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The Under-Appreciated Compound That can Change Your Brain

insomnia, exercise, athletics

What if I told you there is a natural substance that can help you be sharper, more focused and productive… to sleep better and wake up refreshed… and to have more balanced emotions and less risk of depression?

This substance can also help to repair brain damage from trauma and substance abuse… it can reduce cognitive decline… quell inflammation… and lower your levels of stress hormones.

This compound is found in every cell of your body, with nearly half your supply located in the cell membranes of the neurons in your brain.[1]

This substance is obviously quite important… and yet, most of us are chronically deprived of this vital substance due to the stress of our everyday lives.

This miraculous substance is called phosphatidylserine. It is pronounced fos-FAT-i-dil-ser-ine and for the sake of brevity it is often called PS.

And while most people have never heard of PS, it is essential – at a cellular level – for almost every function throughout the body. And as you will soon learn, increasing your levels could very well change your brain and your life…

The Myriad Benefits of Phosphatidylserine

PS is a phospholipid. That means that it contains both amino acids and fatty acids. Phospholipids arrange themselves in two layers (known as a phospholipid bilayer) which make up our cell membranes. This layer is critically important for providing structure to your cells. But it also helps optimize their function.

Healthy cell membranes allow nutrients to easily enter the cell, while allowing waste material to exit.[2] If your cell membranes are not healthy, this two-way street gets clogged and cellular function is impaired.

And if your cells are not healthy, you are not healthy.

PS is vital to the efficient transport of nutrients and waste in and out of cells. As a result, it is no surprise that this compound has been found to help:

  • Promote healthy adrenal function and optimal hormone secretion[3]
  • Maintain healthy bones[4]
  • Repair the immune system repair and remove dead cells[5][6]
  • Enhance athletic performance

It is plays especially important roles in the brain. And one of the key ways that PS helps the brain function better is by reducing elevated cortisol levels…

Phosphatidylserine Lowers Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone. In a “fight or flight” situation, cortisol is released by your adrenal gland to help regulate your blood pressure and glucose utilization. This ensures that your body is primed to react quickly to threats.

However, in today’s modern world, we are rarely faced with “real” threats. Instead of the acute and transitory stressors that our ancestors faced (like coming face to face with a tiger), we face chronic low levels of stress that seem to never end.

The result is cortisol levels that remain elevated for long periods of time, the effects of which can include, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. Over time, it can also lead to cellular damage, cardiovascular disease, reduced bone density, suppression of the immune system, memory impairment, adrenal fatigue and central obesity (the most dangerous place).

Chronically high cortisol levels are a primary cause of accelerated aging and premature death.

Cortisol abnormalities can also “hormone resistance”. This is when excessive production of a hormone causes cells to down-regulate their response to the hormone. In turn, the body produces even more of the hormone, since it is not getting into cells where it is needed.

This can be a vicious and destructive cycle… and it is one that phosphatidylserine helps to break.

While PS doesn’t block the production of cortisol, it does help to re-sensitize key areas of the brain (your hypothalamus and hippocampus) to it.[7][8] It also helps combat many of the negative effects that are associated with elevated levels, helping cells function normally and prevent the immune system from being taxed.[9][10][11]

The result is improved mood, more restful sleep and less insomnia, as well as healthier cholesterol levels and better body composition.

Phosphatidylserine Benefits Memory & Cognition

Because of its unique structure, PS crosses the blood-brain barrier quite easily. Once in the brain, it binds with neurotransmitters and enables the brain to metabolize glucose more efficiently. And because brain functions like thinking, learning and memory are closely linked to glucose, this alone holds powerful brain boosting benefits.

Phosphatidylserine also plays a role in regulating the release of acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline. These chemicals help brain cells communicate with one another and are also related to memory and retention.

As a component of the cell membrane, PS also increases the fluidity of the membranes of neurons that may be damaged or “stiffened” due to aging and oxidative stress.[12] This helps rejuvenate these neurons helps them regain their ability to receive and send messages at a faster rate.

