Phosphatidylserine and brain health

brain health

A naturally occurring chemical, phosphatidylserine (PS) is known to play a crucial role in the improvement of cognitive functions of our brains. It helps in memory and maintaining the sharpness of the brain. The quantity of phosphatidylserine reduces with age and diseases in the human body. Hence it is important to supplement the same externally. There are many natural food sources from which we can get phosphatidylserine. At present supplements of PS are made from soy lecithin which is made mostly out of soy.

Natural sources of phosphatidylserine

Animal Sources

The oldest known source of phosphatidylserine was the bovine brain. It has the highest content of phosphatidylserine, but due to the mad cow disease scare, it is not consumed so frequently now.

Livers, hearts and kidneys of poultry and pig are a rich source of phosphatidylserine(PS). They are safer than the brain of cows. In addition to PS, their organ meats are also a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B, iron and folic acid. An added benefit. The meat of poultry, pig, veal and beef are also a good source of PS. Mackerel, herring and tuna have the highest quantity of phosphatidylserine among fishes. They can also be supplemented in exchange for meat. Fish is rich in amino acids and antioxidants.

Plant Sources

White bean, also known as navy bean, pea bean, or pearl haricot bean is a rich source of PS. It is a plant source that has the highest quantity of phosphatidylserine in it. Furthermore, these are known to reduce total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol.  In addition, whole grain barley and rice are a good source of PS. Soy also contains phosphatidylserine. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage and potatoes have a small percentage of phosphatidylserine.

Other Sources of phosphatidylserine

Small quantities of phosphatidylserine are found in eggs and cow’s milk.

Functions of phosphatidylserine

PS is a phospholipid that is present in the internal cell membrane. Phosphatidylserine plays a key role in the functioning of neuron membranes. phosphatidylserine can support brain health too. They are involved in signal transduction, cell communication, and regulation of cell growth. Increased levels of PS can result in increased levels of brain glucose.

In addition, PS has a function for apoptosis, it provides signals to macrophages to engulf the cells once cell death is initiated. Another important function of PS is in coagulation. Phosphatidylserine provides a surface for generating thrombin and finally stop bleeding.

Side effects of phosphatidylserine

Most people can consume this soy-based supplement without any side effect. Some studies note that it is safe to consume up to 600 mg per day for maximum 12 days. Patients consuming more than 300 mg per day may have the following symptoms

  • Bloated feeling in the stomach due to excessive gas production
  • Stomach problems like diarrhea, vomiting or stomach upset
  • Some have trouble sleeping after having phosphatidylserine. They find it hard to relax after a night’s dose. A good idea would be to have the nightly dose at least 4 hours before you sleep.

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