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Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an amino acid derivative compound that is fat-soluble and found in high amounts in the brain, where it contributes to cognitive functioning. Found in high amounts in fish, it may improve memory in the elderly and lowers cortisol.

Our evidence-based analysis on phosphatidylserine features 60 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Phosphatidylserine

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Phosphatidylserine, or PS, is a compound similar to a dietary fat which is highly prevalent in human neural tissue. It can be synthesized as well as consumed through the diet , but further benefits can be gained through supplementation.

It is vital for cognitive function, but is not necessarily needed as the body synthesizes it. However, Phosphatidylserine (PS) supplementation in older individuals seems to improve memory and cognitive capacity.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

A standard dose of phosphatidylserine (PS) is 100mg, taken 3 times a day to total 300mg daily. This dose seems to be effective as a daily preventative against cognitive decline, and 100mg once daily may provide some degree of benefit (but may be lesser than 300mg).

Studies in children and adolescents for the purpose of attention improvement tend to use 200mg, and a dose of 200-400mg has been used in adult non-elderly humans with success. Animal evidence tends to use a dose correlating to 550mg as well.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Phosphatidylserine has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
The interactions of supplemental PS with cognition in healthy persons is not fully researched, but there appears to be a positive influence; this may be secondary to a reduction in stress and excitation (the latter resulting in an increase in attention) but increased glucose utilization is an unexplored possibility
grade-b Minor High See all 5 studies
There appears to be a protective effect against cognitive decline with PS supplementation above 300mg when using the bovine cortex form; usage of the soy based PS is not yet confirmed to have these effects, although it is possible
grade-b - Very High See all 4 studies
A decrease in exercise-induced cortisol has been noted with the bovine cortex sourced PS only, soy based supplements (which are usually the only ones sold now due to fear of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease) have been shown to have outright no effect at doses up to 750mg
grade-c Notable - See study
An increase in time to exhaustion has been noted in cycling at 85% of VO2 max with soy based phosphatidylserine (750mg) to the degree of 29+/-8%, which is quite notable. This is independent of cortisol, and requires further investigation
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
There appears to be reduced symptoms of both hyperactivity and attention deficit in children given PS, which may be more effective when the PS is complexed with fish oils
grade-c Minor - See study
The improvement in attention is associated with reducing the symptoms of attention deficit, an increase in attention outright has not yet been demonstrated
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Unreliable effects, but a quite notable reduction in fatigue has been noted during intense exercise (85% VO2 max) which resulted in increased time to exhaustion. This was not present at lower intensities
grade-c Minor - See study
Improved accuracy of golf swings thought to be due to a stress reducing effect
grade-c Minor Moderate See all 3 studies
Increases in memory have been noted in persons with cognitive decline. A memory improving effect in otherwise healthy people is theoretical (secondary to reducing stress, has been noted in rodents), but not demonstrated in humans yet
grade-c Minor - See study
Increased processing accuracy has been noted in otherwise healthy persons at 400mg PS daily when testing was conducted in a fatigued state (post exercise)
grade-c Minor - See study
Increased processing speed has been noted in otherwise healthy persons at 400mg PS daily when testing was conducted in a fatigued state (post exercise) which coincided with increase accuracy as well.
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Possible stress reducing effects that appear independent of cortisol and heart rate, although these effects are unreliable
grade-c Minor - See study
Improvement in working memory may be due to improved attention
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations in blood pressure noted with PS supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on oxidation biomarkers that are increased during exercise
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on fat oxidation during exercise
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on HDL-C with PS supplementation
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on heart rate with PS supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on inflammatory cytokines
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL-C with PS supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on liver enzymes seen with PS supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum biomarkers of muscle damage such as creatinine
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on perceived muscle soreness
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on oxygenation cost of exercise
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations in reaction time during treatment of cognitive decline
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on subjective well being noted
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on testosterone noted with PS supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence with PS supplementation on total cholesterol
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on triglycerides seen at rest or during exercise with PS supplementation
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase in glucose utilization has been noted in persons with Alzheimer's to the degree of around 15%; this has not been investigated in otherwise healthy persons
grade-d Minor - See study
A reduced rate of forgetting immediate information (results in 'grasping' information easier) has been noted during treatment of cognitive decline with PS; an inherent anti-amnesiac effect is not known
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on exercise-induced growth hormone
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on exercise-induced lactate production
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on exercise-induced prolactin

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Phosphatidylserine confounded with fish oil (not a complexed molecule, just the two taken alongside each other)[1][2]

  • Duplication is already in the table[3]

  • Injections, likely not practical[4][5]

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Also Known As

PS

Do Not Confuse With

Serine

Goes Well With

  • Fatty acids (due to fat solubility)

  • Phosphatidylserine is non-stimulatory

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Click here to see all 60 references.