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Phosphatidyl Serine (PS)

[Well-Tested | Regulating the Flow | References]

For brain function, few nutrients are as important as the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS). 

Along with phosphatidylcholine (PC), which make up the cell membranes of many brain cells, phosphatidyl serine (PS) determines the minerals, nutrients, and drugs that go in and out of the cell.  PS and PC also influence communication between the brain cells.

Phosphatidylserine, which has two qualified health claims from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (see article link above), has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and Alzheimer's disease, and to enhance memory and learning abilities.  PS is also involved in the upkeep and restoration of nerve cell membranes.  

Phosphadidyl serine does all this through the following actions: PS stimulates the release of dopamine (a mood regulator that also controls physical sensations and movement), increases the production of acetylcholine (necessary for learning and memory), enhances brain glucose metabolism (the fuel used for brain activity), reduces levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), and boosts the activity of nerve growth factor, which oversees the health of cholinergic neurons. 

The nerve cell membrane is the site where molecules of sodium and potassium exchange electrons, causing the electrical impulse to be generated. This bioelectric current then travels along the membrane to trigger the release of neurotransmitters. These are the chemical messengers that cross synapses (gaps between nerve cells) to relay information to neighboring nerve cells. This sets other electrical currents in motion -- along thousands of other nerve cells. This happens billions of times each second, and is how the brain and nerves coordinate and communicate with the rest of the body.

Phosphatidyl Serine has a very important function in the nerve cell membrane. As a key bio-structural molecule, PS provides vital support for the membrane proteins that enable nerve cells to communicate and grow.  

The brain’s remarkable ability to perceive and perform, remember and learn, is severely challenged by today’s environment, accelerating the decline in nerve cell activity that normally occurs with age. 

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Here is a brief sample of published research on Phosphatidylserine:

U.S. scientists at the Memory Assessment Clinics in Bethesda, MD, found that compared to placebo, a 12-week regimen of PS (300 mg) improved learning and memory related to daily living, such as the ability to learn and recall names.

In a multicenter Italian study, 87 test subjects, aged 55 to 80, with moderate cognitive deterioration, received either 300 mg of PS or a placebo for a 60-day period.  Results from follow-up evaluation done at 60 days and 90 days, revealed improvements in the treatment group with regards to cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, and short-term memory.  Behavioral measurements also showed improvement in socialization aspects, daily living, and of being more engaged with one's environment. 

In 51 patients with Alzheimer's disease, a 12-week treatment with 300 mg of PS resulted in significant improvement in several cognitive functions for the treated group, compared to placebo.  Differences were more dramatic among patients with less severe cognitive impairment. 

Researchers at the University of Naples showed that high doses of PS administered over a short period of time could elicit neuroendocrine responses to physical stress in men that suggest a positive effect on mood.  In this case, nine young, healthy men took 800 mg of PS daily for 10 days.  

Subjects taking Phosphatidylserine showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism and scored higher on cognitive tests.4 Behavioral factors were also measured in elderly subjects; PS positively affected their mood states.5

Over 23 clinical trials have investigated the effect of Phosphatidyl Serine supplements on more than 1200 human subjects, ages 40 to 93. Consistent and statistically significant results suggest that PS supports brain functions that tend to diminish with age.

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Regulating the Flow

Unlike other cells in the body, nerve cells do not reproduce. Instead, they repair and rebuild themselves, using proteins called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Experiments verify that PS enhances the synthesis and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.1

Phosphatidylserine supplements enhance the cerebral cortex's output of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter associated with our ability to think, reason, and concentrate. PS also stimulates the synthesis and release of dopamine, related to heightened states of attention.2

The brain's response to stress also appears to be related to Phosphatidyl Serine. When healthy young men were subjected to exercise-induced stress, those taking PS had a lowered stress response. This was measured by blood levels of ACTH, the pituitary hormone that triggers the adrenals to secrete the stress hormone cortisol.3

Wellness Redefined

Nutritional research continually reveals new potentials for wellness. PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE can help support your body's natural regenerative processes, keeping your brain healthy and vital for a long, long time.

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1. Aporti, E, et a1.,1986. "Age-dependent spontaneous EEG bursts in rats: effects of brain phosphatidylserine." Neurobiology of Aging 1:115-120. 

2. Caffarra, P, and V Santamaria,1981. "The effects of phosphatidylserine in subjects with mild cognitive decline." Clin, Trials 1. 24: 109-114.

3. Heiss, WD., et a1.,1993. "Activation PET as an instrument to determine therapeutic efficacy in Alzheimer's Disease." Annals N. Y. Acad. Sci. 695: 327-31.

4. Monteleone, P, et al., 1990. "Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine response to physical stress in humans." Neuroendocrinol. 52: 243-48.

5. Nunzi, M.G., et al.,1990. "Therapeutic properties of phosphatidylserine in the aging brain." In, Phospholipids: Biochemical, Pharmaceutical and Analytical Considerations (ed. I. Hanin and G. Pepeu). New York: Plenum Press.

©1999 Source Naturals, Inc., P.O. Box 2118, Santa Cruz, CA 95063

Reprinted with exclusive permission by Source Naturals, Inc. and Vitamin Retailer Magazine Feb 2004.

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