Phosphatidylserine supplements are often claimed to work for many different conditions, but does phosphatidylserine work? Early research suggests that the supplement may be effective for treating Alzheimer's disease and improving mental function in people with cognitive decline unrelated to Alzheimer's. There is not enough reliable scientific evidence to suggest that phosphatidylserine works for depression, ADHD, or for improving athletic performance.
Does Phosphatidylserine Really Work?
Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring molecule that is essential for normal brain function. Although phosphatidylserine is found in many foods (and is made by the human body), it is also available in dietary supplements. Such supplements are often claimed to work for many different conditions. Some of these claims have some scientific basis, although some have no scientific basis whatsoever.
Phosphatidylserine Research and Clinical Studies
Very early studies suggest that phosphatidylserine may work for Alzheimer's disease treatment. However, it seems to work best for mild (early) Alzheimer's and may quickly lose its effectiveness over time. Early research also suggests that phosphatidylserine can improve mental function (such as memory and attention) in people with cognitive decline not related to Alzheimer's.
It is important to note that most phosphatidylserine studies used bovine phosphatidylserine (which is made using brain material from cows). However, most manufacturers now use a plant-based source, due to concerns about mad cow disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that bovine and plant-based phosphatidylserine may not be exactly the same and may have different medicinal properties. The results from studies using bovine phosphatidylserine (almost all studies) cannot yet be applied to most phosphatidylserine supplements currently available.
There is not enough reliable scientific evidence to suggest that phosphatidylserine works for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or for improving athletic performance. More research is necessary before it can be determined if phosphatidylserine works (or does not work) for such conditions.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed March 7, 2008.
Food and Drug Administration, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements. Phosphatidylserine and cognitive dysfunction and dementia (qualified health claim: final decision letter) (5/13/2003). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-ltr36.html. Accessed March 7, 2008.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click