Phosphatidyl Serine for Dementia17.09.2008
by Veracity - Dani
A powerful prevention tool for memory loss, Alzheimer's, Dementia
The link between old age and forgetfulness is cliché enough to be the subject of greeting cards, sitcoms and jokes. We take it for granted so often that very few of us take the time to question why it happens. However, experts may have found the answer in an essential fatty acid called phosphatidylserine.
Our bodies need this phospholipid to build brain cell membranes that are fluid enough to release the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine, but luckily, our brains normally manufacture enough phosphatidylserine (PS) to keep us in top mental order. However, when we reach middle age, our levels of PS begin to decline - an effect that is worsened by deficiencies of other essential fatty acids, folic acid or vitamin B12. Because PS is necessary for effective neurotransmission, PS deficiency is linked to mental impairment, including Alzheimer's and non-Alzheimer's dementia, depression and Parkinson's disease among middle-aged and elderly people.
Since PS deficiency is associated with these common age-related conditions, many experts believe that PS supplements can help improve, or even reverse, symptoms. As Elizabeth Somer further explains in her book, Food & Mood, "PS supplements restock brain cell membranes, boosting nerve chemical activity such as dopamine and serotonin, stimulating nerve cell growth, lowering levels of the stress hormones, possibly generating new connections between cells, and stirring activity in all brain centers, especially higher brain centers such as the cortex, hypothalamus and pituitary gland."
In other words, PS supplements may give a 50-year-old the same brainpower as a healthy 20-year-old. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, according to the 2002 Bottom Line Yearbook, "Phosphatidylserine is the only medication that's been proven to reverse age-related memory loss in clinical studies."
Furthermore, these clinical studies are overwhelmingly positive about the amazing abilities of PS. In Alternative Cures, Bill Gottlieb reports that one study demonstrated that PS can reverse the chronological age of neurons by as much as 12 years. Of course, this has enormous implications for people suffering from age-related dementia.
A recent study on men aged 50 and older with non-Alzheimer's dementia found that a three-month regimen of 300 milligrams of PS daily was enough treatment to drastically improve mental function, according to Dr. Russell L. Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins. In one study, Alzheimer's patients experienced cognitive improvements after receiving only 100 milligrams of PS for three months, while another study demonstrated that 400 milligrams of PS per day led to short-term neurological and psychological improvements in people with Alzheimer's.
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Though the tested dosages vary, the results add up to one thing: New hope for people suffering from age-related mental decline. The abilities of PS look so promising that phosphatidylserine expert and author Professor Parris Kidd calls it "the single best means for conserving memory and other higher brain functions as we age."
So, how can you explore the benefits of PS supplementation for yourself? Previously, PS supplements were only made from phosphatidylserine isolated from cow brains, posing the problem of mad cow disease. But now, scientists can create PS by putting soy lecithin through an enzymatic process that changes phosphatidylcholine into phosphatidylserine. As PDR for Nutritional Supplements authors Dr. Sheldon Saul Hendler and David Rorvik explain, PS derived from soy differs from that isolated from cow brains by the form of its fatty acids: "Phosphatidylserine from soy lecithin contains mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, while phosphatidylserine derived from bovine brain contains mainly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as some docosahexaenoic acid."
According to Dr. Hendler and Rorvik, the risk of mad cow disease, though hypothetical, is in itself enough to make soy lecithin-derived PS the better option. Furthermore, as an interesting side note, the book Natural Cures and Gentle Medicines reports that there is a product called Brain Gum. Because the gum is fortified with a 40 percent concentration of PS, its creators claim that only three pieces a day can help you learn better and increase your memory and concentration. You can learn more about Brain Gum at http://www.braingum.com/, however, neither I nor Truth Publishing currently endorse this product (we simply haven't tried it yet).
Whichever way you choose to take PS supplements, it may be worth a try, especially if you are already experiencing age-related mental decline. After reviewing more than 3,000 peer-reviewed research papers on PS, Professor Kidd asserts, "The remarkable benefits of PS and its safety in use are now established beyond doubt," in Dr. Mark Stengler's Natural Physician's Healing Therapies. Similarly, in his Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, Dr. Hendler writes that PS "does not appear to have any adverse side effects."
So, how much PS should you take? Many experts believe 300 milligrams daily, taken in three doses of 100 milligrams each, is sufficient, but, of course, you should discuss your dosage information with a health care professional, preferably a naturopath.