Phosphatidylserine Vs Lecithin
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Although the terms phosphatidylserine and lecithin are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Phosphatidylserine is one of many phospholipids found in lecithin. Though they are closely related, there are far differences when it comes to the effects of phosphatidylserine vs lecithin on the human body.
In this article, we’ll be discussing phosphatidylserine vs lecithin mainly based on their properties and functions in the human body. But before we get into the in-depth discussion of phosphatidylserine vs lecithin, it’s important to learn what they are actually. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is phosphatidylserine?
- What is lecithin?
- Phosphatidylserine vs lecithin: properties and functions in the human body
- Final words
What is phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine, popularly known as PS, is a type of fatty substance called phospholipids. It’s a key component of the human cell membrane, especially in the brain. It covers and helps protect brain cells and facilitate carrying signals between them. It also has many other important functions in the body ranging from preventing age-related mental decline to increasing athletic performance to reducing stress and anxiety caused by increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands under stress.
The human body can naturally make phosphatidylserine within it, but most of its requirements are obtained from foods. Phosphatidylserine is found in various food sources including meat, fish, vegetables, and dairy products. Good amounts are found in bovine brain, chicken heart, Atlantic mackerel, white beans, carrot, potato, soybeans, cow’s milk as well as others.
Phosphatidylserine is also available as supplements. Multiple studies indicate that the level of this vital substance in the human body lowers with aging. PS supplements can be a great option for people with low levels of phosphatidylserine to fulfill the required daily amount.
What is lecithin?
Lecithin is not a single compound but rather a mixture of fatty substances that each and every cell in the human body needs to function properly. This yellow-brown mixture of fats is naturally found in many foods such as egg yolk, soybeans, nuts, rapeseeds, sunflower oil, cotton seeds, rapeseeds, and organ meats. But soybeans and egg yolks are considered primary sources. This is the main reason why most lecithin supplements are made from soybeans and are widely available as soy lecithin supplements.
Lecithin contains several phospholipid substances such as phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidic acid.
Lecithin is present throughout the human body including the human brain, lungs, bile, blood, as well as other cells and tissues. It plays an important role in many vital bodily functions ranging from transmitting nerve impulses to slowing down the process of cognitive decline associated with age.
Lecithin is also used as a popular food additive to emulsify various foods such as baking products. Furthermore, many people use it as a cooking spray for nonstick frying pans.
Phosphatidylserine vs lecithin: properties and functions in the human body
Phosphatidylserine is being widely studied for its effects on cognitive function, memory, mood regulation, and anti-aging. This is the most abundant type of phospholipid in the brain.
Studies have shown that phosphatidylserine has a strong potential to prevent age-related mental decline, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which is why it is mostly used to boost brain power and sharpen mind and memory.
In a 2010 randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in the Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, researchers have found that phosphatidylserine along with omega 3 fatty acids has the potential to improve memory performance in elderly people who have memory complaints but yet not developed dementia.
Apart from brain benefits, PS also plays an important role in blood coagulation. It accelerates the conversion process from prothrombin to thrombin, which acts as the key molecule in the clotting of blood.
PS is also used for improving anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD), and sleep disturbances.
(also read our article: Phosphatidylserine for ADHD)
Lecithin is more widespread in comparison to PS and the human body needs it for overall health and development. Since phosphatidylcholine, the major component of lecithin, is found abundant in the gastrointestinal mucus layer, it can protect the intestinal wall and liver as well as improve numerous gastrointestinal health issues such as inflammation in the colon (colitis) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).
Lecithin provides the key building block for cell membranes, meaning it has the ability to protect the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Lecithin has been shown to have noticeable hepatoprotective properties. Studies suggest it can protect the liver from various diseases including hepatitis and even alcohol-induced cirrhosis. This is the main reason why lecithin is mostly used to promote healthy liver function.
A 2012 review published in the Digestive Diseases (Basel, Switzerland) suggested that phosphatidylcholine, the major component of lecithin, found in the mucus layer plays an essential role in the protection against ulcerative colitis.
Apart from digesetive tract and liver benefits, lecithin and the phosphatidylcholine content it contains play a significant role in the growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy, particularly during the period of the third trimester.
Lastly, we should note that as phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid constituent of lecithin, the human body can synthesize phosphatidylserine from lecithin. But phosphatidylserine cannot be converted into lecithin any other way around.
When we raise the question of which supplement to choose from phosphatidylserine vs lecithin? It truly depends on the needs and health goals of consumers. If you want to improve liver function and overall digestive health, then lecithin supplements might be your best option to choose from. But if you are concerned about your brain performance and ability to recall things, then you should definitely consider choosing phosphatidylserine supplements.
Clinicians often recommend phosphatidylserine to people living with memory complaints, excess stress, ADHD, and sleep disturbances, while lecithin is most often used for promoting liver and digestive health. Consider consulting with a professional naturopathic medicine practitioner to determine which supplement would be the right for you.
Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural Phosphatidylserine 100 mg Vegan Capsules
Here you can see Vorst’s natural and Pure Lecithin Non-GMO 1200 mg Softgels