The Benefits of Phosphatidylserine

What Should I Know About It?

Phosphatidylserine is a compound produced by the body. A key component of the cell membrane, phosphatidylserine is essential to cell-to-cell communication and transfer of biochemical messages into the cell (especially within the brain and central nervous system). It is also available in certain foods and found in dietary supplement form.

Uses for Phosphatidylserine

In alternative medicine, phosphatidylserine supplements are said to treat and/or prevent many health problems, including:

In addition, phosphatidylserine supplements are purported to preserve memory, promote healthy sleep, improve mood, and enhance exercise performance.

Benefits of Phosphatidylserine

So far, scientific support for the health benefits of phosphatidylserine is limited. Here's a look at some key findings:

1) Exercise

Phosphatidylserine supplements may help boost exercise capacity and improve athletic performance, according to a 2006 report published in Sports Medicine. In their analysis of the available research on use of phosphatidylserine supplements among exercising humans, the report's authors also found that phosphatidylserine may help decrease muscle soreness and protect against the increase in levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) that often occurs as a result of overtraining.

Related: Natural Relief for Sore Muscles.

2) Memory

Phosphatidylserine may help improve memory function in older adults, suggests a 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. For the study, 78 elderly people with mild cognitive impairment were assigned to six months of treatment with phosphatidylserine supplements, or a placebo.

In tests performed at the end of the six-month period, participants with relatively low memory scores at the start of the study were found to have experienced a significant improvement in memory.

Find out about Natural Ways to Improve Memory.

3) Depression

Preliminary research indicates that phosphatidylserine holds promise in the treatment of depression. In a 2004 study published in Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, for example, tests on rats demonstrated that phosphatidylserine may offer an antidepressive effect. However, more research is needed before phosphatidylserine supplements can be recommended for treatment of depression in humans.

See Depression Remedies: 8 Natural Treatments to Consider.

4) ADHD

Using phosphatidylserine in combination with omega-3 fatty acids may aid in the treatment of ADHD in children, suggests a 2012 study published in European Psychiatry.

For the study, 200 children with ADHD were assigned to 15 weeks of treatment with either a placebo or supplements containing phosphatidylserine and omega-3 fatty acids.

Study results revealed that participants treated with the combination of phosphatidylserine and omega-3 fatty acids experienced a significantly greater reduction in hyperactive/impulsive behavior and a greater improvement in mood (compared to those given the placebo).

Caveats

Phosphatidylserine may trigger a number of side effects, including insomnia and stomach upset.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can also get tips on using supplements here

Food Sources

Phosphatidylserine is available in a number foods, including soy, egg yolks, chicken liver, and beef liver.

Using Phosphatidylserine

Widely available for purchase online, phosphatidylserine supplements are sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements. However, due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend phosphatidylserine for any condition. If you're considering using it, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources

Authors not listed. "Phosphatidylserine. Monograph." Altern Med Rev. 2008 Sep;13(3):245-7.

Castilho JC, Perry JC, Andreatini R, Vital MA. "Phosphatidylserine: an antidepressive or a cognitive enhancer?" Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;28(4):731-8.

Kato-Kataoka A, Sakai M, Ebina R, Nonaka C, Asano T, Miyamori T. "Soybean-derived phosphatidylserine improves memory function of the elderly Japanese subjects with memory complaints." J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010 Nov;47(3):246-55.

Kingsley M. "Effects of phosphatidylserine supplementation on exercising humans." Sports Med. 2006;36(8):657-69.

Manor I, Magen A, Keidar D, Rosen S, Tasker H, Cohen T, Richter Y, Zaaroor-Regev D, Manor Y, Weizman A. "The effect of phosphatidylserine containing Omega3 fatty-acids on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, followed by an open-label extension." Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;27(5):335-42.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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