Are You Getting Enough Of This Memory-Boosting Nutrient?

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Are You Getting Enough Of This Memory-Boosting Nutrient? about undefined
For your brain to function at its best, it needs a crucial nutrient that allows its neurons to keep properly firing off their messages to one another. This nutrient is particulary important because it plays a key role in activities that go on in neuronal membranes. Without it, your thinking abilities falter. New memories can't be stored and signals from neurotransmitters can't spread effectively. Your reasoning power deteriorates. So, it's no wonder that studies demonstrate supplementing with this memory-boosting powerhouse can slow many of the memory problems that arise with aging.1 This nutrient is called phosphatidylserine (PS) and we’ve written about it before. Allow me to explain why this natural substance is so important to your memory as you get older. When researchers in Asia reviewed studies that show PS can boost the thinking abilities of older people, they found evidence that taking PS supplements could improve impaired brains in several distinct ways. For example, they can:
  • Enhance glucose metabolism in the brain. Older brains often have trouble fueling themselves with blood glucose. But research shows that PS can increase the brain's glucose metabolism by more than 14 percent.2 
  • Boost the function and number of receptors in neurons. This enables better communication among neurons and that can result in a sharper memory.3 
  • Increase the release of choline. Choline is an important neurotransmitter that’s necessary for a strong memory. Unfortunately, levels drop in the brains of people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.4 
Scientists believe that it’s through these actions that PS can help an aging brain restore some of its lost clarity. But that’s not all…

Dousing Brain Inflammation 

Studies also show that the presence of PS in the brain helps to reduce chronic inflammation that would otherwise damage the brain’s neurons. Researchers who have reviewed investigations into the functions of PS point out that inflammation in the brain and nervous system is a “double-edged sword.” When immune cells in the brain ramp up inflammation, PS can help protect neurons that are being repaired after being damaged and facilitate the removal of cellular debris that can interfere with healthy brain function. This is great news since studies show that chronic inflammation from an overactive immune system can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and other cognitive problems.5 According to these scientists, exactly how PS produces its anti-inflammatory effects is so far unknown. But research has uncovered some clues. For instance, studies have shown that when several different receptors in the brain link up with PS, their interaction discourages immune cells from getting overly enthusiastic about activating molecular processes that lead to inflammation.6 PS also helps to send anti-inflammatory signals to immune cells to keep them from attacking neurons.

Helping The Brain And The Body 

Along with its helpful support of the neurons in the brain, other research shows that PS may be able to improve your overall health. One way is through its impact on your ability to exercise. A study at Ohio State, for instance, demonstrated that taking supplementary PS along with supplements containing iron, copper, zinc and carnitine helped a group of women significantly improve their capacity for aerobic exercise.7 In this research, a group of 28 women – who were already aerobically fit – trained for a month to run a three-mile course. Half of the women took the supplements, and the other half took placebos – capsules or powder that appeared to be identical to the supplements but didn’t contain any minerals or nutrients. At the end of the month, the women who took the PS saw their three-mile run times improve on average from 26.5 minutes to 25.6 – a substantial difference in physical speed. The women who did not take the PS-containing supplement did not improve their run times. And when the women were tested on stationary bikes, the distance the supplement-takers could cycle in 25 minutes improved by about ten percent while the placebo group stayed nearly the same.

My Takeaway 

In going through the studies on PS, I have found that every year the body of research revealing new health benefits of this amazing memory-booster grows larger. So, it’s obvious to me why so many people concerned about keeping their brains in tip-top shape make sure to get enough PS in their daily diet, and often choose to take supplements. While you can get some PS from foods such as soy, egg yolks and liver, supplements are also readily available. And the early research on PS supplements even suggests some new benefits. For example, in animal studies in Asia researchers have found that taking supplements of PS could fight off some of the ill-effects of diabetes and might even help extend longevity.8 There’s also evidence, from a human study, that taking PS along with fish oil can help you sleep more soundly by easing the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone that can be released from chronic anxiety and stress.9 That’s one of the many reasons why I agree with the researchers who believe PS is a supplement worth considering for all of us.

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