Phosphatidylserine supplements are often marketed for their 'brain food' qualities in which cognition, including memory, can be enhanced or protected from age deterioration.
There are a number of studies, to be discussed, which back up some of the claimed benefits of phosphatidylserine.
Initially, studies used phosphatidylserine derived from cows brains (bovine brains) as a source for phosphatidylserine supplements in research.
However, due to the BSE outbreak (aka Mad Cows Disease) during the 1990's and risk of infection transmission, virtually all recent studies and commercial products use soy lecithin as a basis for phosphatidylserine.
One of the most recognized benefits of phosphatidylserine is that it may enhance cognition including memory and also reduce cognitive decline with age.
The United States, Food & Drug Administration (FDA) 2003 report found that whilst there is no agreement between scientists, in the elderly, phosphatidylserine may reduce:
Whilst more research is needed, there is evidence to suggest phosphatidylserine can reduce exercise stress . Phosphatidylserine may help against the physiological negative effects from over stretching and / or over training .
These benefits of phosphatidylserine include a reduction in post exercise recovery time and reduced soreness felt in the skeletal muscles.
Such benefits may be achieved by phosphatidylserine causing weakened concentrations of cortisol within the body. Cortisol is a hormone released when the body is under stress. High concentrations of cortisol can lead to catabolism in which protein is broken down in the muscles.
A further benefit of phosphatidylserine is that it may have ergogenic properties . The term ergogenic refers to supplement or dietary changes which can enhance physical performance.
For example, phosphatidylserine may enhance performance in:
One study focused on phosphatidylserine supplementation and the performance from a group of golfers. The golfers were given 6 weeks of phosphatidylserine supplementation. The study found a significant improvement in the number of good tee offs.
Phosphatidylserine supplements may promote a feeling of well being. For example, in the golf study just mentioned , golfers given phosphatidylserine supplements showed an improvement in their perceived stress before tee off.
Another study, which focused on a group of young adults, found that phosphatidylserine supplements with a total daily dosage of 300mg, improved their mood and reduced feelings of stress .
Whilst existing research looks promising more research is required to investigate any potential beneficial properties of this supplement on other health conditions. One promising study showed that phosphatidylserine supplements may help children with ADHD .