Overview

Phosphatidylserine is a chemical that is present in the human body. The body can make phosphatidylserine, but most of what it needs comes from foods. Phosphatidylserine can also be taken as a supplement. These supplements were once made from cow brains. Now they are commonly made from cabbage or soy.

Phosphatidylserine is used for Alzheimer disease, dementia, decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age, athletic performance, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

How does it work ?

Phosphatidylserine is an important chemical with widespread functions in the body. It is part of the cell structure and is key in the maintenance of cellular function, especially in the brain.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Phosphatidylserine seems to improve attention, language skills, and memory in aging people with declining thinking skills. Most research has used phosphatidylserine from cow brains. But most phosphatidylserine supplements are now made from soy or cabbage. There is limited research showing that plant-derived phosphatidylserine also improves memory in people with age-related memory loss. Taking phosphatidylserine might also reduce a person's risk for a decline in memory and thinking skills with age. But research is limited and unclear.
  • Alzheimer disease. Taking phosphatidylserine can improve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer disease after 6-12 weeks of treatment. It seems to work best in people with less severe symptoms. But phosphatidylserine might become less effective over time. After 16 weeks of treatment, progression of Alzheimer disease seems to overcome any benefit provided by phosphatidylserine.
    Most research has used phosphatidylserine from cow brains. But most phosphatidylserine supplements are now made from soy or cabbage. Researchers do not yet know how phosphatidylserine made from these plant sources compares with phosphatidylserine made from cow brains in terms of effectiveness for Alzheimer disease.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Athletic performance. Taking phosphatidylserine for 6 weeks before playing golf might improve how well a golfer tees off. But it doesn't seem to reduce stress or heart rate during golf competition. Other research shows that taking phosphatidylserine with caffeine and vitamins might improve mood and reduce feelings of tiredness after exercising. But these improvements are likely to be small, and it's not clear if the benefit is from phosphatidylserine or other ingredients.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research shows that taking plant-derived phosphatidylserine helps improve attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity in children and teens with ADHD.
  • Dementia. Taking phosphatidylserine might reduce the risk of developing dementia in older people. But research is limited and unclear.
  • Depression. There is some early evidence that phosphatidylserine might improve depression in older people.
  • Muscle soreness caused by exercise. Some research shows that taking phosphatidylserine during strenuous training might help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
  • Improving thinking ability.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate phosphatidylserine for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Phosphatidylserine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken appropriately for up to 3 months. Phosphatidylserine can cause side effects such as insomnia and stomach upset, particularly at doses over 300 mg.

There is some concern that products made from animal sources could transmit diseases, such as mad cow disease. To date, there are no known cases of humans getting animal diseases from phosphatidylserine supplements. But stay on the safe side and look for supplements made from plants.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if phosphatidylserine is safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Phosphatidylserine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 4 months in children 4-18 years of age.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE

    Some drying medications are called anticholinergic drugs. Phosphatidylserine might increase chemicals that can decrease the effects of these drying medications.

    Some drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines) and for depression (antidepressants).

  • Medications for Alzheimer's disease (Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE

    Phosphatidylserine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. Medications for Alzheimer's disease called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors also increase the chemical acetylcholine. Taking phosphatidylserine along with medications for Alzheimer's disease might increase effects and side effects of medications for Alzheimer's disease.

    Some acetylcholinesterase medications include donepezil (Aricept), tacrine (Cognex), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl, Razadyne).

  • Various medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions (Cholinergic drugs) interacts with PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE

    Phosphatidylserine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. This chemical is similar to some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions. Taking phosphatidylserine with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.

    Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions include pilocarpine (Pilocar and others), and others.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age: 100 mg of phosphatidylserine from cow brains or plant sources has been taken three times daily for up to 6 months. Also 1-3 capsules of a specific product (Vayacog, Enzymotec Ltd.) containing phosphatidylserine (PS) enriched with the fatty acid DHA have been taken daily for 15 weeks.
  • For Alzheimer disease: 300-400 mg of phosphatidylserine has been taken daily in divided doses.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.