Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance called a phospholipid. It covers and protects the cells in your brain and carries messages between them.
Phosphatidylserine plays an important role in keeping your mind and memory sharp. Animal studies suggest that the level of this substance in the brain decreases with age.
Why do people take phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine is taken to try to prevent memory loss and mental decline that may occur as you get older.
Several studies suggest that it may boost your brain power. People who took the supplement scored higher on short-term memory, mood, and concentration tests. For example, they could better recall names and objects. Much more research is needed to confirm these results.
Scientists have used phosphatidylserine in studies to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Again, there is not enough evidence that phosphatidylserine is of any help in treating this condition.
Phosphatidylserine has been suggested in the treatment of the following conditions, as well:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle soreness and stress in athletes who overtrain
More research is needed before it can be recommended as a treatment for any of these conditions.
Can you get phosphatidylserine naturally from foods?
The supplement used in early studies was made from brain cells taken from cattle. Because of concerns about mad cow disease, an infectious disease that affects the brain tissue of cattle, scientists have developed a type of phosphatidylserine from plant sources such as soy or cabbage.
What are the risks of taking phosphatidylserine?
Many people can take the soy-derived supplement without any side effects. Research is still preliminary but it is likely safe up to 600 milligrams a day for no more than 10 days. Side effects are more common at doses of 300 milligrams and above. They may include:
- Stomach upset
- Trouble sleeping
However, optimal doses of phosphatidylserine have not been established for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to establish a standard dose.
Phosphatidylserine can affect how certain medicines work in your body. Talk to your doctor before taking this supplement especially if you also take:
Always tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking, including natural ones and those bought without a prescription. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with any medications.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, they do use a different set of regulations than they do for "conventional" foods and drugs. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.