Phosphatidylserine May Improve Inattentive ADD Cognitive Functioning

Phosphatidylserine really should be easier to pronounce and we probably should all be taking it.  We should also probably be telling all our family and friends to take it. Recent studies are pointing to real benefits from this brain supplement for people with cognitive issues (such as those of us with Inattentive ADD) but also for people with no Inattentive ADD symptoms or other cognitive issues.  Studies are now showing that phosphatidylserine is amazingly helpful for maximizing our brain functioning.

 As you may remember, (PS) is a brain lipid or fat that is essential for us to be able to process, attend to, and retain information. We know from previous studies that the brain lipid profile of people with Inattentive ADD is different from the brain lipid composition of people without ADD. Several studies have demonstrated cognitive benefits for people with Inattentive ADD when they take supplemental Omega-3 fatty acids but PS is a brain fat that is more important and different. 

PS is normally made in our brains but certain conditions such as stress, inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, aging, and other brain issues can diminish the amounts available  and this in turn can lead to a decrease in optimal brain functioning and perhaps to symptoms such as Inattentive ADD.

A study just published in the Proceedings of the Seventh International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference and Expo Journal reported that supplementation with 400 mg of phosphatidylserine daily improved cognitive functioning.  This study was performed on healthy athletes with no symptoms of cognitive impairments. The report concluded that this supplement induced improvement could benefit everyone even people without any symptoms of impaired cognition.

In the old days the only way to get additional PS into your system was to take a supplement that was made out of cow or lambs brains.  The practice of making PS out of cow brains was discontinued in the United States after the onset of Mad Cow disease.  You can now get phospholipid supplements in the form of PS supplements made out of Soy bean, fish livers, squid skin ( I'm sure you were wondering why the heck that squid was sitting up in the left hand corner) and you can get similar benefits from Krill oil.  Krill oil contains a phospholipid that is similar to PS called phosphatidylcholine (PC). 

According to one study, published in a 2007 Alternative Medicine Review, Krill Oil was very effective when compared to plain Omega-3 supplementation in improving cognition.  To my knowledge a study comparing Krill PC to Soy bean or marine derived PS has not been done but one study did point to the fact that the marine derived PS products were more effectively transported into the brain after supplementation then were the PS products derived from either cow brains or soy beans.

There is good research to support PS and PC supplementation for everyone not just people with Inattentive ADD.  The PS and PC supplements are thought to work by decreasing the cortisol response to physical stress, optimizing neurotransmitter functioning and decreasing inflammation in the brain.  It is thought that the best dose to maintain optimal brain function is 100-400mg mg per day.  Phosphatidylserine is considered to be extremely safe but special care should be taken if you are on any blood thinning medication as PS and PC may have blood thinning properties.

Please add your comments and questions.  I would love to share your experiences with PS or PC and where you have found the best prices for this supplement.  Also please share this post.  Thanks!


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  2. My 11 year old started taking 2 PS pills a day (100 mg each) one in the morning and one after school. There was a noticible improvement in his mood and ability to focus almost immediately after taking it - maybe 20 minutes or so. Even his teachers mentioned to me that he seemed to have more confidence and be more focused in school. I told them we noticed it at home too and it was from the PS. It was all the same time and nothing else different was done so it had to be the PS. Unfortunately, PS does not have a long lasting effect. It is good for him in the morning to get him through school, but by the time he gets home from school he needs it again to get focused and less frustated with homework. I get it from a friend who is a distribuer for Pure Herbs. LTD. She said their website is not so great but if interested can see her site as noted above. 30 softgel caps are $22.00, I get 2 at a time because he takes them 2x a day so I need 60 pills a month - not so cheap, but we like the results. She says we should start to see the PS having a longer lasting effect in his system as he takes the pills for a a little longer. We just started them about 1 month ago. Fran

  3. I have a post coming our where I have found some PS for pretty inexpensive and you can order it through Thanks for your comments!

  4. Several years ago I tried taking PS and the results were astounding! Miraculous really--took effect 15-20 minutes after swallowing the softgel.

