Your brain cells require specialized types of cell membranes to keep your memory functioning.
And each of those membranes requires a particular type of substance that gives it the right structure and carefully regulates what’s allowed into the cell and what’s kept out.
This crucial substance is also incorporated into myelin – the sheath that covers nerve fibers and influences nerve signals traveling around the brain.
But many of us don’t get enough of this natural chemical.
You may have heard of it. It’s a compound called phosphatidylserine (PS). Now, new discoveries confirm more than ever that we need to maintain levels of this familiar brain support supplement.
Research on neurons shows that PS plays an important role in supporting memory and brain function. And studies indicate PS supplements can help improve intellectual abilities in older people — although sometimes the research also seems to show that the benefits wear off after a while.
But your brain can’t work very well without PS. And only three parts of the human body produce appreciable amounts – the brain, the kidneys and, in males, the testes.
PS interacts and links up with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 fats in fish oil, to keep neurons functioning well. How important is this partnership?
To find the answer, researchers looked at what happens when someone develops the condition called MCI — mild cognitive impairment – a memory slippage that often presages full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. They found the amount of DHA and PS in the brain’s cerebral cortex (a brain area controlling thoughts and actions) also declines drastically.1
A Dangerous Substitute For the Real Thing
When you’re younger, your brain is adept at producing its own PS. But as you get into your 40s and 50s, you begin to lose that capability. Then the membranes of the brain’s neurons begin to incorporate more of another fatty substance, cholesterol. That substitution may harm brain function and slow your thinking.
Phosphatidylserine is involved in:
- Dopamine function. When phosphatidylserine levels drop in the brain, dopamine release may be impaired and interfere with memory.
- The production and release of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter required for memory consolidation.
- The regulation of glucose metabolism for supporting neuron function.
- Controlling stress-related levels of cortisol. A German study shows that taking phosphatidylserine can ease and “normalize” the hormonal reaction to chronic stress.2
- The production and release of enzymes that help form memories.3
Clinical Studies Show it Helps Memory Loss
When about 500 Italian patients suffering from moderate to severe losses of memory were given 300mg of PS daily for six months, they experienced “significant improvements.”4
And there’s evidence that taking PS along with ginkgo helps boost memory and brain function. An English study found that this combination can improve performance on tests of mental acuity. And this study used just a one-time dose followed by the acuity test. It’s amazing that one dose could have an effect.
The researchers also reported that the combination made their subjects calmer while they were taking the memory quizzes.5
As I hinted earlier, another combination that may help an older person who is having some memory issues consists of PS along with omega-3 fats from fish oil.
An Israeli study showed that taking a combination of both PS and omega-3 fats for 15 weeks results in a “significantly improved” memory. Even the folks in the research group whose thinking powers were pretty good when the study started had improved learning abilities.6
The message of all this is pretty clear – If your memory seems okay but you want to improve, PS may help. And if you’re starting to get worried about whether your brain is working right, PS might help you, too. Throw in a little fish oil and ginkgo with your PS and, who knows, you might find yourself remembering more than you ever thought you would.
PS is readily available just about everywhere supplements are sold. Our sister company, Green Valley Solutions, incorporates a clinical dose of PS in Maximum Memory Support, a powerful brain formula that includes Lion’s Mane mushroom extract, one of the most exciting brain boosters identified so far.