinositol, and Phosphatidylethanolamine. Phosphatidylcholine (a central component of lecithin) acts as the primary choline source in your body. Choline intake boosts the acetylcholine production in your brain which directly impacts memory and learning. Phosphatidylinositol and Phosphatidylethanolamine support the transmission of information throughout the brain. These two phospholipids (also known as phosphoglycerides) perform this task by detecting external chemical signals, then amplifying and transmitting information across the cell membrane. For PS complex supplements, Phosphatidylserine is usually present in the form of registered trademarked ingredients Sharp PS® or SerinAid®.
If you want a wide array of phospholipids in a nootropic supplement, the Phosphatidylserine complex is one to consider. With that said, Phosphatidylserine by itself is the most studied and most research-backed of the phospholipids mentioned. A high-quality PS supplement is more than enough for most people. The entire complex is not required.
Phosphatidylserine and Omega-3
A recent study investigated the benefits of Phosphatidylserine for children with ADHD using an additional omega-3 fish oil supplement (EPA and DHA). We know that taking PS by itself can reduce the symptoms of ADHD. It can improve concentration and focus
, impulsivity, and auditory memory. But can consuming fish oil help even more? It turns out that it can. The results of the study indicated a strong synergistic effect when Phosphatidylserine and omega-3 work together. The reduction of ADHD symptoms was even more prominent compared to taking Phosphatidylserine by itself.
With that said, there is a multitude of studies on the impact of fish oil on ADHD. The experimenters were not able to say for sure whether the combination of the Phosphatidylserine and omega-3 lead to the improved results. It’s possible that it was just the fish oil’s effect stacked on top of PS. Regardless, omega-3 fish oil is still universally hailed for its numerous health benefits.
Phosphatidylserine Recommended Dosage
Most significant studies used Phosphatidylserine dosages in the range of 200-500mg per day. In multiple studies, children consumed 200mg of PS. Elderly populations consumed a 300mg dose. Some experiments even prescribed an amount of 500mg. As you can see, the recommended dosage varies quite a bit.
If your goal is to improve focus and concentration, stabilize mood, boost memory, or reduce symptoms of ADHD, we suggest starting with a PS dosage of 100mg per day. This amount is also a good range for preventing age-related cognitive decline and improving neuroprotective and brain repair properties.
A 100mg dosage is a safe starting point to assess individual tolerance and range of effects. By increasing your intake in a stepwise fashion, you’re able to see the Phosphatidylserine benefits achieved by each dosage range. Lower dosages are suitable for younger people but may be less effective for adults. If cortisol reduction and enhancing physical performance are your goals, you will need significantly higher Phosphatidylserine dosages. All studies related to weight loss and cortisol control used 750-850mg PS per day.
Phosphatidylserine Food Sources
If you would like to increase PS intake without a supplement, there are several high-quality Phosphatidylserine food sources to consider. Meat is an excellent source of PS, but the list includes things like the bovine brain, pig’s spleen, and chicken heart. In other words, foods that usually do not make the weekly grocery list. Stocking up on tuna (194mg/100g), beef (69mg/100g), and pork (57mg/100g) is typically the easier way to go. For the most part, dairy products and vegetables contain an insignificant amount of PS. The only notable exceptions are white beans (107mg/100g) and soy lecithin (5,900mg/100g). Vegetarians and vegans should consider a Phosphatidylserine supplement instead of resorting to food sources alone.
Full List of PS food sources (mg/100g):
Soy lecithin: 5,900mg
Bovine brain: 713mg
Atlantic mackerel: 480mg
Chicken heart: 414mg
Atlantic herring: 360mg
Chicken leg, with skin, without bone: 134mg
Chicken liver: 123mg
White beans: 107mg
Chicken breast (with skin): 85mg
Turkey leg (without skin or bone): 50mg
Turkey breast (without skin): 45mg
Atlantic cod: 28mg
Whole grain barley: 20mg
Unpolished Rice: 3mg
Sheep’s milk: 2mg
Cow’s milk (whole, 3.5% fat): 1mg
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Phosphatidylserine
PS is one of the most researched backed nootropic supplements on the market. It has been proven effective in all age ranges and gets our full recommendation. For stacking, we recommend using PS in conjunction with Alpha GPC
and Huperzine A
for enhanced acetylcholine synthesis. In summary, the list of Phosphatidylserine benefits looks like this:
Improves cell-to-cell communication
Mood stabilization and stress/anxiety/depression reduction
Cortisol control and weight loss potential
Reduces symptoms of ADHD
Improves focus and concentration
Sharpens memory acquisition and recall
Enhances processing speed and accuracy
Provides neuroprotection and brain repair
Slows age-related cognitive decline
Safe, natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
Have you tried Phosphatidylserine yourself? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.
~ Samuel Johnson
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