The Essential Fatty Acid: Phosphatidylserine
The link between old age and forgetfulness is cliché enough to be the subject of greeting cards, sitcoms and jokes. We take it for granted so often that very few of us take the time to question why it happens. However, experts may have found the answer in an essential fatty acid called phosphatidylserine.
Our bodies need this phospholipid to build brain cell membranes that are fluid enough to release the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine, but luckily, our brains normally manufacture enough phosphatidylserine (PS) to keep us in top mental order. However, when we reach middle age, our levels of PS begin to decline — an effect that is worsened by deficiencies of other essential fatty acids, folic acid or vitamin B12. Because PS is necessary for effective neurotransmission, PS deficiency is linked to mental impairment, including Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease among middle-aged and elderly people.
Since PS deficiency is associated with these common age-related conditions, many experts believe that PS supplements can help improve, or even reverse, symptoms. As Elizabeth Somer further explains in her book, Food & Mood, “PS supplements restock brain cell membranes, boosting nerve chemical activity such as dopamine and serotonin, stimulating nerve cell growth, lowering levels of the stress hormones, possibly generating new connections between cells, and stirring activity in all brain centers, especially higher brain centers such as the cortex, hypothalamus and pituitary gland.”
In other words, PS supplements may give a 50-year-old the same brainpower as a healthy 20-year-old. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, according to the 2002 Bottom Line Yearbook, “Phosphatidylserine is the only medication that’s been proven to reverse age-related memory loss in clinical studies.”
Furthermore, these clinical studies are overwhelmingly positive about the amazing abilities of PS. In Alternative Cures, Bill Gottlieb reports that one study demonstrated that PS can reverse the chronological age of neurons by as much as 12 years. Of course, this has enormous implications for people suffering from age-related dementia.
A recent study on men aged 50 and older with non-Alzheimer’s dementia found that a three-month regimen of 300 milligrams of PS daily was enough treatment to drastically improve mental function, according to Dr. Russell L. Blaylock’s book, Excitotoxins. In one study, Alzheimer’s patients experienced cognitive improvements after receiving only 100 milligrams of PS for three months, while another study demonstrated that 400 milligrams of PS per day led to short-term neurological and psychological improvements in people with Alzheimer’s.
Though the tested dosages vary, the results add up to one thing: New hope for people suffering from age-related mental decline. The abilities of PS look so promising that phosphatidylserine expert and author Professor Parris Kidd calls it “the single best means for conserving memory and other higher brain functions as we age.”
So, how can you explore the benefits of PS supplementation for yourself? Previously, PS supplements were only made from phosphatidylserine isolated from cow brains, posing the problem of mad cow disease. But now, scientists can create PS by putting soy lecithin through an enzymatic process that changes phosphatidylcholine into phosphatidylserine. As PDR for Nutritional Supplements authors Dr. Sheldon Saul Hendler and David Rorvik explain, PS derived from soy differs from that isolated from cow brains by the form of its fatty acids: “Phosphatidylserine from soy lecithin contains mainly polyunsatured fatty acids, while phosphatidylserine derived from bovine brain contains mainly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as some docosahexaenoic acid.”
According to Dr. Hendler and Rorvik, the risk of mad cow disease, though hypothetical, is in itself enough to make soy lecithin-derived PS the better option. Furthermore, as an interesting side note, the book Natural Cures and Gentle Medicines reports that there is a product called Brain Gum. Because the gum is fortified with a 40 percent concentration of PS, its creators claim that only three pieces a day can help you learn better and increase your memory and concentration. You can learn more about Brain Gum at www.braingum.com, however, neither I nor Truth Publishing currently endorse this product (we simply haven’t tried it yet).
Whichever way you choose to take PS supplements, it may be worth a try, especially if you are already experiencing age-related mental decline. After reviewing more than 3,000 peer-reviewed research papers on PS, Professor Kidd asserts, “The remarkable benefits of PS and its safety in use are now established beyond doubt,” in Dr. Mark Stengler’s Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies. Similarly, in his Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, Dr. Hendler writes that PS “does not appear to have any adverse side effects.”
So, how much PS should you take? Many experts believe 300 milligrams daily, taken in three doses of 100 milligrams each, is sufficient, but, of course, you should discuss your dosage information with a health care professional, preferably a naturopath.
