Could THIS Supplement Be the Solution to Your Brain Fog?
As winter rolls around and sunlight becomes a precious commodity, many of us find ourselves struggling to stay alert and focused throughout the day. If you’re not a fan of coffee or energy drinks, you might be left wondering what options you have for clearing your daily brain fog.
If this sounds like you, then phosphatidylserine might be a supplement worth checking out. Phosphatidylserine (PS for short) is a nootropic or “brain drug,” and is used by people all over the world to improve mental clarity, help with ADHD, balance cortisol levels, and even manage the symptoms of PMS.
What is Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid which is particularly abundant in the brain and nervous system. PS is necessary to ensure membrane fluidity and plays an integral role in neurotransmitter metabolism, nerve signal transmission, and effective glucose utilization by the brain.
Originally, if you wanted to take phosphatidylserine, the only option available was a supplement derived from the brain cells of cows. This bovine PS is not dangerous, but for people uncomfortable with the idea of ingesting something from a cow’s brain, PS is now created using soy or cabbage derivatives.
Benefits of Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine is a sort of jack-of-all-trades in the brain. Name a brain function, and odds are that PS is involved. Short-term memory, long-term memory, memory retrieval, learning, focus, logical thinking and problem solving, the list goes on.
This article will break down four of the most common benefits of phosphatidylserine.
May Improve Cognitive Function
Studies on the impact of PS on cognitive function are still forthcoming, but the evidence is promising.
One study tasked a group of 18 college-aged males with completing calculation sets after physical activity. The study observed that PS supplementation was correlated with a 20% increase in calculation speed, a 39% reduction in errors, and 13% improvement in the total amount of correct calculations.
Another study conducted with elderly subjects showed a stabilizing effect on daily functioning and even mood after PS supplementation. The most impressive results were seen in subjects experiencing the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s Disease, and lead the researchers to describe PS as “a promising candidate for study in early stages of [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
May Help with ADHD
It’s no secret that many children suffer from ADHD. Struggling to focus can lead to poor performance in school and other negative outcomes. Many parents are hesitant to place their child on medication for a variety of (often very valid) reasons.
As a natural nootropic, phosphatidylserine has been shown to increase focus in children. One study reported a significant reduction in restlessness and a significant improvement in other key emotional and mental categories. The effect was even more prominent among children whose ADHD symptoms were more pronounced.
And when children from the same study who’d previously been receiving a placebo were switched to PS, they saw the same improvement.
Helps Reduce Symptoms of Post Menstrual Symptom
Post menstrual syndrome may share the same acronym as premenstrual syndrome, but it is actually much less common. Whereas almost 90% of women report premenstrual symptoms, only 20-40% experience post menstrual syndrome.
In such women, phosphatidylserine has been shown to counteract symptoms of post menstrual syndrome. One study involving a placebo group observed that women treated with PS reported a greater improvement in both physical and depressive symptoms. They also reported a lower reduction in productivity and a stronger decrease in interference with relationships with others.
Helps Reduce Stress
One of the most common uses of phosphatidylserine is to relieve adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenal glands have become overtaxed by excess cortisol release in response to constant stress.
Have you ever had the experience of having an extremely stressful day and being unable to fall asleep at night despite feeling exhausted? This is a common effect of adrenal fatigue and is brought on by high cortisol.
Phosphatidylserine helps balance cortisol levels and calm the overactive brain. One study showed that PS was effective in normalizing cortisol levels in chronically high subjects when compared to a placebo.
Unchecked, high cortisol can lead to a cycle of poor sleep which raises cortisol which then disrupts sleep even further. This can lead to weight gain and other undesirable health outcomes.
The Bottom Line
There is still much research to be done on phosphatidylserine, but what exists is certainly promising.
As with any nootropic, it should not be used as a replacement for other habits such as healthy eating and adequate sleep which contribute mightily to the health and function of the brain. However, when necessary, it can be a powerful tool to increase focus and decrease stress.