We have become very “fat-phobic” in our society. Since 1991, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture had their own guidelines on what Americans should eat to solve the nations weight problem. The food pyramid at that time had a broad base in the grain and carbohydrate group, and narrowed upward to fewer vegetables and fruits, less meat and dairy and trace amounts of fats and oils. As we know, these guidelines not only added to the obesity problem, but also raised our risk for heart disease and diabetes.
We now know there is such a thing as “good” fats. This includes not only good fats in certain oils, nuts and avocados, but also extends to healthy fats in supplement form. I encourage we get all of our nutrients through whole foods, but there are times when a supplement has more to give besides a vitamin/mineral content and calories.
One fat that I recommend for many patients is phosphatidylserine (PS).
This fat facilitates communication among brain cells to help with memory and cognitive function. The highest concentration in our body is found in the brain’s cell membranes. As we age, our supply naturally declines and can result in memory problems, less aptitude for learning new information, and difficulty concentrating. PS can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory and reduce stress. As baby boomers are aging (average age now is 60!), they are concerned about having the ability to keep up with new information and avoid the effects of dementia and memory problems they may have seen with their parents.
Some studies have shown that PS can lift mood in the elderly and decrease depression and anxiety. It has also been shown to slow the release of the stress hormone cortisol during times of anxiety. So it helps support adrenal function as well.
I recommend 100mg three times per day. There are no known safety concerns or medication interactions. Be aware that PS is soy-derived so if you have an allergy to soy, you need to avoid it. To help your body produce more PS, make sure you get plenty of B12, folic acid and essential fatty acids in your diet. Small amounts can be found in soy, rice, egg yolks, and green leafy vegetables.