Cognitive Needs Throughout Life
Brain health is a public health concerns for people of all ages. From children and students, who are faced with an increasingly competitive academic environment, and whose parents are committed to supporting their academic achievements, to seniors seeking to improve their cognitive skills and abilities. Clinical studies have demonstrated that Phosphatidylserine (PS) supplementation improve mental performance and contribute to a healthy life style Glade & Smith, Phosphatidylserine and the human brain, Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-6
Lipids are a major component of brain tissue. A full 60% (dry weight) of our brain is made of lipids, and phospholipids are among the most important of those components. Compared to other organs, PS is especially prevalent in the brain. For example, PS makes up only about 3% of liver and heart phospholipids, whereas it makes up 18% of the phospholipids in the brain. This high level of PS in membranes of the brain highlights its importance for proper brain structure and function. PS was shown to increase neurotransmitter secretion in the brain, as well as improve neuron survival and affect mechanisms responsible for learning and formation of memories (
Tsakiris S, Deliconstantinos G. Influence of phosphatidylserine on (Na+ + K+)-stimulated ATPase and acetylcholinesterase activities of dog brain synaptosomal plasma membranes. The Biochemical journal. 1984;220:301-307; Akbar M, Calderon F, Wen Z, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid: a positive modulator of Akt signaling in neuronal survival. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2005;102:10858-10863). Indeed, numerous clinical studies with PS demonstrate the effect of PS intake on enhancement of cognition – especially memory and attention – in elderly people, as well as in other populations, such as children and students
Glade & Smith, Phosphatidylserine and the human brain, Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-6
PS is the only dietary ingredient with cognitive health claims qualified by the FDA:
FDA has allowed for inclusion of a qualified health claim on PS products. Due to the limited evidence FDA believes exists, the claim must include language acknowledging the limitation sof the data. The two claims that are allowed on PS products include:
“Consumption of phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly. Very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.”
“Consumption of phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. Very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.”
Cognitive Benefits of PS for Older People
In one clinical study, a dose of 100 mg/day of PS for 6 months was linked to improvement in various cognitive function endpoints. The effect was sustained for at least 3 months after termination of PS intake(Kato – KataOka 2010).
Enzymotec, a member of the Frutarom group, conducted a clinical study using its product Sharp•PS®. In this study, elderly people with were given Sharp•PS® for a period of 3 months. Some cognitive capabilities, mainly memory, improved after a 6-week period, while other capabilities improved after 12 weeks of supplementation (Richter 2013).
PS Cognitive Benefits for high school students
The cognitive function of high school students improved following 40 days of supplementation with 100 mg/day of PS in milk. (Yong 2011).
The most common dietary ingredients used to improve cognitive function are phosphatidylserine (PS), DHA and Ginkgo Biloba. PS and DHA are similar in that they are both important building blocks of the brain and their effects are long-lasting. The main differences between them are that DHA has poor organoleptic properties, while PS can be consumed in any form with no problematic organoleptic issues. In addition, the required effective dosage of DHA is very high, while the effective dosage of PS can easily be reached. Ginkgo Biloba is somewhat different, as it is not natural to the human body and its effect is short-term. It is important to note that PS is the only dietary supplement ingredient that has been identified by the FDA as eligible for a cognitive qualified health claim.