Almost everyone has their list of “basic” supplements that they take on a regular basis. This list usually consists of things like whey protein, creatine, and BCAAs. One less popular ingredient called phosphatidylserine should start being mentioned on the same level, as it is equally capable of providing not only impressive physical benefits but mental as well.
What it does
One of the most commonly associated benefits of phosphatidylserine use is that of enhanced cognition. Of the studies showing significant cognitive enhancement in users, many also show that phosphatidylserine provides a protective benefit, helping to prevent cognitive decline normally associated with aging.
For those looking to lose weight, bovine cortex sourced phosphatidylserine (not commonly sold due to the “mad cow disease” scare from years prior) has been shown to provide a large decrease in stress-induced cortisol levels, which can lead to weight loss along with deeper and more restful sleep. As for the soy-based phosphatidylserine more commonly seen in dietary supplements, no effects on cortisol have been noted.
Phosphatidylserine has direct benefits for athletes as well with increased exercise capacity and VO2max, while time to exhaustion is decreased when using 750mg of soy-based phosphatidylserine.
How it works
Phosphatidylserine has a unique benefit amongst most compounds in that it is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB exists to protect the brain from toxins and other damaging compounds, so it is extremely selective in regards to what it does and doesn’t allow to pass through. Once phosphatidylserine is absorbed into brain tissue, it binds to neurotransmitters and helps the brain process glucose more effectively. This additional glucose metabolism allows the brain to utilize energy at a faster and more efficient rate, causing cognition/focus to increase.
Phosphatidylserine helps lower cortisol levels by increasing the natural release of dopamine. Dopamine is a “feel good” hormone, which has an inverse relationship with cortisol, so the more dopamine your body can produce, the better you feel, and the lower your stress (and therefore cortisol) will be.
Minimum suggested dosing for cognitive enhancement with phosphatidylserine is 100mg, taken three times per day, totaling 300mg throughout a 24 hour period. Athletic enhancement should be dosed significantly higher, with 600-800mg taken 1-3 times per day.