Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that is a component of cell membranes in your body. It’s been associated with a number of benefits, from improving brain function to boosting immune support. Evidence also suggests that taking phosphatidylserine during times of stress, such as exercise, may help keep cortisol levels under control.
Cortisol is a hormone released from the adrenal gland during times of stress. Although cortisol output is vital for overall health since it regulates blood pressure and glucose utilization, excess cortisol can lead to a variety of health problems, including obesity, adrenal gland fatigue, depression, memory impairment and heart disease, according to MayoClinic.com. Besides reducing stressful situations, taking phosphatidylserine might help lower cortisol levels.
Although many people exercise to reduce stress in their lives, the body releases cortisol as a result of exercise. Too much exercise can lead to higher cortisol levels in your body. Scientists at the University of Mississippi studied the effects of phosphatidylserine on cortisol levels in subjects undergoing moderate intensity exercise. Participants received 600 mg of phosphatidylserine or a placebo for 10 days and then performed moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Researchers reported in the July 2008 issue of the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” that those in the phosphatidylserine group had lower cortisol levels after exercise compared with those who had the placebo.
Researchers at Neuropattern in Germany studied the impact of phosphatidylserine on participants undergoing a mental stress test. Subjects were assigned to one of the following groups for three weeks: those receiving a placebo, those receiving 400 mg of phosphatidylserine, those receiving 600 mg of phosphatidylserine, or those receiving 800 mg of phosphatidylserine. Subjects then underwent a mental stress test and scientists observed that those in the 400 mg group experienced lower cortisol levels compared with those in the other groups. The findings were reported in the June 2004 issue of “Stress.”
While phosphatidylserine seems to be effective for reducing cortisol in a dosage of 400 to 600 mg for three weeks, do not attempt self-treatment. Consult your health care provider before taking phosphatidylserine, since it may cause side effects or interact with certain medications.
- MayoClinic.com; Stress: Constant Stress Puts Your Health at Risk; September 2010
- "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition"; The Effects of Phosphatidylserine on Endocrine Response to Moderate Intensity Exercise; M.A. Starks et al.; July 2008
- "Stress"; Effects of Soy Lecithin Phosphatidic and Phosphatidylserine Complex (PAS) on the Endocrine and Psychological Responses to Mental Stress; J. Hellhammer et al.; June 2004