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Phosphatidylserine and ADHD

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Phosphatidylserine is a safe and effective therapeutic agent used for treating ADHD.

Phosphatidylserine is a safe and effective therapeutic agent used for treating ADHD.

As per the Centers for Disease Control, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects over 5 million American children aged between 4 and 17 years.

Attention-deficit is the most common behavioral disorder found in children, and this condition is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Conventional medications might result in side effects; hence, some parents prefer alternative methods to treat ADHD. Phosphatidylserine is a promising bioactive nutrient used to alleviate ADHD symptoms. Let’s find out how: 

What is Phosphatidylserine?

Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid made of the amino acid, serine, and fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. It is found in all living things and all human cells.

In humans, Phosphatidylserine is found in the cell membranes. A safe commercial source of the phospholipid is soy lecithin.

Phosphatidylserine should not be confused with phosphorylated serine which is often wrongly claimed by some manufacturers as a substitute. Phosphorylated serine is not a phospholipid and does not produce the same beneficial effects in the body.

With over 3,000 studies done to access the efficacy of Phosphatidylserine in the treatment of ADHD, the bioactive molecule is now believed to provide positive benefits. In fact, parents who take their ADHD children off stimulant ADHD medications and start them solely on Phosphatidylserine still report improvement of symptoms.

Phosphatidylserine is known to improve memory and cognition as well as reverse the signs of stress and aging.

Athletes use Phosphatidylserine as a nutritional supplement to combat stress from strenuous exercises. The phospholipid aids muscle recovery and contributes to hormonal balance in athletes. It is believed to work in sports nutrition by reducing the production of cortisol during and after workouts.

For people diagnosed with ADHD, Phosphatidylserine produces the following effects:

  • Increase vigilance, mental focus, and attention
  • Promote memory formation, learning, and cognition
  • Relieve depression and boost the mood
  • Relieve signs of stress caused by hyperactivity through a reduction of cortisol levels

How It Works

Phosphatidylserine is a vital component present in the inner surface of brain cell membranes. It is important for cell membrane function and plays a major role in cellular metabolism and communication.

Normally the brain is capable of manufacturing a sufficient amount of phosphatidylserine; however, in the absence of adequate essential fatty acids and vitamin B, this production may be insufficient.

This bioactive nutrient is commonly used by natural health care practitioners to treat cognitive disorders, including attention deficit in children and adults.

With the high number of studies done on Phosphatidylserine, scientists have identified several ways by which the bioactive phospholipid produces its positive effects.

First, Phosphatidylserine drives glucose metabolism in the brain cells. This effect provides brain cells with the nutrient and energy to function optimally.

Secondly, Phosphatidylserine promotes communication between brain cells by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters and increasing the number of membrane receptors for signaling and relaying this communication.

By promoting increased brain activity through the neurotransmitters, Phosphatidylserine improves the ability of ADHD patients to focus, to control their impulses, and to learn better without getting fatigued easily.

Furthermore, this phospholipid is known to control some of the functions of cell membranes especially their fluidity. This allows a greater efficiency when brain cells are sending and receiving chemical and signals.

By another means, Phosphatidylserine also increases the level of acetylcholine in the brain. The amount of this neurotransmitter is reduced as we age. But by returning acetylcholine level to its value when the patient is younger, Phosphatidylserine improves memory and reverses the sign of aging in the brain.

To increase the level of acetylcholine, Phosphatidylserine increases the amount of its precursor (choline) produced in the cells. Strangely, phosphatidylcholine, a related phospholipid, does not increase acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine is not the only neurotransmitter affected by phosphatidylserine. Dopamine levels are also increased. In this way, Phosphatidylserine produces an effect similar to the known ADHD medications.

By boosting dopamine production, the phospholipids allow more dopamine to get to the synapses between the neurons of the central nervous system.

Phosphatidylserine and ADHD

Scientists are just starting to find out the role of phosphatidylserine in the management of attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

Dr. Balch and Dr. Stengler, authors of the book ‘Prescription for Natural Cures,’ have listed phosphatidylserine as a fantastic prescription for ADHD and emphasize that it assists brain cells to function in the right way.

Phosphatidylserine stabilizes the brain cells' function by tempering brain-lipid content. One study discovered that nearly 90 percent of the subjects, administered 200 to 300 mg of the bioactive nutrient daily, experienced steady improvement in ADHD symptoms.

More than 3,000 published research papers and over 60 clinical trials have recognized that phosphatidylserine can renew brain cell membranes and thereby:

  • Improve memory power
  • Increase vigilance and attention span
  • Enhance learning and grasping capabilities
  • Boost mental acuity
  • Strengthen mental focus
  • Ease depression and uplift mood

You may consider using ADHD supplements, such as Listol, that contain Phosphatidylserine, to alleviate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children.

Natural Sources of Phosphatidylserine

Among the natural sources of Phosphatidylserine, the highest concentration of this bioactive nutrient is found in cow brains. However, concern over infectious diseases contained in cow brains may prohibit their consumption.

Mackerel and tuna fish are also good sources of phosphatidylserine. Other sources include organ meats, such as the kidneys and livers. Some plants such as soybeans, white beans, and cabbage, also contain phosphatidylserine.

Is Phosphatidylserine Safe?

The use of phosphatidylserine has been proven safe in standard toxicology tests. The large number of clinical studies and researches conducted on phosphatidylserine produced a flawless record.

Dr. Balch and Dr. Stengler advise a dosage of 300 to 500 mg of this natural ADHD supplement daily for 3 months, followed by a dosage of 100 to 300 mg.

Phosphatidylserine is generally considered safe when taken in the recommended doses, with very mild side effects rarely reported.

Are There Any Drug Interactions?

Phosphatidylserine has proven compatible with a wide range of medications including anti-hypertensives, antithrombotics, antacids, diuretics, antiarrhythmics, insulin, hypoglycemics, anti-inflammatories, chemotherapy drugs, calcitonin, calcium channel blockers, and other prescription medications.

It is also well supported by patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, artery and vein disorders, high blood pressure, heart diseases, digestive system diseases, lung diseases, and arthritis.

For more information about ADHD treatments, read our articles on DMAE, GABA, and Iron for attention deficit disorder.

Next Article: ADHD & GABA - Will it Help?