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Does Phosphatidylserine Work For Anxiety? (What The Science Says)

My role at Vitalized Future is to curate the complex, jargon-filled science in an easy-to-understand format so you can make sense of it, without having to do hours and hours of research for yourself.

(Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd.)

So in this article, I will dive deep into the science on using Phosphatidylserine (PS) for anxiety.

You may be wondering why I’m writing an article on anxiety, so I will explain this now…

It’s a sad fact that nowadays, so many of us are affected by this crippling mental illness.

In fact research shows that anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the United States alone.

To put it another way, 1 in 5 Americans suffer from anxiety.

So if this article can help at least 1 person improve their anxiety, then mission accomplished.

(Ideally this article can help 1000s of people improve their anxiety but even helping 1 person will make a positive difference to someone’s life.)

A quick disclaimer before we get into the science first though.

I personally don’t suffer from anxiety, so this article focuses purely on the science, and NOT my personal experience with using PS for anxiety.

I have verified the effectiveness of using PS for sleep, but it would be dishonest of me to claim I’ve used this to help me with anxiety when I don’t have anxiety.

Right, let’s get back to the science with a brief introduction to what Phosphatidylserine actually is.

What is Phosphatidylserine?

PS is a natural compound which belongs to a very important type of lipid, called a phospholipid.

These phospholipids consist of a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail and they’re sorted into 2 parallel layers called a phospholipid bilayer.

Your cell membranes are made from this phospholipid bilayer which is vital for cellular function.

(PS has been shown to help with brain function.)

Like many natural compounds produced by the body, PS levels are thought to decline with age so as you get older, you may want to keep your PS levels topped up (if you want to maintain brain function – but who doesn’t?)

Although PS is naturally found in foods such as egg yolks, chicken liver and Soy, it’s difficult to absorb sufficient amounts from dietary sources.

And this is where supplementing with PS comes into play.

Fun fact: PS supplements were originally derived from Cows’ brain cells (pretty grim, I know) but this was stopped due to concerns about mad cow disease. So nowadays, most PS supplements are made from Sunflower Lecithin or Soy Lecithin, including the one below.

phosphatidylserine for anxiety

Reasons for supplementing with Phosphatidylserine for anxiety

This part of the article defends the case of using Phosphatidylserine to improve anxiety.

If you think you may benefit from PS, then this part is for you.

1. Phosphatidylserine lowers Cortisol

Cortisol is a natural hormone produced in the adrenal glands that’s essentially a “stress” hormone.

Its main purpose is to wake us up in the morning.

But due to the stressful world we live in, many of us have high Cortisol levels.

When Cortisol levels are high, the parts of the brain which act as the shut-off valves for Cortisol (called the hippocampus and hypothalamus) become resistant to Cortisol.

Since cells aren’t taking in the hormone due to Cortisol resistance, the body’s response is to produce even MORE Cortisol in an attempt to enter the cells.

(I like to think of this like monetary inflation. When the value of the dollar decreases, the response from the Government is to pump more money into the system.)

In simple terms, high Cortisol levels lead to even higher Cortisol levels in the cycle explained above.

PS stops this vicious cycle by re-sensitizing the hippocampus and the hypothalamus to Cortisol.

So what the heck does this have to do with anxiety? I hear you say.

Well this study shows that people with anxiety have high Cortisol levels and that lowering Cortisol levels results in improved anxiety.

In other words, taking PS to lower your Cortisol levels will likely result in improved anxiety.

2. Phosphatidylserine is a natural compound

Okay, maybe I’m being a little selfish with this reason as I know it definitely applies to me but it may not apply to you.

I’m a huge believer that you should only use supplements which are found naturally.

Or in other words, I personally never supplement with something that’s man-made from artificial chemicals in a lab.

Which is why PS is great, as it’s found naturally in every single cell in the human body.

Compare this to Xanax aka 8-Chloro-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-s-triazolo which is synthesized from artificial chemicals and has a tonne of serious side effects including addiction, fatigue and insomnia.

I’m not sure about you but I know what I’d rather put in my body!

(Disclaimer: this is purely my opinion and not medical advice.)

3. Phosphatidylserine improves sleep

I can verify first hand that Phosphatidylserine supplementation helps massively with sleep quality.

Many reliable sources, including this one, believe that a good night’s sleep will help improve anxiety.

So even if PS doesn’t directly help your anxiety, it will more than likely improve your sleep which can only benefit your anxiety.

Reasons against supplementing with Phosphatidylserine for anxiety

As mentioned earlier, my role is to break down the science for you to make sense of it regardless of whether the science is for or against it.

I appreciate that everyone’s different and not every supplement will work for everyone, so this part of the article will help you decide if Phosphatidylserine is NOT for you.

(Unlike other blogs, I don’t claim that every supplement is the magic pill that will cure everything!)

1. Cheaper alternatives

As mentioned earlier, the way PS helps to lower anxiety is its ability to lower Cortisol.

But there are many other supplements out there which lower Cortisol (my other favorite being Holy Basil) that are cheaper than PS.

phosphatidylserine and holy basil for anxiety

Don’t get me wrong, PS isn’t expensive by any means but those on a shoestring budget may want to try something a little cheaper.

2. Supplementation should be a last resort

Again, this is another one of my philosophies when it comes to improving health, so it’s a personal preference to me.

I’m a firm believer that you should fix any lifestyle issues before looking to use supplements.

So, here are a few things you can try today which may help your anxiety:

  • Calisthenics
  • Affirmations
  • Get some Sunlight
  • Lower caffeine intake
  • Get a better night’s sleep
  • Eat healthy and avoid sugar

It’s amazing how much a healthy lifestyle can do for your mental wellbeing.

Conclusion

By now, you should have all of the info you need to decide whether Phosphatidylserine may benefit you.

But before you consider trying out PS, I urge you to see whether your lifestyle can be improved.

PS should definitely help some of you, but since we’re all biologically different, it most likely won’t help everyone.

That’s the harsh reality of life.

If you do suffer from anxiety and are reading this, you’re NOT alone and you will get through this.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end, and I’ll see you in the next article.

Robb

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