Breaking News on Supplements & Nutrition - EuropeUS edition

Headlines > Research

Stressed men may benefit from soy-based phosphatidylserine, say researchers

Post a comment

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

Last updated on 08-Aug-2014 at 16:49 GMT

Daily supplementation with 400 mg of phosphatidylserine and 400 mg of phosphatidic acid complex may
Daily supplementation with 400 mg of phosphatidylserine and 400 mg of phosphatidic acid complex may "normalise" hyper stress responses, say researchers.

Soy-based phosphatidylserine may normalise the stress reactions of the nervous system and hormone glands in highly stressed males, according to research.

The researchers from Germany, Switzerland and Israel looked at the impact of daily oral supplementation of phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidic acid complex (PA) for a 42-day period on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA).

The HPAA refers to the complex feedback relationship between the endocrine glands which secrete hormones into the blood, the hypothalamus which is a part of the brain that connects the nervous system to the endocrine system, the pituitary gland which sits below the hypothalamus and secretes hormones and the adrenal glands which sit at the top of the kidneys and secretes stress hormones.

Prolonged stress induces a hyper-activation of the HPAA, which can then lead to a state of "hypo-activation". The research suggested that daily supplementation with 400 mg of phosphatidylserine (PS) and 400 mg of phosphatidic acid complex (PA) may normalise this hyper response.

A stressful process

The research, published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, looked at 75 healthy male volunteers stratified by chronic stress level and given either a placebo or 200 mg PS and 200 mg PA or 400 mg PS and 400 mg PA per day.

They concluded: “Compared to placebo, a supplementation with a daily dose of PAS 400 was effective in normalising the ACTH [adrenocorticotropic hormone], salivary and serum cortisol responses to the TSST [Trier Social Stress Test] in chronically high but not in low stressed subjects.”

Meanwhile supplementation in the 200 mg group did not result in any significant differences, compared to the placebo. They also found no difference to heart rate, pulse transit time or psychological stress response.

The researchers said: “As in our previous PAS study, effects of PAS 400 could only be observed for endocrine but not for autonomic stress responses. If PAS would primarily affect the stress response network in the brain, one would expect common secondary effects on psychological, endocrine, and autonomic measures.

“This is unlikely, since in both studies psychological effects were inconsistent and autonomic effects could not be observed. This points to the possibility that PAS primarily targets peripheral components of the HPAA.”

Regulating stress, regulating phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine won EU novel foods approval for yoghurt foods, bars, chocolate and milk powder drinks last month following an application from Lonza, having already secured approval for use in supplements.

In 2010 however a health claim application for phosphatidyl serine for the effects “memory and cognitive functioning in the elderly”, “mental health/cognitive function” and “stress reduction and enhanced memory function” was rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), saying a cause and effect relationship could not be established. 

In its decision , the authority said the information provided did not allow it to characterise the food constituent, concluding therefore that phosphatidyl serine was "not sufficiently characterised".

Meanwhile, America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to an qualified health claim application in 2003, saying: “Our conclusion is that there is not significant scientific agreement that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of dementia or cognitive dysfunction in the elderly.”

They instead proposed the addition of a disclaimer to the claim to avoid misleading consumers, stating in each case it may have an effect but the scientific evidence was weak. 


Source: Lipids in Health and Disease 

Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-121

“A soy-based phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) normalizes the stress reactivity of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis in chronically stressed male subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled study”

Authors: J. Hellhammer, D. Vogt, N. Franz, U. Freitas and D. Rutenberg 

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Related products