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Common Supplement Fights ADHD, Cognitive Decline

May. 30, 2013|693 views
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Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a natural phospholipid that the body incorporates into cell membranes. It’s also a widely available dietary supplement made from beef, oysters, cabbage, or soy. Older people often take it hoping that it will help improve cognition and put the brakes on memory loss. Various studies have concluded that it may be effective for this purpose, while others show that PS is safe and well tolerated.


The FDA allows manufacturers to make limited claims, such as: “Consumption of phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly” and “Consumption of phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly,” although it hedges this claim by adding that the data supporting its use is, “very limited and preliminary...”


A 2011 study found that supplemental PS could improve cognitive functioning before exercise among young male athletes. Now a new study has concluded that PS helps alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Last year, Israeli researchers concluded that PS combined with omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced ADHD symptoms in children with the condition. Now Japanese researchers have also found that PS is beneficial in ADHD.


The Japanese researchers randomly assigned children diagnosed with ADHD to receive 200 mg PS per day, or an inactive substance, for two months. The supplement was well tolerated and effective. “PS significantly improved ADHD symptoms and short-term auditory memory in children,” investigators wrote, adding, “PS supplementation might be a safe and natural nutritional strategy for improving mental performance in young children suffering from ADHD.”



Hirayama S, Terasawa K, Rabeler R, Hirayama T, Inoue T, Tatsumi Y, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2013 Mar 17. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12090. [Epub ahead of print]


Manor I, Magen A, Keidar D, Rosen S, Tasker H, Cohen T, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine containing Omega3 fatty-acids on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, followed by an open-label extension. Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;27(5):335-42. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.05.004. Epub 2011 Jul 31.


Parker AG, Gordon J, Thornton A, Byars A, Lubker J, Bartlett M,  et al. The effects of IQPLUS Focus on cognitive function, mood and endocrine response before and following acute exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 Oct 21;8:16. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-8-16.


Vakhapova V, Cohen T, Richter Y, Herzog Y, Korczyn AD. Phosphatidylserine containing omega-3 fatty acids may improve memory abilities in non-demented elderly with memory complaints: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010;29(5):467-74. doi: 10.1159/000310330. Epub 2010 Jun 3.


Vakhapova V, Richter Y, Cohen T, Herzog Y, Korczyn AD. Safety of phosphatidylserine containing omega-3 fatty acids in non-demented elderly: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial followed by an open-label extension. BMC Neurol. 2011 Jun 28;11:79. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-11-79. 


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