Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a nutrient that supports membrane proteins crucial for homeostasis, maintenance, and specialized cell functions. PS is found most concentrated in the brain, where its relative abundance reflects its involvement in specialized nerve cell functions such as chemical transmitter production and release.
The fundamental contributions of PS to the structure and function of individual nerve cells are expressed in the performance of the brain as a whole. More than 35 human studies conducted over a period of 30 years, together with numerous animal studies, indicate PS supports EEG integration, the HPAA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), and circadian rhythms of hormone release. Some sixteen clinical trials indicate that PS benefits measurable cognitive functions which tend to decline with age; these include memory, learning, vocabulary skills and concentration, as well as mood, alertness, and sociability.
PS is a phospholipid, ubiquitous in membranes and obligatory for all the cells of the body. Present in common foods in small amounts, PS may be a semi-essential nutrient. Although it can be synthesized in the body from precursors, its multistep biosynthesis is energetically costly. Until recently, supplemental PS was available only from bovine brain. Now PS is available as a soy lecithin-based concentrate. With its proven benefits against age-related mental decline, phosphatidylserine might represent a truly safe and effective means for improving the quality of life of the elderly. [Alt Med Rev 1996;1(2): pp.70-84]
PS has been the most studied nutrient for cognitive decline. Very substantial amounts of data are available on PS, and the findings indicate PS is safe to take and highly effective. Intakes in the trials ranged from 200-500mg daily; a reasonable supplementation strategy would be to take 200-300mg per day (in 2 or 3 divided doses, with meals) for the first month, then lower the intake to 100-200mg per day.
However, because of fear of mad cow disease, PS sources from bovine brain are no longer available in the United States. AND, a study has shown that there is no benefit over placebo when using SOY BASED PS. The phosphatidylserine available in the US is not effective for the prevention or treatment of cognitive decline.[Nutr Neurosce 2001;4: pp.121-134]