One of the most valuable qualities a player can offer his or her team is versatility—the ability to deliver a range of different benefits. When it comes to sports nutrition, one of the most versatile players is phosphatidylserine, commonly shortened to PS.
Since 1998—when researchers demonstrated benefits for weightlifters[i]—a string of studies have shown intake of PS is linked to improved recovery, better workout performance, increased time to exhaustion, support of muscle health and reduced muscle soreness. [ii][iii][iv][v]
Part of the reason for the effectiveness of PS is the way it affects specific hormones. An important goal for many athletes is the reduction of cortisol. This stress-related hormone has several effects on the body which can be harmful to performance, including muscle wastage and decreased bone formation. PS blunts the increase in cortisol often associated with exercise. In fact, one of the first studies on the subject identified it as the lipid with the most pronounced ability to blunt sports-related increase in blood cortisol.[vi]
Supplementation with PS can also be beneficial for muscle growth—another common goal for athletes. There is evidence that it plays a significant role in mTOR signalling, a biological process that tell your muscles when it’s time to grow. In a study, researchers found that it can ‘stimulate a robust increase in mTOR signalling’. [vii]
In addition to its range of physical benefits, PS is well-known for its powers to boost cognition; it can improve focus and decision-making—powers that are important in all sports.[viii]
Enzymotec’s SharpPS® is one of the leading PS brands in the supplement industry. It has excellent organoleptic properties and is suitable for most applications, including protein-based powders, tablets, sachets, gummies, bars, and ready-to-use drinks.
[i] Fahey TD, Pearl MS, The Hormonal and Perceptive effects of phosphatidylserine administration during two weeks of resistive exercise induced overtraining, Biology of sport, 1998;15:136-144
[iii] Starks MA, Starks SL, Kingsley M, et al. The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:11
[iv] Kingsley MI, Miller M, Kilduff LP, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine on exercise capacity during cycling in active males. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2006;38:64-71
[v] Kingsley MI, Wadsworth D, Kilduff LP, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine on oxidative stress following intermittent running. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2005;37:1300-1306
[vi] Monteleone P, Beinat L, Tanzillo C, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine response to physical stress in humans Neuroendocrinology. 1990;52:243-248
[vii] Joy JM, Gundermann DM, Lowery RP, et al. Phosphatidic acid enhances mTOR signaling and resistance exercise induced hypertrophy. Nutrition & metabolism. 2014;11:29
[viii] Parker, A. G. et al. The effects of IQPLUS Focus on cognitive function, mood and endocrine response before and following acute exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 8, 16