Phosphatidylserine (PS) belongs to a special category of fat-soluble substances called phospholipids, which are essential components of cell membranes. PS is found in high concentrations in the brain.
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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
300 mg daily of bovine-derived supplement
Bovine-derived PS (phosphatidylserine) has been shown to improve memory, cognition, and mood in the elderly. To date, most evidence suggests that soy-derived PS is not effective for ARCD.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) derived from bovine brain phospholipids has been shown to improve memory, cognition, and mood in the elderly in at least two placebo-controlled trials. In both trials, geriatric patients received 300 mg per day of PS or placebo. In an unblinded trial of ten elderly women with depressive disorders, supplementation with PS produced consistent improvement in depressive symptoms, memory, and behavior after 30 days of treatment. A double-blind trial of 494 geriatric patients with cognitive impairment found that 300 mg per day of PS produced significant improvements in behavioral and cognitive parameters after three months and again after six months.
Most research has been conducted with PS derived from bovine tissue, but what is available commercially is made from soy. The soy- and bovine-derived PS, however, are not structurally identical. Doctors and researchers have debated whether the structural differences could be important, but so far only a few trials have studied the effects of soy-based PS.
Preliminary animal research shows that the soy-derived PS does have effects on brain function similar to effects from the bovine source. An isolated, unpublished double-blind human study used soy-derived PS in an evaluation of memory and mood benefits in nondemented, nondepressed elderly people with impaired memories and accompanying depression. In this three-month study, 300 mg per day of PS was not significantly more effective than a placebo. In a double-blind study, soy-derived PS was administered in the amount of 300 or 600 mg per day for 12 weeks to people with age-related memory impairment. Compared with the placebo, soy-derived PS had no effect on memory or on other measures of cognitive function. While additional research needs to be done, currently available evidence suggests that soy-derived PS is not an effective treatment for age-related cognitive decline.
Athletic Performance and Enhanced Endurance in Young Active Men
750 mg daily
In a study of active young men, supplementation with phosphatidylserine increased the time the men could exercise until exhaustion by approximately 25%.
In a double-blind study of active young men, supplementation with 750 of soybean-derived phosphatidylserine per day for 10 days increased the time the men could exercise until exhaustion by approximately 25%. Longer studies are needed to determine whether this effect would persist with continued supplementation.
Refer to label instructions
There is some evidence that cow-derived PS (phosphatidylserine) has been shown to improve mental function and feelings of well-being in people with Alzheimer's disease, though most research has not found benefit.
Phosphatidylserine (PS), which is related to lecithin, is a naturally occurring compound present in the brain. Although it is not a cure, 100 mg of PS taken three times per day has been shown to improve mental function, such as the ability to remember names and to recall the location of frequently misplaced objects, in people with Alzheimer's disease. However, subsequent studies have not validated these results. In one double-blind trial, only the most seriously impaired participants received benefits from taking PS; people with moderate Alzheimer's disease did not experience significant improvements in cognitive function. In another double-blind trial, people with Alzheimer's disease who took 300 mg of PS per day for eight weeks had better improvement in overall well-being than those who took placebo, but there were no significant differences in mental function tests. In another double-blind trial, 200 mg of PS taken twice daily produced short-term improvements in mental function (after six to eight weeks), but these effects faded toward the end of the six-month study period.
The PS used in these studies was obtained from bovine brain phospholipids. A plant source of PS is also available. However, the chemical structure of the plant form of PS differs from the bovine form. In a preliminary study, plant-derived PS was no more effective than a placebo at improving the memory of elderly people. Soy-derived PS was also ineffective in a double-blind study of elderly people with age-related cognitive decline.
Refer to label instructions
Phosphatidylserine affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain related to mood and has been shown in research to reduce the severity of depression.
Phosphatidylserine (PS), a natural substance derived from the amino acid serine, affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain related to mood. In a preliminary trial, elderly women suffering from depression who were given 300 mg of PS per day for 30 days experienced, on average, a 70% reduction in the severity of their depression. Most research has been conducted with PS derived from bovine (cow) brain tissue. Due to concerns about the possibility of humans contracting infectious diseases (such as Creutzfeld-Jakob or "mad cow" disease), bovine PS is not available in the United States. The soy- and bovine-derived PS, are not structurally identical, and there is evidence that soy-derived PS may not have the same beneficial effects as bovine PS.
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with phosphatidylserine may improved the mood and mental function in patients with Parkinson's disease.
People with Parkinson's disease treated with L-dopa have been reported to have reduced levels of the neurotransmitter phosphatidylserine. In one trial, supplementing with phosphatidylserine (100 mg three times daily) improved the mood and mental function in patients with Parkinson's disease, but exerted no beneficial effects on muscle control. The phosphatidylserine used in this trial was obtained from cow brain. That product is not available in the United States, because of concern that an extract of cow brain could cause Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, the human variant of "mad cow" disease. The phosphatidylserine sold in the United States is manufactured from plant sources and cow-brain phosphatidylserine.
How It Works
How to Use It
Positive effects on mental function have been achieved using 200–500 mg per day of bovine PS; most studies used 300 mg per day. Preliminary animal research shows that the soy-derived PS does have effects on brain function similar to effects from the bovine source. 1 , 2 , 3
Where to Find It
PS is found in only trace amounts in a typical diet. Very small amounts are present in lecithin. The body manufactures PS from phospholipid building blocks. PS research has used material derived from a bovine source. Currently, PS that is commercially available is derived from soy.
PS is not an essential nutrient, and therefore dietary deficiencies do not occur. Adults age 50 and older, especially those with age-related cognitive decline, may not synthesize enough PS, and appear most likely to benefit from supplemental PS.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Interactions with Medicines
1. Furushiro M, Suzuki S, Shishido Y, et al. Effects of oral administration of soybean lecithin transphosphatidylated phosphatidylserine on impaired learning of passive avoidance in mice. Jpn J Pharmacol 1997;75:447-50.
2. Sakai M, Yamatoya H, Kudo S. Pharmacological effects of phosphatidylserine enzymatically synthesized from soybean lecithin on brain functions in rodents. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1996;42:47-54.
3. Blokland A, Honig W, Brouns F, et al. Cognition-enhancing properties of subchronic phosphatidylserine (PS) treatment in middle-aged rats: comparison of bovine cortex PS with egg PS and soybean PS. Nutrition 1999;15:778-83.
Last Review: 05-24-2015
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