Natural Supplement for Anxiety
One supplement which is gaining in popularity as a treatment for stress and anxiety is phosphatidylserine. Studies performed on participants of all ages and sexes have discovered that phosphatidylserine can give relief from depression and stress-related symptoms.
Scientists at the University of Milan did a small scale study on 10 women suffering from depression. All of the women were between the ages of 70 and 81 years. The researchers administered 300 mg. of phosphatidylserine every day for a period of 30 days, after the women had first received a 15 day course of a placebo.
The researchers found that phosphatidylserine helped the brain put out more noradrenaline, dopamine, acetylcholine, and glucose. Using clinical observation as well as the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) as guidelines, the researchers discovered that treatment with phosphatidylserine caused a significant drop in anxiety levels and an increase in socialization and interests. An improvement was also seen in long-term memory and learning.
Dulled Stress Response
Another Italian study, this time at the University of Naples, found that high doses of phosphatidylserine given over a brief time span caused neuroendocrine responses to physical stress in men, which manifests in a positive effect on mood. This study had 9 healthy young men taking 800 mg. daily of phosphatidylserine for a period of 10 days. Blood samples revealed that the supplement dulled stress hormone responses to exercise, for instance, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol, but without the expected concurrent rise in plasma growth hormone and prolactin.
The conclusion of the study authors is that chronic oral administration of phosphatidylserine can stop stress from triggering the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPAA) axis in men. This trio of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands is responsible for our responses to stress of all types. However, HPAA suffers a decline in later years and this may cause some dysfunction, which in turn, can affect mood.
The same research team earlier showed that phosphatidylserine can counteract the body's response to physical stress and is demonstrated by a significant reduction in stress hormones. This study subjected 8 healthy men to three experiments involving a bicycle ergometer. Ten minutes prior to exercising on the bike, the subjects received 50-75 mg. of phosphatidylserine or a placebo. Blood samples were taken both before and after the experiment and the participants were tested for plasma epinephrine, dopamine, adrenocorticotropin, norepinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin, and glucose levels. The participants were also tested for blood pressure and heart rate.
It was shown that physical stress increased plasma epinephrine, adrenocorticotropin, norepinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone, and prolactin, but did not affect dopamine or glucose levels. There was a clear link between a decrease in the physical stress response and the administration of phosphatidylserine prior to exertion.
Psychologists at the University of Wales decided to expand on the role of cortisol response and mood by examining how stressful feelings and heart rate changed with phosphatidylserine supplementation. Participants in this study were young healthy adults who suffered from neurosis. The subjects took 300 mg. of phosphatidylserine daily for a month and were then required to perform a stressful mental math task. In spite of the stress of the mental task, the participants reported mood improvement and a decrease in stress.
The main debate among researchers relates to the best source for phosphatidylserine: soybean lecithin or bovine cortex. While the latter may be more effective, concerns about mad cow disease has made the possible slight difference in effectiveness a debatable point. Today, you will find only the soybean based supplement on the market.