Author: Parris M. Kickt, PhD
Oh No! I'm late for my appointment. Where did I leave my keys? And why did I forget the appointment I had last week? I just can't remember like I used to! "Is this the start of Alzheimer's?"
This is what many of us experience as we get into our 40s or 50s. We find we're just not sharp. Memory, learning and concentration are not as acute as they were 30 years ago. The words don't always come, either. It seems more and more often that a word comes out of the back of the head, gets to the tip of the tongue, and then just sits there. We can't get it out. The condition is called age-related cognitive decline. What can you do about it? For starters, you can take Phosphatidylserine, (pronounced (fos-fa-tie-dil-see-reen) called PS for short. Phosphatidylserine is the nutrient that can revitalize memory, learning, concentration, even vocabulary skills as these cognitive functions decline with age. In Linus Pauling's words, it is an "orthomolecule," a substance intrinsic to the human body and found in all living things.
PS is extremely well documented—it's been researched in more than 60 human clinical studies over a period of more than 20 years, in both North America and Europe. Seventeen double-blind, controlled clinical trials prove beyond doubt its considerable worth as a dietary supplement. These consistently positive clinical findings, backed up by more than 2,800 scientific research papers, prove that PS along with other phospholipids safely and effectively support memory, learning, concentration, word recall and a wide range of other cognitive brain functions.
Alzheimer's and Stress
Phosphatidylserine can also benefit Alzheimer's patients. In several double-blind trials, it improved adaptability, mood sociability, memory and other cognitive functions. But the earlier a subject with brain deterioration can be started on supplements for cognitive function, the better. PS is also naturally suited for use in combination with vitamin E and other nutrients.
Besides benefiting cognition, PS benefits other brain activities, like coping with stress, fighting depression and maintaining daily hormone rhythms. In young, healthy men it lowered the production of stress hormones linked to strenuous exercise and eased stress-related mood symptoms in the elderly.
All our brain cells are enriched in Phosphatidylserine, which helps them produce and release the natural chemical transmitters that make the brain work. But while drugs can be used to raise or lower the levels of single chemical transmitters, PS influences many major transmitter systems to produce an overall harmonizing influence on the brain.
Most of the chemical transmitter activity occurs on membrane systems, the action centers built into and around the brain cells. PS may be the most important nutrient for building these nerve cell membranes and as a consequence, boosting integrated brain performance.
The cell membranes are thin, three-dimensional molecular sheets, made up of enzymes and other proteins built into a continuous bed of large molecules called phospholipids. As phospholipids, PS is uniquely suited, through its physical and chemical characteristics, to supporting the enzymes and other proteins in the membranes of the nerve cells.
Memory decline and other cognitive loss has been linked not just to aging but to agents that damage the brain circuits—alcohol, cigarette smoke, heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, environmental toxicants, food additives, stroke or other brain trauma, chronic emotional stress, bouts of hypoglycemia. The large, tree-shaped nerve cells are either killed outright by these insults or die back towards their roots. The interconnected cell networks in the brain are found to be less dense in people who have lost much of their cognitive functions. In experiments that can be done only on laboratory animals, phospholipids were found to protect rats against loss of their nerve cells and circuits while keeping them smart on mazes as they got older.