PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE (PS) is a phospholipid that is vital to brain cell structure and function. Phospholipids are molecules with an amino acid “head” (serine for PS), and one or two fatty acid (lipid) “tails”. They are found in the membranes of every cell in our bodies.

Potential Benefits of Phosphatidyl Serine (PS):

Millions of healthy adults over age 50 are affected by “Age-Related Cognitive Decline” (American Psychiatric Association), resulting in diminished memory. At least 23 peer-reviewed studies, more than half of which were double-blind, suggest that PS may help maintain or improve cognitive functions such as memory and learning in mature adults. The results in these wel I -controlled, published studies on PS, many of which involved individuals suffering from cognitive decline, included statistically significant improvements in measures of brain function such as:

  • Learning and remembering names of persons after introduction
  • Recognizing people one has seen previously
  • Recall of location of frequently misplaced objects
  • Remembering numeric information such as telephone numbers
  • Ability to maintain concentration
  • Improvement in scores on standard neuropsychological tests

Results such as these tend to substantiate the benefits of PS, relative to learning and memory. Although these and other results are encouraging, more studies are needed to complete our full understanding of the role of PS in brain function and to confirm that PS, when consumed as a dietary supplement, will consistently improve cognitive ability. However, taken together, the available studies suggest that a PS dietary supplement, accompanied by exercise and a good diet, may help individuals maintain mental fitness in order to meet the challenges of daily life.

How Phosphatidylserine (PS) Works in the Brain:

The outer membrane of cells, including the brain, is composed of a double layer of phospholipids including PS, with their heads facing out and their tails facing in. This double layer is responsible for bringing in nutrients, expelling waste, and enabling the cell to coordinate with the rest of the body. The various proteins found in outer cell membranes, such as ion pumps, transport molecules, enzymes, antigens and receptors, are held in place and managed within the double layer. PS plays an important part in these functions, and the depletion of PS with age appears to be correlated with their decline.

PS plays important roles in neurotransmitter systems, metabolism levels in the brain, maintaining nerve connections (synapses) in the brain, and various higher mental activities. PS is also important for nerve cell differentiation, activation and renewal, neurotransmitter production and release, and maintaining electrical current flows in and between the cells.

The Case for Supplementation

While lecithin can be readily obtained from soybeans, eggs and other sources, PS is not common in the food supply. Our bodies make it through a complex process that uses a lot of energy. If any of the parts (or sufficient energy) are not available, the process can slow or break down. This can both be caused by and worsen the effects of aging, in a vicious circle. Dietary supplements of PS are a reliable method of replenishing a diminished supply, as it is absorbed in the blood about 1/2 hour to one hour after ingestion, and reaches the brain within minutes after that.


Nutritional support for memory, learning, and emotional well-being. Especially indicated for people over 50 years of age, and for people who may have prematurely damaged brain cell membranes due to disease, alcohol, drug use, pollution, or other causes. Lifetime supplementation with PS may be strongly indicated for epilepsy, in support of conventional treatment. Also indicated for protection against stress hormone release, which is a negative adaptation to stress, in adults of any age.

Suggested Use

One capsule (100 mg PS), three times a day with meals, for at least 2 weeks. May then be reduced to one or two times a day, if desired. Taking too close to bedtime may delay failing asleep.

Safety & Toxicity

In 23 peer-reviewed human studies, PS has been shown to be safe and effective for human use. 200 mg or more PS taken at once may (rarely) cause nausea, by stimulating an excessive release of dopamine. 300 mg per day is associated with lower uric acid and liver SGPT levels, without adverse clinical effect. Dogs survived 70 grams daily (233 times the normal human dose) for a year without apparent histological damage. Because no reproductive studies appear to be available, it is not .recommended for use when pregnant or nursing without supervision by a knowledgeable health care practitioner.

Selected Articles

1. Crook,T. H., et al. (1991) Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurol. 41: 644-649.

2. Monteleone, P, et al., (1990) Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine response to physical stress in humans. Neuroen- docrinology 52 (3): 243.

3. Scapagnini U., et al., (1990) Therapeutic perspectives in psychoneuroendocrineimmunology (PNEI): potential role of phosphatidylserine in neuroendocrine-immune communications. in- tern. 3. Neuroscience 51: 299-301.

4. Engel, R. R., et al., (1992) Double-blind crossover study of phosphatidylserine vs. placebo in patients with early dementia of the Alzheimer type. European Neuropsychopharmacology 2:149-155.