Long-term use of phosphatidylserine (PS) in aged rats has been found to preserve cholinergic neurons.1 This is good news for aging humans. The proper function of these brain cells is instrumental to proper memory. In fact, there was no difference in cholinergic neuron count when compared to rats less than 1/6 their age, whereas the number of these neurons fell by 20% in age-matched rats not receiving PS. Scientists have found as well that chronic PS use improves acetylcholine (ACh) release in aged rats.2 ACh is a neurotransmitter known to be essential in memory function. It is the means by which messages are transmitted in the cholinergic system, and it enhances the activity of all neurotransmission activity in the brain. ACh may be thought of as the electrolyte of the brain.

PS increases ACh release by increasing the availability of the nutrient choline for ACh synthesis. It also appears to restore acetylcholine release in aging rats by maintaining an adequate acetylcholine supply.3 When 149 elderly humans with age-associated memory impairment were given PS for 12 weeks, their ability to perform quality of life learning and memory tasks improved.4 Improvement was greatest for those who were more impaired than their age peers. The results indicate that PShelps restore proper memory function later in life.


  1. Nunzi MG, Milan F, Guidolin D, Polato P, Toffano G. Effects of phosphatidylserine administration of aged-related structural changes in the rat hippocampus and septal complex. Pharmacopsych. 1989;22 Suppl 2:125-128.
  2. Casamenti F, Scali C, Pepeu G Phosphatidylserine reverses the age-dependent decrease in cortical acetylcholine release: a microdialysis study. Eur J Pharmacol 1991;194:11-16.
  3. Vannucchi MG, Pepeu G. Effect of phosphatidylserine on acetylcholine release and content in cortical slices from aging rats. Neurobiol Aging 1987;8:403-407. Neurobiol Aging 1985;6(4):337-339.
  4. Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage J, Petrie W, Nunzi MG, Massari DC Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology 1991 May;41(5):644-649.