When the human brain gets older, it doesn’t work as efficiently as it used to. This is due to neuron loss, connections between the neurons deteriorating, lower synthesis of neurotransmitters (how neurons communicate), less sensitivity to certain neurotransmitters, and abnormal neuronal membranes. Phosphatidylserine is merely a molecule composed of lipids (fat) and phosphate. One of the more plentiful phospholipids in humans, phosphatidylserine makes up to 20% of phospholipids in adult plasma and membranes. It is also required for healthy neurons and myelin, the fatty sheath around most neurons, which helps them work efficiently. It is even involved in healthy blood clotting. This particular phospholipid is considered an antioxidant and is also anti-inflammatory.
Did you know phosphatidylserine in the gray matter of the brain doubles from birth to age 80?
Research studies have found when Alzheimer’s patients use phosphatidylserine, their brain cells start working more effectively. Several studies in elderly men and women over age 60 without dementia, had improvements in short-term memory, vocabulary skills, word recall, attention, and concentration. Phosphatidylserine also increased the learning ability of participants and the ability to complete daily tasks. It has been found to help slow down or stop cognitive decline, reducing the risk of developing dementia later in life.
In those who already have dementia, phosphatidylserine seems to improve more severe memory loss and cognitive function, but only when it is taken regularly. In those with Alzheimer’s, it appears to help stabilize cognitive function, though it still continues to decline over time. Additionally, phosphatidylserine has been helpful with people suffering from chronic depression by improving sleep, increasing motivation, and making social interactions better.
When taken orally, phosphatidylserine is easily absorbed and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Generally, research has shown taking 100 mg of phosphatidylserine two to three times a day is most helpful. It can be from plant or animal sources depending on the supplement company, and both sources have been found effective. For food sources, soybeans, egg yolks, and liver contain small amounts. If you are on blood thinners, talk to your doctor before adding phosphatidylserine to your diet.
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Glade, M. J., & Smith, K. 2015. “Phosphatidylserine and the Human Brain.” Nutrition, 31(6); 781–786. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014
Ma Xiaohua, et al. 2022. “Phosphatidylserine, Inflammation, and Central Nervous System Diseases.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2022.975176. DOI=10.3389/fnagi.2022.975176
Web MD Editorial Contributors. N.D. “Healthy Benefits of Phosphatidylserine.” Web MD. Revised Nov. 27, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-phosphatidylserine