Phosphatidylserine is one of the most popular nootropic ingredients available today. Does it actually work to improve brain power? Let’s find out today in our phosphatidylserine guide.
What is Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine is a type of fat molecule found in very cell within your body.
The average human body contains about 60 grams of Phosphatidylserine. You have about 60 grams of phosphatidylserine inside you right now.
Approximately half of those 60 grams are found in your brain, primarily in the cell membranes of your neurons.
In western countries, we typically get phosphatidylserine from our diet. On average, we consume 130mg of phosphatidylserine from our food every day.
Since the 1990s, however, people have started taking phosphatidylserine as a nutritional supplement.
Where Does Phosphatidylserine Come From?
Phosphatidylserine occurs naturally in many types of foods. It’s most commonly found in meat and fish, with small amounts found in dairy products and vegetables.
Phosphatidylserine is also found in higher-than-average amounts in specific types of vegetables like white beans and soy lecithin.
When making phosphatidylserine nutritional supplements, manufacturers will typically use soy as their main source of the compound.
Prior to using soy, manufacturers actually used cow brains for phosphatidylserine. The specific type of phosphatidylserine used in cow brain is BC-Phosphatidylserine.
How Does Phosphatidylserine Work?
Phosphatidylserine is thought to work so effectively because it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
That means when it enters your bloodstream and travels to your brain, the compound crosses the barrier separating your blood from your brain cells, allowing the active ingredients to target your brain.
Once phosphatidylserine crosses this barrier, the compound binds with neurotransmitters in your brain and helps your brain metabolize glucose more efficiently. It is also thought to work by strengthening communication between brain cells, while also boosting the fluidity of cell membranes in neurons that have been previously damaged or suffered signs of aging.
In some studies, these damaged neurons were observed to become rejuvenated after taking phosphatidylserine.
There’s also some evidence that phosphatidylserine helps produce more dopamine (a key neurotransmitter involved in mood) as well as acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter involved in memory).
Benefits of Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine has been linked with a number of powerful cognitive benefits, including all of the following:
— Boosts Memory And Overall Cognition
— Expanded Learning Capacity
— Improved Speed Of Memory Recall
— More Mental Energy, Better Focus, And Improved Concentration
Phosphatidylserine is typically regarded as having long-term benefits. Some people even take it because they believe it slows down the aging process on your brain long term.
In other words, this isn’t a supplement you take occasionally to boost the short-term power of your brain – like before a big day at work or a study session at college. It’s an ingredient that you continuously take over a long period of time to gradually improve your brain power.
Others take phosphatidylserine to reduce the effects of head trauma or brain damage, as there’s some evidence that phosphatidylserine can be reparative. Those who have previously experienced head trauma, stroke, substance abuse, or heavy alcohol use, for example, may take phosphatidylserine.
Is Phosphatidylserine Safe?
A large number of tests have taken place on phosphatidylserine over the years and it’s one of the better-studied nutritional supplements available today.
The safety of phosphatidylserine has been repeatedly validated through clinically research and toxicology tests, both of which have indicated that phosphatidylserine works as advertised while being safe.
In all studies, the compound has been well-tolerated by healthy adults. It has also been specifically shown to be compatible with a wide range of medications – including antacids, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and even chemotherapy medication. Elderly patients with high blood pressure, a history of heart disease, and other health problems have also been able to safely take phosphatidylserine.
All of the phosphatidylserine supplements you see online today comes from soy sources and are vegetarian friendly. In fact, the old cow brain phosphatidylserine supplements sold a few decades ago are no longer available in the United States.
The recommended dosage for phosphatidylserine is between 100 and 500mg per day, depending on your tolerance and body size.
As with all nootoropics, start at the lower range before moving up to stronger dosages as you become more familiar with the effects and benefits on your body.
You will often see phosphatidylserine mixed with other supplements. Onnit’s popular Alpha Brain supplement, for example, contains 50mg of phosphatidylserine – which is below your recommended daily dose, but still may offer benefits because it’s mixed with other nootropic compounds.
Scientific Evidence for Phosphatidylserine
Over 3,000 published research papers and more than 60 clinical trials have taken place on phosphatidylserine over the years. Most of these studies have established the benefits of phosphatidylserine while also re-establishing the safety of the molecule.
WebMD.com reports that phosphatidylserine is “possibly effective for” all of the following:
— Age-Related Mental Decline: “Phosphatidylserine made from cow brains seems to improve attention, language skills, and memory in aging people with declining thinking skills.”
— Alzheimer’s Disease: “Taking phosphatidylserine can improve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease after 6-12 weeks of treatment. It seems to be most effective in people with less severe symptoms.”
WebMD.com did caution that many of the phosphatidylserine studies did take place using the old phosphatidylserine supplements made from cow brains, and it’s unclear whether these benefits are replicated with newer supplements, which are made from plant-sourced like soy or cabbage.
Best Sources of Phosphatidylserine
Most people get phosphatidylserine from nutritional supplements today. However, if you want to avoid high-priced nootropic supplements, then you may wish to get phosphatidylserine simply by changing your diet.
Here are some of the best sources of phosphatidylserine available today:
— Cow Brains: Want to get more phosphatidylserine in your diet? Consider having cow brains for dinner tonight. Yes, it’s gross, but cow brains have some of the highest levels of phosphatidylserine you’ll find in any edible product. A 100 gram serving of cow brains contains 713mg of phosphatidylserine. This is not a very popular way to get this molecule – especially because there’s an added risk of contracting mad cow disease.
— Organ Meats: Liver and kidneys of cows, pigs, and chickens can contain high levels of phosphatidylserine. Chicken hearts, for example, have 414mg of the compound in every 100g serving, while pig kidneys have 218mg for every 100g serving. These organs are also rich with protein, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, folic acid, and CoQ10. They’re also generally cheaper than the more popular muscle meats.
– -White Beans and Soybeans: These plant-based sources are the best way for vegetarians to obtain Phosphatidylserine. Both types of vegetables contain about 100mg of Phosphatidylserine per 100g serving. Studies have shown that the Phosphatidylserine found in vegetables has a similar chemical structure to the Phosphatidylserine seen in cow brains, but it doesn’t come with the risk of viruses that you get from bovine brain cells.
— Other Food Sources: Eggs and certain dairy products contain a negligible amount of Phosphatidylserine in each serving. Of course, eggs are also rich with choline, which, like Phosphatidylserine, boosts acetylcholine activity in the brain.
— Supplement Sources: There are dozens of Phosphatidylserine nutritional supplements sold online today that provide anywhere from 300mg to 500mg of Phosphatidylserine in each serving.
Phosphatidylserine Complex sold through The Vitamin Shoppe, for example, is priced at $44.99 for a monthly supply. Or there’s this Swanson Ultra supplement sold through Amazon that contains 300mg of the compound at a price of $23.98 for a monthly supply.
Ultimately, phosphatidylserine is a clinically-proven, scientifically-verified way to improve the power of your brain. Whether you take Phosphatidylserine in supplement form or by eating more cow brains, you can improve your cognitive ability and improve mild age-related mental decline. The molecule has also repeatedly demonstrated its safety and effectiveness in hundreds of studies and papers over the years – which is more evidence than we see for most nootropic ingredients.