WHAT IT IS Phosphatidyl serine is a phospholipid, a form of fat found in every cell in the body, but especially abundant in the brain. PS is closely related to other phospholipids, such as phosphotidyl choline, and functions in much the same way.
REPORTED EFFECTS Fans of PS claim that it improves memory, learning, concentration, verbal skills, mood, and the ability to cope with stress. According to Crook, who views PS as the most convincingly demonstrated “smart nutrient” now available, PS may reverse up to 12 years of age-related mental decline.
HOW IT WORKS PS works to keep neuronal cell membranes flexible so that nutrients enter the cells more easily; it increases glucose metabolism in the brain (which aids in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine); and it increases the number of neurotransmitter receptor sites in the brain.
THE EVIDENCE Crook and his colleagues recently studied the effect of phosphatidyl serine on a group of 149 patients who had been identified as suffering from Age Associated Memory Impairment. Compared to a placebo group, those who took PS showed improvement in performance of simple memory tasks such as matching names with faces, recalling telephone numbers, and recovering misplaced objects. Most of the studies on PS have been done with patients suffering from dementia or other forms of cognitive deterioration. Right now there is no evidence that PS would have the same effect on a young, healthy person.
CAVEATS Those on anticoagulant medication should note that PS has been known to produce negative reactions when combined with anticoagulants. Mild nausea is also reported as an occasional side effect.
FOR OPTIMAL BENEFIT As mentioned above, Khalsa states that PS and ALC taken together maximize each other’s benefits, since they work together to maximize brain rejuvenation and energy production.
DIETARY SOURCES PS is found in lecithin, an additive in many foods, including chocolate, instant foods, and baked goods. One theory holds that by eating foods the body needs to make its own phosphatidyl serine–the amino acid methionine (nuts, seeds, corn, rice and other grains), folic acid (leafy green vegetables), essential fatty acids (fish, flaxseed oil), and vitamin B12 (eggs, dairy, fish, or meat)–your body will produce sufficient amounts.
WHERE TO FIND IT Look for PS as a nutritional supplement available over the counter in health foods stores. It is normally taken in doses of 100 to 200 mg twice daily.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Weider Publications
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