05- Aug-2021

Phosphatidylserine and Cortisol- How are they related?

Phosphatidylserine and Cortisol- How are they related?
Dt. Indu Vishnavi
Dietitian Indu Vaishnavi.R
- M.sc Food and Nutrition (Gold Medalist),
- Corporate Dietitian,
- Certified Food Safety Auditor (ISO 22000:2018)

Do not get overwhelmed by the names, phosphatidylserine and cortisol are important substances and we will understand how they are related.

Looking at some science -- Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid (contains both fatty acids and amino acids). Phospholipids are molecules which help to protect and give structure to our cells by forming a double layer to make up our cell membranes. Thus, phosphatidylserine is important for our cell function as it is a building block of cell membranes. It is present in every cell of our body but has an essential role in maintaining the growth of neurons in the brain and helps in effective interaction between cells. Dietary sources of phosphatidylserine are eggs, soybean, etc

Cortisol on the other hand is a stress hormone that is released by the adrenal glands. It helps us deal with adverse situations. During stress, our brain triggers its release through the fight or flight system. When cortisol levels are high for a long period of time, it can lead to various health issues like high blood pressure, weight gain, irritability, insomnia, metabolic disorders, etc.

Relation between the two:

  • Phosphatidylserine may have the ability to promote a healthy endocrine response to stress. It may alleviate the effect of stress on the pituitary - adrenal axis. It does so by reducing cortisol levels in response to either emotional or physiological stress. Phosphatidylserine does not stop the body from experiencing stress, it just helps in dealing with it in a better way.
  • Overtraining may lead to increase in cortisol levels. Phosphatidylserine may prevent increase in cortisol levels which could decrease muscle soreness. Hence, it could be explored in sports nutrition. In a recent study, it was seen that phosphatidylserine lowers resting cortisol levels before exercise, reduces overall cortisol output during exercise, and increases the testosterone to cortisol ratio after exercise. Hence, PS or phosphatidylserine would quite of use in sports nutrition.
  • Due to the prolonged levels of cortisol in the system, there is a chance of reduction in immune response, and may contribute to weight gain. Phosphatidylserine helps in controlling and stabilizing cortisol levels and may promote weight loss and boost metabolism.
  • There is evidence that relates testosterone and cortisol. If there is increased circulating cortisol, it will reduce testosterone levels in the body. So, by lowering the cortisol levels there may be an increase in testosterone, which in the long term would play a key role in building muscle.
  • Phosphatidylserine can be an effective mood enhancing substance as it tends to normalize high cortisol levels. It may help to deal with anxiety and depression and act as a nootropic supplement.
  • Phosphatidylserine supplementation in a dose of 400-800 mg/day may help in reducing secretion of cortisol. There are no possible side effects if we stick to recommended dosage levels.

Phosphatidylserine has immense usage. You can opt for Bestsource nutrition's Phopholipids Complex veg Capsule which is enriched in Phosphatidylserine. It has 20% phosphatidylserine and 20% phosphatidylcholine standardization. Make sure to get an approval from your healthcare practitioner before starting any supplementation.