According to the Centers for Disease Control, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, affects more than 5 million American children aged 4 to 17 years old. ADHD is the most common childhood behavioral disorder and is characterized by inattentiveness, overactivity and impulsive behavior. Conventionally treated with stimulant medications, ADHD can be very difficult for families to cope with. Conventional drug treatment may result in side effects; therefore, some parents choose alternative methods to manage ADHD. One promising bioactive nutrient is phosphatidylserine. Always consult your health care professional before taking any bioactive nutrient.
Essential to Cell Membrane Function
Phosphatidylserine is an essential component found in the inner surface of brain cell membranes. It is essential for cell membrane function and integrity and plays a crucial role in cellular communication and metabolism. Generally the brain is able to manufacture sufficient phosphatidylserine. However, in the absence of sufficient B vitamins and essential fatty acids, production of phosphatidylserine may be insufficient. This bioactive nutrient is frequently used by natural health practitioners to treat cognitive disorders, including ADHD.
Phosphatidylserine and ADHD
Scientists are just beginning to discover the role of phosphatidylserine in the management of ADHD symptoms. Drs. Balch and Stengler, authors of "Prescription for Natural Cures," list phosphatidylserine as a super prescription for ADHD and assert that it helps brain cells function properly. Phosphatidylserine may stabilize the function of brain cells by normalizing brain-lipid content. Remarkably, one study found that almost 90 percent of subjects administered 200 to 300 mg of phosphatidylserine daily experienced improvement in ADHD symptoms.
Food Sources of Phosphatidylserine
The highest concentration of phosphatidylserine is found in cow brains, though concern over infectious diseases contained in cow brains may preclude their consumption. Oily fish like tuna and mackerel also contain phosphatidylserine. Other animal sources include organ meats, such as the liver and kidneys. Some plants also contain phosphatidylserine, including soybeans, white beans and cabbage.
Dosage and Considerations
Drs. Balch and Stengler recommend a dosage of 300 to 500 mg daily for three months, followed by a maintenance dosage of 100 to 300 mg. This dosage is consistent with study dosages. Phosphatidylserine is generally considered safe when taken in the suggested doses, with mild side effects rarely reported.
- Centers for Disease Control: Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- "Prescription for Natural Cures"; James Balch, MD, Mark Stengler, ND; 2004
- "Alternative Medical Review"; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children: Rationale for its Integrative Management; Kidd PM; 2000
- "European Psychiatry"; S01-03 Efficacy and safety of N-3 phosphatidylserine in children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Manor I, et al.; 2009