This healthy fat helps make up cell membranes and is especially concentrated in the brain – hence its utility in a range of cognitive concerns from ADHD to Alzheimer’s and depression.1-3
This difficult-to-pronounce chemical word actual has an approved health claim from the FDA. The qualifying language authorized by FDA for the nutrients, some say, diminishes the impact of the claims. For instance, the claim reads: "Phosphatidylserine (PS) may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly. Very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that PS may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim."
"These claims allowed by FDA are unnecessarily modest compared with the extent of the clinical research that supports PS," says phospholipid researcher Parris Kidd, PhD. "However, they are a concession by the agency that a nutrient can make a real difference for people struggling to overcome memory breakdown."
In one early trial with bovine brain-derived PC, memory pioneer Thomas Crook treated 149 patients with age-associated memory impairment. They took 300 milligrams per day PS or placebo for 12 weeks. Using well-validated tests related to learning and memory tasks of daily life, they found that a patient subgroup that was more severely affected to begin with improved significantly after taking PS, compared to those taking placebo.4
Some studies show that phosphatidylserine is even more effective when taken in combination with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. In a three-month study of children with ADHD, those taking the combination of PS with fish oil omega-3s DHA and EPA fared better than those taking the fish oil alone.5
Because PS is part of the bricks-and-mortar of cell walls, it helps the entire cell function better because proteins, enzymes and other nutrients need entrée through the cell wall. So supplementing with PS is an effective way of enhancing cellular wellness – especially those in the noggin.
It’s important to note that most of the research has been done in PS derived from bovine sources – concerns over mad-cow disease forced manufacturers to attain sources from soy. Does that make a difference? It could, and not enough research from soy-derived sources can validate all of the promise from bovine sources, though that is beginning to change.6-8
6. Fahey T, Pearl M. The hormonal and perceptive effects of phosphatidylserine administration during two weeks of resistive exercise-induced overtraining. Biol Sport 1998;15:135-42.
7. Gindin J, et al. The effect of plant phosphatidylserine on age-associated memory and mood in the functioning elderly. Kaplan Hospital, Rehovoth, Israel, 1995.
8. Crook TH. Treatment of age-related cognitive decline: effects of phosphatidylserine. In, Klatz RA, Goldman R, eds. Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics, Volume II. Chicago, IL:Health Quest Publications;1998.
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