Human-based clinical studies
Alzheimer’s disease and senile patients have also experienced benefits following treatment with phosphatidylserine. Doses of 400 mg per day led to significant, short-term neuropsychological improvements in such patients relative to controls. The administration of 300 mg per day for eight weeks led to significant clinical improvements in patients with mild primary degenerative dementia. In another study, Alzheimer’s patients received 100 mg per day of bovine cortex phosphatidylserine for twelve weeks. Results showed the treatment improved several cognitive measures relative to controls. Animal trials have produced similar results. Phosphatidylserine has promise for cancer and heart disease as well. Ultimate Anti-Aging Program by Gary Null PhD, page 183
Phosphatidylserine is one of the most abundant phospholipids in the brain. Its primary role is to help relay chemical messages from brain cell to brain cell. Studies have shown that phosphatidylserine supplements can have a significantly positive effect on brain function. In one recent study, 149 healthy men and women, 50 to 70 years of age, were all diagnosed with normal age-associated memory impairment, the kind of forgetfulness we all experience as we grow older. Participants were given 100 mg of phosphatidylserine (PS) daily for 12 weeks, or a placebo. Those taking the PS noted significant improvements in their ability to do normal tasks, such as recall telephone numbers and names and faces. Those who took the placebo showed virtually no change. Earl Mindell’s Supplement Bible by Earl Mindell RPh PhD, page 261
Parkinson’s Disease -This article notes that clinical and experimental research indicates phosphatidylserine prepared from cow’s brain can have positive effects on cerebral changes involved in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s type senile dementia among patients with Parkinson’s disease. The Clinician’s Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 122
In a 1991 study of phosphatidylserine among people aged 50 to 75, doctors found positive results when they used 100-milligram doses of PS, three times daily. Researchers found a 30 percent improvement in cognitive function that included memory, learning, recalling names, faces, and numbers. They also found that some people with the worst memory impairment were more likely to respond positively to PS. Natural Physicians Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler ND, page 363
Alzheimer’s Disease study results showed that phosphatidylserine administered in doses of 400 mg per day led to significant, short-term neuropsychological improvements in patients with Alzheimer’s disease relative to controls. The Clinician’s Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 117
The primary use of phosphatidylserine is in the treatment of depression and/or impaired mental function in the elderly. Very good results have been obtained in numerous double-blind studies. Statistically significant improvements were noted in the phosphatidylserine-treated group in mental function, mood, and behavior. In a double-blind study of depressed elderly patients, phosphatidylserine improved depressive symptoms, memory, and behavior. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Michael T Murray ND, page 357
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 and may help preserve, or even improve, some aspects of mental functioning in the elderly when taken in the amount of 300 mg per day for 3 to 6 months, according to double-blind research. Placebo-controlled and double-blind studies have shown mild benefits from PS supplementation when used in the amount of 300 mg per day for 3 to 12 weeks in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. In one double-blind study, the improvement on standardized tests of mental functioning averaged approximately 15%. Continued improvement has been reported up to 3 months beyond the end of the supplementation period. The Natural Pharmacy by Schuyler W Lininger, page 264
Oral administration of 300 mg per day of soybean transphosphatidylated phosphatidylserine can improve and/or prevent senile dementia in humans. The Clinician’s Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 120
Phosphatidylserine supplementation in animal studies and human clinical trials has significantly improved acetylcholine release, memory, and age-related brain changes. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Michael T Murray ND, page 356
Double-blind Randomized Controlled Study of phosphatidylserine in Senile Demented Patients. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of 300 mg per day of phosphatidylserine for 30 days on cognitive, affective and behavioral symptoms of elderly women with depressive disorders. Results showed that patients receiving phosphatidylserine experienced improvements with respect to memory, behavior, and depressive symptoms relative to controls. The Clinician’s Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 119
An impressive volume of research shows that phosphatidylserine, another modified amino acid, benefits acetylcholine deficiencies. We often recommend phosphatidylserine in our clinic when a patient is diagnosed with a memory disorder, early dementia, or depression. Multiple sclerosis patients may respond to phosphatidylserine as well. The Edge Effect By Eric R Braverman MD, page 112
Brain Function — Results of this study showed that patients suffering from chronic cerebral decomponensation experienced improvements in mnesic and neuropsychic symtpomatology following phosphatidylserine administration for 60 days. The Clinician’s Handbook Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 119
What is phosphatidylserine and what does it do in general?
- Phosphatidylserine is a major building block for nerve cells.
- Phosphatidylserine is a constituent of cell membranes and, as the major phospholipid in the brain, plays a role in the integrity and fluidity of cell membranes, especially in nerve cells. Phosphatidylserine supplementation improves the release of acetylcholine and dopamine (neurotransmitters) in the brain to improve cognition and memory, and it has a positive impact on behavior. Phosphatidylserine is also needed for proper metabolism of fatty acids and to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Phosphatidylserine is the major phospholipid in the brain, where it plays a major role in determining the integrity and fluidity of cell membranes.
- Phosphatidylserine has potential to improve neural function, helping to maintain cell membrane integrity and protecting brain cells against functional deterioration.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an essential fatty acid that allows brain cells to better absorb nutrients. It has been shown to improve memory and learning in the most severe cases.
- Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that is vital to neuronal functioning and brain metabolism.
- Phosphatidylserine (also called PS) is being hailed as the “ginkgo for the millennium.” Studies have shown that this phospholipid extract from soy is effective in improving mental alertness, and especially the memory, in people with age-related mental decline. PS is an important phospholipid that is a building block for cell membranes. It is found in every human cell, but is a very specific brain nutrient, being most highly concentrated in brain cells.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) improves neurotransmitter functioning and enhances the metabolism of cellular energy throughout the body.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS), plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of brain cell membranes. The breakdown of these membranes prevents glucose and other nutrients from entering the cell. By protecting the integrity of cell membranes, PS facilitates the efficient transport of energy-producing nutrients into cells, enhancing brain cell energy metabolism.
- Although phosphatidylserine is found in every cell type in the body, it plays an especially vital role in nerve tissue. It is critical in membrane-to-membrane fusion — a key process in neurotransmitter release — as well as activating cell surface receptors and supporting the transmission of chemical signals.
- It is known that phosphatidylserine is a natural glutamate blocker. It has also been shown to improve cell membrane stability and fluidity. As we age our cell membranes become stiffer, interfering with their normal operation in a multitude of functions such as electrolyte exchange gradients, receptor function, and impulse generation. Phosphatidylserine appears to restore a more youthful composition to these vital membranes. This intriguing compound has also shown promise in Alzheimer’s patients. Most improved on several measures of cognitive functions and the result appeared to be most dramatic in those having earlier stages of the disease.
- Phospholipids help form the neurons’ outer covering, or membrane, and aid communication between brain cells.
- Phosphatidylserine enhances all aspects of cell metabolism; acts on the neuron membrane as aneuroendocrine factor to release intracellular amine stores; improved muscarine cholinergic receptors in brains of aged mice at 10-40 mg. per kg. of body weight; improved glucose metabolism 15-20% in Brain areas of Alzheimer’s patients at 500 mg. daily for 3 weeks, and 300 mg. daily improved attention and sociability.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) is one particularly important phospholipid that is involved in relaying chemical messages throughout the brain, helping brain cells to store and retrieve information.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS), a natural substance derived from the amino acid serine, affects neurotransmitter levels in the brain that affect mood.
- Phosphatidylserine has been shown consistently to improve memory and attention, without causing serious side effects. Phosphatidylserine seems to enhance communication between the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. It also appears to inhibit synthesis of cortisol, a stress hormone that may interfere with thinking and memory.
- N-acetyl-cysteine has antioxidant properties that can promote healthy functioning of the brain, while phosphatidylserine enhances the ability of enzymes in membranes of nerve cells to relay messages in and out of the cells. This product can improve memory and learning capacity in older adults, and can ameliorate symptoms of depression. Phosphatidylserine is especially effective when paired with omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
- Phosphatidylserine has been shown to help relieve depression.
- Phosphatidylserine, a type of lipid, is an important nutrient for the brain. It can help restore and preserve brain function, including memory. Smart Medicine For Healthier Living by Janet Zand LAc OMD Allan N Spreen MD CNC
- Supplemental forms of a phospholipid called phosphatidylserine (PS), which is normally found in the brain, have been widely used for treating cognitive disorders.
- Phosphatidylserine, a type of lipid, can be helpful if memory problems accompany fibromyalgia. It often yields rapid and impressive improvement in memory and mental alertness.
- Schizophrenia and epilepsy patients have benefited from phosphatidylserine. Stress is another condition that phostphatidylserine can help. The administration of 800 mg per day of phosphatidylserine for ten days on neuroendocrine responses to physical stress in healthy males found it counteracted activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis induced by stress. Pretreatment of healthy males with doses of 50 and 75 mg per day of brain cortex-derived phosphatidlyserine produced a significant blunting of the ACTH and cortisol responses to physical stress. Phosphatidylserine is a nutritional supplement, not a drug; as such, it is more widely known in alternative than in conventional medicinal circles. In short, it is a fatty substance that may halt memory declines and even bring memory improvements (at least among those who have already suffered some decline).
- Phosphatidylserine: A Brain-Cell Stimulator “Certain nutritional supplements can protect and stimulate brain cells, making the most of what hasn’t been killed or damaged by the stroke,” says Phillip Minton, M.D., a homeopathic physician in Reno. The nutrient phosphatidylserine, which is a component of cellular membranes, is among them.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) – an essential fatty acid your body produces naturally in limited amounts—keeps your brain active and alert, starting on the cellular level. First, it “influences fluidity” of the brain-cell membrane. By facilitating the delivery of nutrients to the brain cells, as well as the cells’ ability to receive the nutrients, PS effectively feeds your