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Components of phosphatidylserines:
Blue, green: variable fatty acid groups
Black: glycerol
Red: phosphate
Purple: serine
CAS number 8002-43-5 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:18303 YesY
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
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Infobox references

Phosphatidylserine(s) (abbreviated Ptd-L-Ser or PS) is an important a phospholipid membrane component (i.e. component of the cell membrane) which plays a key role in cell cycle signaling, specifically in relationship to apoptosis.

Cell Signaling[edit]

Phosphatidylserine(s) are actively held facing the cytosolic (inner) side of the cell membrane by the enzyme flippase. This is in contrast to normal behavior of phospholipids in the cell membrane which can freely flip their heads between the two faces of the membrane they comprise. However, when a cell undergoes apoptosis phosphatidylserine is no longer restricted to the cytosolic domain by flippase. When the phosphatidylserines naturally flip to the extracellular (outer) surface of the cell, they act as a signal for macrophages to engulf the cells.[1]

Supplementation and Health Benefits[edit]

Memory and cognition[edit]

In May, 2003 the FDA gave "qualified health claim" status to phosphatidylserine thus allowing labels to state "consumption of phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive dysfunction in the elderly" along with the disclaimer "very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim."[2]

The Food and Drug Administration declared that "based on (its) evaluation of the totality of the publicly available scientific evidence, (the agency) concludes there is not significant scientific agreement among qualified experts that a relationship exists between phosphatidylserine and reduced risk of dementia or cognitive dysfunction[citation needed]." FDA also noted "of the 10 intervention studies that formed the basis of FDA's evaluation, all were seriously flawed or limited in their reliability in one or more ways,"[citation needed] concluding that "most of the evidence does not support a relationship between phosphatidylserine and reduced risk of dementia or cognitive dysfunction" and that "the evidence supporting such a relationship is limited and preliminary[citation needed]."

Early studies of phosphatidylserine on memory and cognition used a supplement which isolated the molecule from the bovine brain. Currently, most commercially available products are made from cabbage or soybeans due to the risk of mad cow disease in bovine brain tissue.[3] These plant-based products have a similar, but not identical chemical structure to the bovine derived supplements. [2] but without the risk of infection.

A preliminary study in rats in 1999 indicated that the soy derived phosphatidylserine supplement was as effective as the bovine derived supplement in one of three behavioral tests.[4][5] However, clinical trials in humans found that "a daily supplement of S-PS (soybean derived PS) does not affect memory or other cognitive functions in older individuals with memory complaints."[6]

Sports nutrition[edit]

In athletes, PS has been shown to improve performance,[7][8][9] endocrine response to exercise stress,[10][11] and decreased muscle damage[12] in athletes involved in cycling, weight training, golf and endurance running. PS has been reported to be an effective supplement for combating exercise-induced stress by blunting the exercise-induced increase in cortisol levels in a dose dependent manner.[10][11] PS supplementation promotes a desirable hormonal balance for athletes and might attenuate the physiological deterioration that accompanies overtraining and/or overstretching.[10] In recent studies, PS has been shown to enhance mood in a cohort of young people during mental stress[13] and to improve accuracy during tee-off by increasing the stress resistance of golfers.[9]

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder[edit]

In 2006, a randomized trial reported PS supplementation may be beneficial for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.[14][15][original research?]


Traditionally, PS supplements were derived from bovine cortex (BC-PS). However, due to the risk of potential transfer of infectious diseases, soy-derived PS (S-PS) supplements have been used as an alternative[citation needed]. Soy-derived PS is designated Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. A 2002 safety report determined supplementation in elder people at a dosage of 200 mg three times daily to be safe.[16]

Dietary sources[edit]

The average daily phosphatidylserine (PS) intake from diet in Western countries is estimated to be 130 mg. PS may be found in meat and fish. Only small amounts of PS can be found in dairy products or in vegetables, with the exception of white beans and soy lecithin.

Table 1. PS content in different foods.[17]

Food PS Content in mg/100 g
Soy lecithin 5900 [18]
Bovine brain 713
Atlantic mackerel 480
Chicken heart 414
Atlantic herring 360
Eel 335
Offal (average value) 305
Pig's spleen 239
Pig's kidney 218
Tuna 194
Chicken leg, with skin, without bone 134
Chicken liver 123
White beans 107
Soft-shell clam 87
Chicken breast, with skin 85
Mullet 76
Veal 72
Beef 69
Pork 57
Pig's liver 50
Turkey leg, without skin or bone 50
Turkey breast without skin 45
Crayfish 40
Cuttlefish 31
Atlantic cod 28
Anchovy 25
Whole grain barley 20
European hake 17
European pilchard (sardine) 16
Trout 14
Rice (unpolished) 3
Carrot 2
Ewe's Milk 2
Cow's Milk (whole, 3.5% fat) 1
Potato 1


Phosphatidylserine is biosynthesized in bacteria by condensing the amino acid serine with CDP (cytidine diphosphate)-activated phosphatidic acid.[19] In mammals, phosphatidylserine is produced by base-exchange reactions with phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine. Conversely, phosphatidylserine can also give rise to phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine, although in animals the pathway to generate phosphatidylcholine from phosphatidylserine only operates in the liver.[20]

Biosynthesis of Phosphatidylserine


Phosphatidylserine is reportedly used in cell biology research and has been explored as a tumor diagnostic indicator as reported below. Annexin-A5 is a naturally-occurring protein with avid binding affinity for PS. Labeled-annexin-A5 enables visualization of cells in the early- to mid-apoptotic state in vitro or in vivo. Another PS binding protein is Mfge8[citation needed]. Technetium-labeled annexin-A5 enables distinction between malignant and benign tumours whose pathology includes a high rate of cell division and apoptosis in malignant compared with a low rate of apoptosis in benign tumors[citation needed].