    But it's expensive, so I started shopping for cheaper sources. What I found is that most brands of PS did NOT work well, or at all! Only a few worked well. This did not make any sense to me because they all listed PS in the ingredients. I ended up trying 7-8 different brands.

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on and what I found was this: the brands that worked had more than just PS--the PS was included as part of a "complex" that contained other phospholipids as well. (PS is only 1 of several phosophlipids that make up your cell membranes.) This is not detailed well on the ingredient list - I had to contact the manufacturers!

    The conclusion that I reached is that one or more of the other phospholipds was more critical than PS. The most likely suspect is phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), as it is very susceptible to oxidation.

    Two brands of PS that work well for me (and contain phospholipid complexes) are the GNC store brand and Natures Way. There was one other who's name I forget now. But I just go with Natures Way, because of the ones that worked well it tends to be the least expensive and I can get it on the main discount web sites (,,, etc.)

    However, I gave samples to all my ADHD friends and found that even the "good" PS doesn't seem to do much more most of them. It seems to work well only for a lucky few. It's like a miracle drug for me and works much better than the prescription stimulants. (Make no mistake, prescription stimulants turned my life around and I don't have much bad to say about them, but they don't even come close to working as well as PS for me!) I hope it works for you and yours, but I'd recommend buying from somewhere that has a good return policy (such as the discount sites I list above) so you can return for a full refund if it doesn't work.

  5. Some additional thoughts:

    I also tried krill oil. It "worked" somewhat for me, but not as well as the "good" brands of PS I listed in my comment above. The PS worked better and was more cost efficient.

    There are some more expensive PS products in which the PS is synthesized a DHA (an omega-3 oil) tail. It's supposed to be much better. This seemed like a really good idea to me, so I tried it. However it did not work as well as the PS complex products for me. Again, I suspect this is because it contained only PS and did not have any of the other phospholipids (such as PE). My advice is to save your money...

    Take your omega-3 fish oil! If you look at the research on omega-3's and phosophlipids, you'll see that taking omega-3's directly effects the phosophlipids that make up the synaptic membranes of your neurons (in other words, the surfaces that your brain cells communicate to each other through).

  6. Krill oil is an Omega-3 and a highly bio-available Omega-3 (some scientist have found it to be perhaps the most bio-available omega-3 of them all). Thanks for this information. Tess

  7. Yes, what's special about the krill is that it contains EPA and DHA (the most desirable omega-3's) as part of phospholipids. This is similar to what some of the new factory-sythesized PS is doing. It appears that most of the benefit of the omega-3's is derived from getting them into your cell membranes, so having them in phospholipids from the start is a big advantage. HOWEVER, if you just take "normal" omega-3 fish oil (not integrated into phospholipids) your body will take these and use them when it makes phospholipids itself. If price were not object, I wouldn' take omega-3 fish oil and was just exclusively take krill oil. But for me right now it's not cost-effective, and taking separate PS and fish oil pills worked much better and was cheaper than taking krill oil. One of the reasons for this may be that the PS complex contains a different mix of phospholipids than the krill oil does, but I can't say for sure. All I can say is that I notice a big different in effect in myself personally. It's very noticeable. If I'd taken larger doses of krill oil (multiple pills at a time) maybe I would have seen more effect, but again this wouldn't have mattered to me because it would not have been cost-efficient.

    I should also mention that krill oil contains astaxanthin. This what gives it its beautiful red color (it is also what makes salmon flesh pink). Astaxanthin is a strong anti-oxidant that can cross the blood brain barrier. However it is possible to buy astaxanthin supplements for much less than what krill oil goes for.

    If you do buy krill oil, read the nutrition information list and choose carefully based on the amount of ingredients per serving.. At least one brand appears to "water down" its oil and so what looks like the least expensive option isn't when you look at what you are getting.

  8. Have you checked out the Krill at the Amazon store? It is super cheap or at least cheaper than anything that I have been able to find at my health food store.

    I am not sure that you would take both. The studies that I read used the Krill as the Omega-3 supplement but it happened to also contain the phosopholipids and the antioxidants so it performed better.

    I read somewhere that the risk of bleeding increases dramatically if you take too much of the Omega-3s.

    Thanks for your comments!! Tess


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