Some supplements are easy to understand, like whey protein. What is whey protein? Oh that’s protein made from whey! Or a pre-workout. Something you should take 30 minutes before a workout, of course. We take these easy to interpret names for granted when a new supplement hops into the market and has yet to adopt a nickname.
This is the case for today’s article on phosphatidylserine which is actually an effective and useful supplement, but I bet you didn’t even try to pronounce it (or gave up halfway through like I did). To simplify this process, let’s refer to phosphatidylserine as PS for the remainder of the article for your (and my) comfort.
PS and other supplements of the such with long and very scientific names unfortunately are pushed to the side for more aesthetic looking and sounding products.
Hopefully by the end of this article though, I will show you why researching and taking the time to learn more about new supplements will be well worth your time.
So, what is PS and why is it sold as a supplement?
Phosphatidylserine Composition And Benefits
Surprisingly, PS is found naturally in our body, despite its deceivingly synthetic name. It is an aminophospholipid, which means it is both an amino acid and a lipid. Found mostly in your brain, PS is prevalent in every cell membrane in the body.
Being able to pass the blood-brain barrier (meaning it can easily get to the brain from the rest of the body), PS is known as a nootropic, or a class of supplements/ingredients that can directly impact brain function beneficially. This specifically impacts the elasticity of neurons and mental dexterity of our brains connections, which has numerous benefits.
Most notably, PS has been shown to increase long and short-term memory, particularly inthe elderly who show signs of Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Beyond memory, it appears to also improve complex thought and focus.
Put in different terms, PS might be able to slow the aging process of the brain and help delay many forms of mental degradation disorders including, but possibly not limited to, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS) in addition to Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
While the benefits of PS have more studies and efficacy backing its benefits towards slowing mental degradation, other benefits are speculated to exist as well. There is evidence that it can possibly lessen the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder, but more studies need to be conducted.
Since those suffering from depression tend to have low levels of PS in their brain, there is a chance that it could possibly improve mood and lessen fatigue. In addition to this, PS might also lower cortisol (the stress hormone) that can cause insomnia, weight gain, and a constant cloudy mental state.
Those who have a history of alcohol/drug abuse or a head trauma/stroke could also receive some increased mental recovery when supplementing PS.
For all those reading and hoping there is some kind of exercise-related benefit of taking PS, there is a chance. Light research shows that PS could decrease exercise-induced muscle damage as well as decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but the research is still in
it’s preliminary phases.
The list of possible benefits goes on beyond all the already mentioned. At the end of the day, just remember that if you suffer from any sort of mental issues such as depression or stress, PS will most likely be able to give you some positive benefit but of course with all new supplements more studies need to be done to solidify these benefits.
How To Supplement With PS
PS is conditionally essential, meaning that our bodies naturally create this on its own, but in stages of mental aging the brain can run low and supplementation becomes more important. That being said, healthy individuals might be able to take extra PS to receive benefits.
Found in the brains of bovine, the original PS supplements were sourced from cows but thankfully have since been discontinued due to the possibility of causing mad cow disease. Not many foods are high in PS besides animal brains and soy (soy lecithin more specifically), making the latter the main ingredient in all supplements today so they are generally suitable for vegetarians/vegans (depending on the casing of the pill).
Since it has only been studied and used as a supplement for a few decades, the clinically effective dose is hard to determine. The best recommendations we know today is between 100 and 500mgs but this will vary from person to person. What this means is you should probably start with the lower end dose and see how your body reacts, and fine tune for your needs.
PS has been shown to be very safe in practice, as it isn’t until around 600mgs taken at one time that side effects such as stomach discomfort, gas and trouble sleeping begin the surface. Like most supplements, make sure to choose quality over quantity, as a reputable source will be more likely to not use cheap fillers or a low-quality version of PS.
Take Home Message
While it might not sound like the next cutting-edge supplement to hit the market, PS is a legitimate and very important phospholipid for a lot of people.
Even if you aren’t at risk genetically or age-wise for any kind of mental disease, its possible benefits for memory, ADHD and bipolar disorder, lowered muscle soreness, lowered cortisol (to name a few) should motivate everybody to at least contemplate trying PS.
For healthy individuals it is by no means a near essential supplement like a fish oil or a multivitamin is, but if you have some money to spend and want to try something new, PS could be your answer. Whether you give it an honest try for a few weeks and feel no different, or can feel an appreciative difference and it becomes a new supplement you add to your daily routine, I hope you learned some new and valuable information!