  1. ^ Verhoven, B; Schlegel, RA, Williamson, P (1995-11-01). "Mechanisms of phosphatidylserine exposure, a phagocyte recognition signal, on apoptotic T lymphocytes". The Journal of experimental medicine 182 (5): 1597–601. doi:10.1084/jem.182.5.1597. PMC 2192221. PMID 7595231. 
  2. ^ a b Christine L. Taylor, Ph.D. (May 13, 2003). "Phosphatidylserine and Cognitive Dysfunction and Dementia (Qualified Health Claim: Final Decision Letter)". Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  3. ^ "Can phosphatidylserine improve memory and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease?". Retrieved 2013-03-17. 
  4. ^ Blokland A, Honig W, Brouns F, Jolles J (October 1999). "Cognition-enhancing properties of subchronic phosphatidylserine (PS) treatment in middle-aged rats: comparison of bovine cortex PS with egg PS and soybean PS". Nutrition 15 (10): 778–83. doi:10.1016/S0899-9007(99)00157-4. PMID 10501292. 
  5. ^ Crook, T. H.; R. M. Klatz (ed) (1998). Treatment of Age-Related Cognitive Decline: Effects of Phosphatidylserine in Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics 2. Chicago: Health Quest Publications. pp. 20–29. 
  6. ^ Jorissen BL, Brouns F, Van Boxtel MP, Ponds RW, Verhey FR, Jolles J, Riedel WJ. (2001). "The influence of soy-derived phosphatidylserine on cognition in age-associated memory impairment". Nutritional Neuroscience 4 (2): 121–34. PMID 11842880. 
  7. ^ Kingsley M, Wadsworth D, Kilduff LP, McEneny J, Benton D (August 2005). "Effects of phosphatidylserine on oxidative stress following intermittent running". Med Sci Sports Exerc 37 (8): 1300–1306. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000175306.05465.7e. PMID 16118575. 
  8. ^ Kingsley MI, Miller M, Kilduff LP, McEneny J, Benton D (January 2006). "Effects of phosphatidylserine on exercise capacity during cycling in active males". Med Sci Sports Exerc 38 (1): 64–71. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000183195.10867.d0. PMID 16394955. 
  9. ^ a b Jäger R, Purpura M, Geiss K-R, Weiß M, Baumeister J, Amatulli F, Schröder L, Herwegen H (December 2007). "The effect of phosphatidylserine on golf performance". International Society of Sports Nutrition 4 (1). 
  10. ^ a b c Starks MA, Starks SL, Kingsley M, Purpura M, Jäger R (July 2008). "The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise". J Int Soc Sports Nutr 5. PMC 2503954. 
  11. ^ a b Monteleone P, Maj M, Beinat L, Natale M, Kemali D (1992). "Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men". Eur J Clin Pharmacol 42 (4): 385–388. PMID 1325348. 
  12. ^ Fernholz KM, Seifert JG, Bacharach DW, Burke ER, Gazal O (2000). "The Effects of Phosphatidyl Serine on Markers of Muscular Stress in Endurance Runners [abstract]". Med Sci Sports Exerc 32 (4): S321. 
  13. ^ Benton D, Donohoe RT, Sillance B, Nabb S (2001). "The Influence of phosphatidylserine supplementation on mood and heart rate when faced with an acute stressor". Nutr Neurosci 4 (3): 169–178. PMID 11842886. 
  14. ^ Hirayama S, Masuda Y, Rabeler R (September–October 2006). "Effect of phosphatidylserine administration on symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children". Agro Food 17 (5): 32–36. 
  15. ^ Hirayama S., Terasawa K., Rabeler R., Hirayama T., Inoue T., Tatsumi Y., Purpura M. & Jäger R. (2013). "The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial". Human Nutrition and Dietetics. doi:10.1111/jhn.12090. PMID 23495677. 
  16. ^ Jorissen BL, Brouns F, Van Boxtel MP, Riedel WJ (October 2002). "Safety of soy-derived phosphatidylserine in elderly people". Nutr Neurosci 5 (5): 337–343. doi:10.1080/1028415021000033802. PMID 12385596. 
  17. ^ Souci SW, Fachmann E, Kraut H (2008). Food Composition and Nutrition Tables. Medpharm Scientific Publishers Stuttgart. 
  18. ^ C.R. Scholfield (October 1981). "Composition of Soybean Lecithin". Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 58 (10): 890. doi:10.1007/bf02659652. 
  19. ^ Phosphatidylserine and related lipids
  20. ^ "Phosphatidylcholine, structure, occurrence, biochemistry and analysis". 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 

External links[edit]