Phosphatidylserine is a popular ingredient in supplements that support memory and cognitive function, and with good reason.
The primary structural elements of cell membranes are called phospholipids. These fatty acids not only serve as our cells’ structural support; they also mediate each cell’s participation in the overall organization of the organism or system of which that cell is a part. In this role, phospholipids are directly involved in intercellular communication, including the production and decoding of “messenger molecules.” Nowhere is this communication function more important than in the brain and central nervous system—your body’s “command central.”
Phosphatidylserine is one of these phospholipids, and it happens to be particularly abundant in the brain. It also helps keep cell membranes fluid, flexible, and ready for nutrient absorption. And, when taken as a supplement, phosphatidylserine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and is well absorbed by cells.
Numerous controlled clinical studies have demonstrated phosphatidylserine’s positive effects on neuronal membranes, cell metabolism, and neurotransmitters, and subsequently, memory and cognitive function. In one study, 149 patients, ages 50 to 70, were given 300 mg of phosphatidylserine for 12 weeks and tested periodically during that time. All of the patients noticed some improvement, but 57 of the patients—those with the most memory impairment at the onset of the study—showed the greatest results. This sub-group had significant improvements in learning and recalling names and faces; recalling telephone numbers, misplaced objects, and paragraphs; and concentrating while reading, conversing, and performing tasks.
Other reported benefits of phosphatidylserine include lowering levels of stress hormones and improving sense of well-being.
For general cognitive support and the other benefits of phosphatidylserine, the recommended starting dose is 200 mg a day, decreased to 100 mg daily after one or two months. If you’re concerned about dementia, take 300 mg of supplemental phosphatidylserine per day. Phosphatidylserine is available in combination and stand-alone supplements.