If you’re like me and are looking to maximize your brainpower, chances are you’ve dabbled with nootropics before. Even if you haven’t, this will be your simple and easy introduction to these natural brain boosters.
Phosphatidylserine or simply PS is a vital part of your brain. It makes up a big chunk of your neuron membranes.
Because it regulates brain cell integrity, fluidity, and even neuron to neuron communication, PS is critical for a healthy and optimized brain. This includes your memory, mood, and stress response.
In this article, we’ll look at “what are the benefits of Phosphatidylserine” and break it all down for you in easy to digest facts.
What is Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine is an integral part of your brain. It makes up to 15% of your total brain’s phospholipid pool, and is found in the inner layer of your brain cell membranes. PS is critical for signal transmission from cell to cell, as well as brain cell fluidity.
So, why would you want to supplement with PS?
For many reasons. PS improves your brain function, makes you more alert, and helps you remember things more easily.
And as we said, PS is a natural nootropic. You get it from foods like fish. However, if you don’t eat enough of these foods, then your brain might not have enough building blocks to make PS.
This is where PS supplements come in. PS is shown to help with various things, from cognition to mood. Below I explain some of its science-backed benefits.
Phosphatidylserine is known to help you with a lot of things. But two particularly stand out:
- Boosts memory – Your brain cells require PS to transmit signals to one another. When there’s an optimal amount of PS in the brain, you may experience quick and clear thinking. PS is one of the best memory nootropics out there.
- Repairs neurons – Your brain cells are in a constant cycle of growth, death, and rebirth. Oxidative stress and aging slowly make a dent in this process, making it harder and harder for your neurons to get back to full health. PS helps combat this; it works together with DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) to boost neuron repair and survival.
Below we look at scientific studies that show Phosphatidylserine benefits in action.
Phosphatidylserine is shown to blunt the release of cortisol, which is the main stress hormone. Cortisol is believed to be one of the culprits of many modern diseases. By itself, it’s not a harmful hormone, but when you’re chronically stressed, it stays high and leads to problems.
A study gave young adults 300mg of Phosphatidylserine per day for a month. After this, the researchers put these people through a number of stressful tests. They found that people who took PS were less stressed and in a better mood. Suggesting that PS works even in healthy young adults. (1)
The bottom line: PS inhibits the release of cortisol, boosting your mood and reducing stress in the process.
It turns out that PS helps with both age-related cognitive decline, and more serious conditions like Alzheimer’s.
A study from Tel Aviv gave 100mg of Phosphatidylserine, 3 times per day, to 18 elderly volunteers with cognitive decline. The researchers evaluated the volunteers at the start of the study, after 6 weeks, and after 12 weeks. And guess what… those that took PS were miles ahead of those that didn’t, in terms of memory and cognition. What’s more, their cognitive abilities and memory continued to improve until the end of the 12-week study. (2)
Another trial with 51 Alzheimer’s patients showed that PS might be helpful for the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. (3)
The bottom line: Phosphatidylserine boosts memory and helps with age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
Alleviates ADD Symptoms
ADD is characterized by the inability to stay still and control your emotions. Oftentimes, symptoms of ADD are most apparent in children and students. But it’s not rare to see a case of adult ADD either.
A study wanted to test the effects of PS on 36 children between the ages of 4-14. They separated these kids into 2 groups; one group received 200mg of PS for 2 months, the other a placebo. They found that kids who took PS had better memory, more focus, and weren’t as impulsive as before. The placebo group saw no positive changes.
Now, this just shows what PS can do on its own. But what if you combine it with another brain-enhancer, such as omega-3s?
That’s exactly what one study tested. This one lasted for 30 weeks, and during this period, 200 ADHD children received omega-3s and PS together. The most significant change observed was a reduction in impulsiveness. On the flip side, the children’s emotion control and ability to stay still improved greatly.
The bottom line: PS is shown to be very helpful for ADD. It improves your focus, emotion control, and memory. Combined with DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), PS shows even better results.
Reduces Beta Brain Waves
Beta brain waves link to states of alertness, arousal, concentration, and thinking. When your brain is in this mode, you’re able to solve tasks, get things done, and deal with stressors. It’s not comfortable to be in a constant state of arousal, though.
As it turns out, PS supplementation can reduce beta brain waves. The team of researchers in Germany gave PS to a group of people for 42 days. They tested these people’s brainwaves at the start of the study, and after 42 days. The researchers found that PS significantly reduced people’s beta brain waves, while the control group saw no changes. (4)
The bottom line: PS will make you feel more relaxed and at ease by inhibiting beta brain waves which link to arousal, alertness, and stress. It will not make you drowsy or sedated, though.
Improves Cognition in Athletes
If you’re someone who trains hard, you probably felt what it was like to overdo it with exercise. Perhaps you felt mentally fatigued, were in bad mood, or had brain fog after training. The opposite of what typically happens after a good workout.
Phosphatidylserine appears to help with these things.
A study with 18 resistance-trained college students gave them PS for 14 days. After 14 days, these college students performed a bout of intense lower-body training. The study found that PS significantly improved mood and cognition prior to exercise – and it even prevented dips in mood and cognitive function after strenuous exercise.
The bottom line: Phosphatidylserine prevents the negative effects of resistance exercise on your hormones, mood, and cognition.
Phosphatidylserine Side Effects
Your brain cells are partially made of Phosphatidylserine (PS). Generally, it’s a safe and non-toxic compound.
However, PS might not sit well with some people. If you take higher than recommended dosage (300mg per day), you may end up with a stomach upset or insomnia.
People that take Alzheimer’s medications should talk to their doctor before taking PS. That’s because both PS and certain Alzheimer’s medications increase Acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the brain. You could end up with too much ACh if you combine these two.
Anything Else to Consider?
If you’re looking for a mental boost, PS could help. As we’ve seen from studies, it’s an integral part of your brain cells and may support your memory, mood, and overall cognition.
That said, nootropics like PS should never be a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. This includes not only a clean diet but also regular exercise and quality sleep. You should make sure to cover the foundations first before looking for solutions in nootropics.
Even more importantly, you need to talk to your doctor if you ever have any medical questions. The advice you see here is not, and should not be a replacement for a professional medical opinion. If you suffer from any kind of illness or take medications, it’s better to see with your doctor that you’re OK to take PS or any other supplement for that matter.
Further Reading: Can CBD Improve Your Focus? (The Truth)
To wrap up – Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a vital phospholipid that makes up the inner part of your brain cell membranes.
You need it for thinking, memory, mood, cognition, and other bodily functions.
It’s shown to have benefits related to symptoms of ADD, it also reduces stress, and can greatly improve your focus and mood when combined with omega-3s.
PS is a non-toxic and safe compound for most people. That said, if you take any kind of medications, especially Alzheimer’s meds, then you need to check if PS is going to interact with them before proceeding to take this nootropic.