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Chances are you’ve never heard of phosphatidylserine. It’s a fatty substance that covers cell membranes in the body and is especially abundant in the neurons of your brain — for good reason: It’s the key to a better brain.
Phosphatidylserine is essential for healthy nerve cell membranes and myelin, an insulating layer or sheath made up of protein and fatty substances that forms around nerves, including those in the brain.
The sheath allows for successful neurotransmissions — electrical impulses that transmit along the nerve cells. In the brain, this allows brain cells to communicate with one another, making it possible for you to concentrate, remember, learn, and manage emotions, as well for the brain to signal locomotor functions, like rapid reactions and reflexes.
Although the body manufactures some PS on its own, our primary sources of PS are dietary or supplemental. This is especially important to remember, as the body produces less of this important nutrient with age.
Let’s talk about the benefits of PS and how to keep them coming…
The benefits of phosphatidylserine
Memory. Phosphatidylserine (PS for short) is best known as a nootropic, meaning simply that it supports brain function.
As the human brain ages, it experiences biochemical alterations and structural deterioration that impair transmission between nerve cells. In other words, the protective myelin sheath may break down and the electrical impulses involved in nerve communication don’t work as they should. This results commonly in memory and cognition problems that we’ve come to accept as a normal part of aging.
According to a review of 127 scientifically published papers on the nutrient, study authors concluded that 300 to 800 mg of PS is not only absorbed efficiently but also “crosses the blood-brain barrier and safely slows, halts or reverses the biochemical alterations and structural deterioration in nerve cells.”
The authors also stated that it “supports human cognitive functions, including the formation of short-term memory, the consolidation of long-term memory, the ability to create new memories, the ability to retrieve memories, the ability to learn and recall information, the ability to focus attention and concentrate, the ability to reason and solve problems, language skills, and the ability to communicate. It also supports locomotor functions, especially rapid reactions and reflexes.”
In another study, subjects’ increased memory scores were mostly attributed to an increase in delayed verbal recall, where a person must repeat a sequence of words an hour or more after hearing them.
This type of verbal recall is one of the first memory abilities to be lost in the early stages of cognitive decline.
Sleep. PS supplements are perhaps the safest sleep aid out there. They’re made from plant extracts and act naturally on the brain.
By resensitizing the hypothalamus and the hippocampus — the brain’s “shut-off valves” for cortisol — to your natural circadian rhythm, they help do away with the extreme fluctuations in cortisol that result from stress and can interfere with proper sleep.
Depression and anxiety. Research has shown that depression can accelerate aging and conversely, aging can impact depression. In a study published in Mental Illness, researchers reported that PS and omega-3 fatty acids relieved depressive symptoms in elderly individuals suffering from late-life depression who had been previously unresponsive to antidepressant medications. Studies have also found PS brought an improvement in symptoms of Parkinson’s patients, including better mood control.
Stress. Clinical studies have found that taking supplemental PS reduces serum adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol levels, as well as salivary cortisol levels following mental stress. In other words, PS helps blunt the effects of stress by decreasing blood levels of the stress hormones ACTH, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
How to increase phosphatidylserine
As we age, we naturally produce less and less PS. Fortunately, there are some good dietary sources of this nootropic. There are a few foods sources, including soy, white beans, egg yolks, chicken liver, and beef liver. Soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin are high sources usually included in supplements.
As the extensive study review that we mentioned above found, a dosage of between 300 and 800 milligrams daily is absorbed well by most people. A “therapeutic” dose is 100mg three times a day.
As always when starting a new supplement, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor if you have any conditions that require certain medications.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
Phosphatidylserine and the human brain — The Journal Nutrition
The Health Benefits of Phosphatidylserine — verywellmind.com
Phosphatidylserine and the human brain — Science Direct
Soybean-Derived Phosphatidylserine Improves Memory Function of the Elderly Japanese Subjects with Memory Complaints — Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition
PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE — WebMD
What is Phosphatidylserine? — Wisepowder.com
Everything you need to know about tofu — Medical News Today