Phosphatidylserine Summary

Phosphatidylserine is naturally produced in the human brain. It's a fat-like substance that forms the lipid bilayer of the neuron cell. When integrated into the cell membrane, it is believed to contribute to the cell fluidity and positively impact Na+/K+ATPase activity and decrease acetylcholinesterase. Both of which are commonly targeted actions of many nootropic formulations.

Although not necessary to supplement, due to the brain's natural ability to produce this chemical, supplementation has been shown to increase cognitive function and memory overall. Especially in older patients. Phosphatidylserine levels have been shown to decline with age [3]. It is mainly used in nootropic formulations aimed at preventing cognitive decline with age, and taken in 3 doses of 100 mg each.


New to nootropics? Check out this Introduction to Nootropics!


Where Does It Come From?

Phosphatidylserine is naturally produced in the human body, and can also be obtained from the diet. 

In the human body, phosphatidylserine can be found in the brain, lungs, testes, kidneys, liver, skeletal tissue, heart, and blood plasma. [1].

In the diet, phosphatidylserine can be found in foods like soy lecithin, krill oil, and neural tissue of animals (not recommended for consumption). It is estimated that dietary intake of phosphatidylserine is around 130 mg/day on average. [2].

phosphatidylserine is found in the human brain naturally

General Actions:

  • Reduces ADHD Symptoms
  • Improves Concentration
  • Reduces The Effects Of Stress
  • Antiacetylcholinesterase
  • Increases memory and learning capacity

Specific Actions:

  • Acetylcholinesterase downregulation

  • Na+/K+/ATPase upregulation

  • Increases cell fluidity



  • Preventative and treatment for Alzheimer's disease

  • To improve memory and learning capacity

  • ADHD

  • Age-related cognitive decline



100 - 500 mg/day

This daily dosage is generally broken up into 3-4 smaller doses of 100 mg.

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Chemical Description:

Phosphatidylserine is similar in structure to triglycerides, only with 2 spots on the glycerol backbone occupied by fatty acids, while the third spot contains a phosphatidic acid molecule and serine amino acid.

Many different compounds go under this name as long as they have one serine group. The fatty acid portions will vary significantly.


Pharmacology And Medical Research:

+ Acetylcholinesterase Downregulation

Cell membranes that contain phosphatidylserine have been correlated with a downregulation of acetylcholinesterase activity [4]. This contributes to an increase in acetylcholine levels in the brain.

This has been backed up in several studies showing a marked increase in acetylcholine levels in aged rat brains [10 - 12].

+ ADHD And Concentration

A study investigating the effectiveness of phosphatidylserine gave 36 children (aged 4-14) either a placebo or 200 mg of phosphatidylserine for 2 months. The results were significant improvements in ADHD symptoms and short-term auditory memory. No adverse effects were noted in this study. [7].

In healthy adults, 2 weeks of 400 mg doses of phosphatidylserine were shown to increase the processing speed (20% improvement), and cognitive accuracy (13% improvement of incorrect responses) [8].

+ Alzheimer's Disease

Phosphatidylserine supplementation in doses ranging from 200 - 500 mg was shown to improve glucose metabolism by 13.5-16%, increase dopamine and serotonin metabolites in patients with Alzheimer's disease [13-17].

Additionally, doses ranging from 15-50 mg/kg of phosphatidylserine were shown to reduce the rate of cognitive decline in aging rats [18].

+ Memory

In rat studies, phosphatidylserine was shown to improve the memory and learning ability at a dose of 50 mg/kg. This was tested using several different studies including light-avoidance, open-field and Y mazes, as well as avoidance tests. [20].

+ Na+/K+/ATPase Activity Upregulation

Phosphatidylserine activates protein kinase C (PKC) and has been correlated with an upregulation in Na+/K+/ATPase activity [4-6].

+ Parkinson's Disease

Double-blind studies have shown marked improvements in EEG parameters for patients with Parkinson's disease after taking bovine phosphatidylserine [19].



Doses as high as 600 mg phosphatidylserine for 12 weeks have been shown to have no noticeable side effects in elderly patients [21].

Bovine sourced phosphatidylserine supplementation is not recommended as it can increase chances for contracting Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease. Soy-based products are recommended.



Improvements in ADHD symptoms and concentration improvements were noted to be higher in fish oil containing supplements than alone. This included both versions of phosphatidylserine with the fish oil fatty acid components, and a combination of phosphatidylserine and fish oil supplements separately. [9].


Nootropic Formulas Containing Phosphatidylserine:


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Alpha Brain

A great formula put together by Onnit Labs for memory and processing speed.

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Optimind is one of the most tried and tested nootropic formuals available. A++

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By Neurohacker Collective
One of the most advanced nootropic formulas available.

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Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: December 2018

Recent Blog Posts:


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  2. Jäger, R., Purpura, M., & Kingsley, M. (2007). Phospholipids and sports performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 5.Chicago

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  33. Pedata, F., Giovannelli, L., Spignoli, G., Giovannini, M. G., & Pepeu, G. (1985). Phosphatidylserine increases acetylcholine release from cortical slices in aged rats. Neurobiology of aging, 6(4), 337-339.

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