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Nutrient Found to Help Prevent Degenerative Brain Disorders

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Recent research out of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Human Molecular Genetics has found that a certain type of phospholipid called phosphatidylserine (or PS for short) may boast some pretty incredible brain health benefits — the compound may help ward off severe degenerative brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

What is Phosphatidylserine (PS)?

Phosphatidylserine is a member of a class of chemical compounds called phospholipids, is a cofactor for various enzymes, and it even has the potential to operate as an antioxidant. It’s a vital part of brain cell membranes and cellular communication, as phosphatidylserine contains a molecule that is needed to transmit signals between the nerve cells in your brain.

In addition to keeping cells intact, your brain cell membrane is responsible for critical functions like moving nutrients into your cells and releasing waste from them. Phosphatidylserine plays an essential role in maintaining the cell membranes in your brain as well as throughout your entire body. Taken in supplement form, it’s been shown to help boost cognitive function and slow down memory loss.

Study Found Phosphatidylserine Slowed Nerve Cell Death

The research team administered supplementation of phosphatidylserine to familial dysautonomia (FD) patients, a rare nervous system disease. The team noted that those who took the supplement experienced an improvement in gene function as well as increased levels of the protein IKAP. The same results then recurred is a second test in which the phosphatidylserine supplement was fed to mice with FD.

Next, the researchers tested whether the natural phosphatidylserine supplement could impact the genetic mutation that causes FD in mice. Research team leader, Professor Gil Ast told ScienceDaily, “We found a significant increase of the protein in all the tissues of the body,” including an eight-fold increase in the liver and 1.5-fold increase in the brain. “While the food supplement does not manufacture new nerve cells, it probably delays the death of existing ones.”

Can Phosphatidylserine Supplementation Prevent Parkinson’s?

Whereas most drugs are unable to break through the blood-brain barrier (and not to mention they come with a host of troublesome side effects), the study findings have shown that phosphatidylserine has this capability and can help improve brain conditions.

And not only did the researchers find that the supplement improved the functioning of genes linked to FD, they also concluded that the phosphatidylserine supplementation impacted the levels of 2,400 additional genes. Hundreds of these other genes would have been associated with Parkinson’s disease in prior research.

Professor Ast upholds that supplementing with phosphatidylserine may have the potential to leave a beneficial impact on various degenerative brain diseases in the future.

Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121511.htm

https://academic.oup.com/hmg/article/22/14/2785/752127

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16869708

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