Phosphatidylserine 101

Has your healthcare practitioner suggested you start taking a phosphatidylserine (PS) supplement?

Mostly found in the cell membranes of neurons, phosphatidylserine is a fat-soluble molecule that facilitates communication between brain and nerve cells.1 Put simply, it delivers nutrients and helps to keep these cells intact.1

Though phosphatidylserine offers a number of other applications, it plays an especially important role in our brain function.1

Introduction to phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is found in high concentrations in the brain and nervous tissues, primarily found in cell membranes of neurons.1 The body can make PS, but this important phospholipid is also found naturally in many foods (including meat, fish, and white beans).1

Studies suggest levels of PS decline as we age.2 PS has been shown to support memory function, cognitive function and learning. It may also help support a healthy endocrine response to acute mental stress. As PS is easily absorbed through the blood-brain barrier; taking a PS supplement supports nerve cell health.2

When taken consistently, a PS supplement may help support cognitive, brain, and overall nerve health.2

  • Cognitive function

Phosphatidylserine may enhance our ability to store and retrieve memories, learn and recall information, concentrate and communicate, and solve problems.3 Similarly, a product with a combination of PS and the fatty acid DHA may prevent memory loss in older women.4

  • Locomotor function

Phosphatidylserine has been shown in studies to promote faster reaction times and reflexes.5

  • Exercise-induced stress and soreness

Athletes who take a PS supplement during intense periods of training may feel better emotionally after exercising. In addition, athletes who take phosphatidylserine may experience less muscle soreness.4

Results of a study suggests this dietary nutrient also has a positive effect on our stress response.6 In one double-blind study, participants were given a PS supplement over 30 days before completing tests meant to gauge their acute mental stress.6 Those deemed most susceptible to stress before the study felt more relaxed after taking a PS supplement.6

Sources of phosphatidylserine supplements

The brain relies on nutrients that promote healthy cell metabolism, including phosphatidylserine.

Initially, PS supplements were derived from cattle brain cells.4 However, during to the global spate of “Mad Cow Disease” epidemics that occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s, manufacturers looked for alternative sources for producing this nutrient.7 Today most phosphatidylserine supplements are made from soy and cabbage derivatives.4

Some preliminary studies indicate that plant-based PS supplements offer additional benefits, but more research is needed to make specific claims.4

Phosphatidylserine may also be labeled: BC-PS, Bovine Cortex Phosphatidylserine, Bovine Phosphatidylserine, Fosfatidilserina, LECI-PS, Lecithin Phosphatidylserine, Phosphatidylsérine, Phosphatidylsérine Bovine, Phosphatidylsérine de Soya, Phosphatidyl Serine, PS, PtdSer, Soy-PS, or Soy Phosphatidylserine.4

Phosphatidylserine: the basics

PS supplements have been generally studied to support cognitive function, learning and memory function.1 Some data suggests athletes take them to support issues of stress and soreness and to improve their overall performance.4

While optimal doses of PS have not yet been established, research has shown that PS supplements have been safely consumed for up to six months in adults.2,4

Additional clinical evidence is needed to confirm the effectiveness of phosphatidylserine for the above uses. And, in addition to the benefits of supplements, people should still prioritize sleep, diet, and exercise in their effort to maintain a healthy brain.3 While beneficial, supplements are not a cure-all.

Be sure to inform your healthcare provider before starting PS or any supplement and consult your doctor regarding dosage recommendations. The label of an approved dietary supplement generally provides dosage instructions as well, but it’s best to confirm your dosage with a healthcare professional.

For more information on nutrition and general wellness, please visit the Metagenics blog.


  1. WebMD Staff. WebMD. Accessed April 5, 2019.
  2. Glade MJ et al. Nutrition. 2015;31(6):781-786.
  3. Hirayama S et al. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014;27(Suppl 2):284-291.
  4. WebMD Staff. WebMD. Accessed April 8, 2019.
  5. Jäger R et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007;4:5.
  6. Benton D et al. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2001;4(3):169-178.
  7. Center for Food Safety. Accessed April 11, 2019.

Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team

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