Written by Priya Walia, MS Ayu, ND

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an essential component found within the cell membrane matrix, mainly in the brain and neural tissue of our body. It is produced in limited amounts by the body, and often tends to decline with age.1,2 Supplementation can enhance and support its vital function within the body.

PS functions include intercellular communication, and main benefits include:

  • Supporting memory and cognitive function3,4,5 by:
    • Increasing cell fluidity, upregulates ATPase and downregulates acetylcholinesterase6
    • Activating protein kinase C (PKC) greater than other phospholipids
  • Support during stress7,8
  • ADHD:
    • 200mg of PS has shown to improve symptoms of ADHD in children9
    • Enhanced benefit is seen with the addition of fish oil10
  • Mood stabilization in depression11

Sourcing of PS was first found from the bovine cortex: however, bovine sources are no longer used due to potential for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The alternative and safer source since then has been soy lecithin. However, making recent waves is a much more desirable source – sunflower seeds. PS is manufactured from phosphatidylcholine-enriched sunflower lecithin by enzymatic transphosphorylation with L-serine. The choline group is substituted with the serine group through catalysis using a phospholipase enzyme. During this process, the fatty acids are not altered and mainly contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Once separated, the product is purified and dried.12

The use of sunflower seeds is especially noteworthy due to the increase in awareness surrounding large volumes of commercial production of GMO soy, increasing allergic responses to soy, and widespread pesticide use on soy farms. Sunflower PS delivers all the benefits of soy-based PS while maintaining a low-risk profile for consumption. Other food sources of PS include: soy beans, egg yolk, chicken liver, beef liver and krill oil. As such, with PS levels decreasing as we age it is imperative to find a natural and safe way to optimize and maintain functioning of the brain and nervous system to prevent chronic, degenerative conditions that are becoming more common in today’s society.


  1. Calderini G, et al Biochemical changes of rat brain membranes with aging. Neurochem Res. (1983)
  2. Schroeder F Role of membrane lipid asymmetry in aging . Neurobiol Aging. (1984)
  3. Calderini G, et al Pharmacological effect of phosphatidylserine on age-dependent memory dysfunction . Ann N Y Acad Sci. (1985)
  4. Argentiero V, Tavolato B Dopamine (DA) and serotonin metabolic levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in Alzheimer’s presenile dementia under basic conditions and after stimulation with cerebral cortex phospholipids (BC-PL). J Neurol. (1980)
  5. Crook, TH et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine in age‐associated memory impairment. Neurology May 1991 41 no. 5 644-649
  6. Tsakiris S, Deliconstantinos G Influence of phosphatidylserine on (Na+ + K+)-stimulated ATPase and acetylcholinesterase activities of dog brain synaptosomal plasma membranes. Biochem J. (1984)
  7. Baumeister J, et al Influence of phosphatidylserine on cognitive performance and cortical activity after induced stress. Nutr Neurosci. (2008)
  8. Jäger R, Purpura M, Geiss K-R, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine on golf performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2007;4:23. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-4-23.
  9. Hirayama S, et al The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial . J Hum Nutr Diet. (2013)
  10. Manor I, et al The effect of phosphatidylserine containing Omega3 fatty-acids on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, followed by an open-label extension. Eur Psychiatry. (2012)
  11. Maggioni M, et al Effects of phosphatidylserine therapy in geriatric patients with depressive disorders. Acta Psychiatr Scand. (1990)
  12. Steele, E. “GRAS Notice: Manufacturing Process.” 2014. <http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm428926.pdf>.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.