Phosphatidylserine (PPS) is a naturally occurring substance that is essential to all cell membranes, but is found in particularly high concentrations in the cell membranes of the brain.
Clinical studies have shown that PPS works by supporting certain brain functions that decline with age, possibly by enhancing neurotransmission by neurons and stabilizing neuronal cell membranes.
Until recently, PPS was available only from animal sources (their brains), and was found in trace amounts in commercial lecithin, but a plant source of PPS has now been found.
Several studies in older humans have shown that PPS can produce significant improvement in a number of cognitive parameters including attention, concentration, short-term memory, and new memory acquisition. In addition, PPS seems to enhance cognitive functions in young people.
One recent experiment used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain electrical activity in eight men ages twenty-one to twenty-eight. Baseline EEGs were done, and when PPS was given, it boosted their alpha waves by 15 to 20 percent. Alpha waves are highly indicative of learning/memory activity in the brain; they are often found to be lower in the elderly.
As we have seen, cognitive function and mood are intimately related in people as they age: loss of memory invariably leads to depression; and depression has a pronounced negative effect on all cognitive functions. So it is no surprise that when PPS has been administered to elderly people suffering from depression, their depression has improved significantly.
The oral dosage of phosphatidylserine (PPS) that has been shown in clinical trials to effectively and safely improve a number of cognitive parameters ranged from 200 to 300 milligrams daily. Most studies used 300 milligrams, given in three, 100-milligram doses throughout the day. PPS is not abundant in the human diet and we can synthesize it to some extent, but the amounts we synthesize do not appear to be sufficient for maximal cognitive functioning. No serious side effects have been reported at the 300-milligram daily dose.