Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

BC-PS, Bovine Cortex Phosphatidylserine, Bovine Phosphatidylserine, Fosfatidilserina, LECI-PS, Lecithin Phosphatidylserine, Phosphatidylsérine, Phosphatidylsérine Bovine, Phosphatidylsérine de Soya, Phosphatidyl Serine, PS, PtdSer, Soy-PS, Soy Phosphatidylserine.


Phosphatidylserine is a chemical. The body can make phosphatidylserine, but gets most of what it needs from foods. Phosphatidylserine supplements were once made from cow brains, but now are commonly manufactured from cabbage or soy. The switch was triggered by a concern that products made from animal sources might cause infections such as mad cow disease.

Phosphatidylserine is used for Alzheimer's disease, age-related decline in mental function, improving thinking skills in young people, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, preventing exercise-induced stress, and improving athletic performance.

How does it work?

Phosphatidylserine is an important chemical with widespread functions in the body. It is part of the cell structure and is key in the maintenance of cellular function, especially in the brain.


The Stages of Dementia: Alzheimer's Disease and Aging Brains See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Age-related mental decline. Phosphatidylserine made from cow brains seems to improve attention, language skills, and memory in aging people with declining thinking skills. It is not known whether the newer products, which are made from soy and cabbage, will have the same benefit. However, there is developing evidence that plant-derived phosphatidylserine improves memory in people with age-associated memory loss.
  • Alzheimer's disease. Taking phosphatidylserine can improve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease after 6-12 weeks of treatment. It seems to be most effective in people with less severe symptoms. However, phosphatidylserine might lose its effectiveness with extended use. After 16 weeks of treatment, progression of Alzheimer's disease seems to overcome any benefit provided by phosphatidylserine.
    Most clinical studies have used phosphatidylserine from cow brains. However, most supplements now use phosphatidylserine from soy or cabbage. Researchers do not yet know how phosphatidylserine made from these plant sources compares with phosphatidylserine made from cow brains in terms of effectiveness for Alzheimer's disease.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Depression. There is some early evidence that phosphatidylserine might improve depression in older people.
  • Stress brought on by exercise. Some research suggests that athletes taking phosphatidylserine during strenuous training might feel better overall and have less muscle soreness. However, other research shows conflicting results.
  • Improving athletic performance.
  • Improving thinking ability.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate phosphatidylserine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Phosphatidylserine is POSSIBLY SAFE most adults and children when taken by mouth appropriately. It has been used in research studies for up to six months.

Phosphatidylserine can cause side effects including insomnia and stomach upset, particularly at doses over 300 mg.

There is some concern that products made from animal sources could transmit diseases, such as mad cow disease. To date, there are not any known cases of humans getting animal diseases from phosphatidylserine supplements, but look for supplements made from plants to be on the safe side.


One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is __________________. See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking phosphatidylserine if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Be on the safe side and avoid use.


Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Some drying medications are called anticholinergic drugs. Phosphatidylserine might increase chemicals that can decrease the effects of these drying medications.

Some drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines) and for depression (antidepressants).

Medications for Alzheimer's disease (Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Phosphatidylserine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. Medications for Alzheimer's disease called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors also increase the chemical acetylcholine. Taking phosphatidylserine along with medications for Alzheimer's disease might increase effects and side effects of medications for Alzheimer's disease.

Some acetylcholinesterase medications include donepezil (Aricept), tacrine (Cognex), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl, Razadyne).

Various medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions (Cholinergic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Phosphatidylserine might increase a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. This chemical is similar to some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions. Taking phosphatidylserine with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.

Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions include pilocarpine (Pilocar and others) and others.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For Alzheimer's disease, and other age-related thinking or memory impairment: 100 mg of phosphatidylserine three times daily.

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