Phosphatidylserine also helps the brain restore its supply of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine – the body’s most abundant neurotransmitter, which is related to both motor and cognitive functions.

In fact, not only is PS useful for those of us wanting to enhance brain function, but can be reparative for those who have experienced brain damage or trauma from head injury, stroke, as well as alcohol or substance abuse.[13]

It’s quite accurate to say phosphatidylserine is a substance that can actually change your brain!

In the second part of this article, which you’ll find in the US Wellness Meats newsletter, I will show you how phosphatidylserine helps boost focus and attention span (and can be a godsend for parents of children with attention issues).

We’ll also discuss how this underappreciated compound can benefit mood… reduce depression and anxiety… and virtually eliminate insomnia. Plus, I’ll share the most important food sources and how much to supplement, if you would like to truly optimize your levels of PS.

And finally, I will share a recipe for a brain-boosting shake that will boost your levels of PS, feed the healthy bacteria in your gut and that also contains an ingredient that I believe is like “rocket fuel” for thinking and cognition. So, stay tuned for that…

Do you have any experience with PS? If so, what benefits did you notice?

Kelley HerringED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, makers of grain-free, gluten-free, low-glycemic baking mixes for cakes, cookies, breads, pizza and much more.

Kelley’s academic background is in biology and chemistry and for the last 15+ years, she has focused on the study of nutritional biochemistry…and the proven powers of compounds in foods to heal the body.


[1] Ray Sahelian.

[2] Biochemistry, 5th Edition. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. New York: W H Freeman; 2002

[3] Hellhammer J1, Vogt D, Franz N, Freitas U, Rutenberg D.A soy-based phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) normalizes the stress reactivity of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis in chronically stressed male subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Jul 31;13:121. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-13-121.

[4] Verma SK1, Leikina E1, Melikov K2, Gebert C1, Kram V3, Young MF4, Uygur B1, Chernomordik LV5.Cell-surface phosphatidylserine regulates osteoclast precursor fusion.J Biol Chem. 2017 Nov 3. pii: jbc.M117.809681. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.809681. [Epub ahead of print]

[5] Frey, B. & Gaipl US. The immune functions of phosphatidylserine in membranes of dying cells and microvesicles. Semin Immunopathol (2011) 33: 497.

[6] Peter R. Hoffmann, Jennifer A. Kench, Andrea Vondracek, Ellen Kruk, David L. Daleke, Michael Jordan, Philippa Marrack, Peter M. Henson and Valerie A. FadokInteraction between Phosphatidylserine and the Phosphatidylserine Receptor Inhibits Immune Responses In Vivo. J Immunol  February 1, 2005,  174  (3)  1393-1404;  DOI:

[7] Monteleone P1, Maj M, Beinat L, Natale M, Kemali D.Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men.Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;42(4):385-8.

[8] Hellhammer J1, Fries E, Buss C, Engert V, Tuch A, Rutenberg D, Hellhammer D.Effects of soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine complex (PAS) on the endocrine and psychological responses to mental stress.Stress. 2004 Jun;7(2):119-26.

[9] Monteleone P1, Maj M, Beinat L, Natale M, Kemali D.Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men.Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;42(4):385-8.

[10][10] Monteleone P1, Beinat L, Tanzillo C, Maj M, Kemali D.Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine response to physical stress in humans.Neuroendocrinology. 1990 Sep;52(3):243-8.

[11] Michael A Starks,1 Stacy L Starks,1 Michael Kingsley,2 Martin Purpura,3 and Ralf Jägercorresponding author3The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008; 5: 11.

[12] Kingsley M1.Effects of phosphatidylserine supplementation on exercising humans.Sports Med. 2006;36(8):657-69.

[13] De Simone R., Ajmone-Cat M.A., Tirassa P., Minghetti L. “Apoptotic PC12 cells exposing phosphatidylserine promote the production of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective molecules by microglial cells.”Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2003 Feb;62(2):208-16.