- Supports healthy cognitive function.
- Supports sleep by rebalancing pituitary/adrenal communication.
- Helps fight stress and supports healthy moods.
Throughout the brain and nervous system, we have billions of tiny neurons sending and receiving signals at each and every moment. Each of these neurons are protected by their own little membrane providing both protection and a means for communication for the contents of the cell. Through a series of chemical and electrical impulses, this communication network is responsible for our cognitive and nervous system functioning.
The major structural components of these cell membranes are phospholipds, and in addition to holding cell membranes together, phospholipids coordinate the activities of enzymes, receptors, and other proteins involved in healthy cognitive function.
As we age, membrane functions slow down, and the membranes themselves are highly susceptible to damage. Brain cell membranes are especially at risk, with wear and tear resulting in poor neuron communication, and decline of memory and cognitive function.
Research in phospholipids, most notably phosphatidylserine, has yielded not only valuable insights on the brain's chemistry, but also on the development of effective supplements to support healthy cognition and the aging brain.
Phosphatidylserine has been studied for about 50 years and has an outstanding track record in both human and animal studies for supporting healthy cognitive function. Results consistently demonstrate that Phosphatidylserine supports healthy attention span and arousal, verbal fluency, and memory in aging people.
Phosphatidylserine, like its fellow phospholipids, is believed to work by strengthening cell membranes, thus protecting them and their contents from damage—particularly from the stress hormone cortisol—and improving the ability of cells to communicate with other cells.
Considered to be the “master switch” of cell membrane functions, phosphatidylserine is located primarily in the inner-most area of a cell's membrane, and is responsible for directing neurons in communicating more effectively, and activating key enzymes involved in the cell communication process.
Phosphatidylserine also appears to restore the release of important neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Production of these neurotransmitters slows down as we age, leading to decline in cognitive functioning. Phosphatidylserine has been shown to maintain healthy levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.
Recently, adding to the database of 18 double-blind, controlled trials on phosphatidylserine have come two others. These are particularly timely because they further solidify the available data on phosphatidylserine benefits for young, healthy people and for maintaining a healthy response to stress.
Phosphatidylserine also helps rebalance pituitary/adrenal communication. In her book Tired of Being Tired, Dr. Jesse Lynn Hanley (founder & medical director for the Malibu Health & Rehabilitation Center), writes that many people with insomnia have over-active adrenals.
This means their adrenals turn on at the wrong time, secreting adrenaline, cortisol, and DHEA, which, while appropriate during the day, do nothing to promote rest at night! Dr. Hanley advises people seeking healthy sleep patterns to try taking phosphatidylserine at bedtime.
- Those with the antiphospholipid-antibody syndrome should exercise caution in the use of phosphatidylserine and only take it under medical monitoring and supervision.
- Ingesting high doses of phosphatidylserine may cause insomnia (600mg) and/or gastrointestinal upset (over 300mg) in some people.