Phospholipids have an important biological function; they form the membrane of all biological cells. The most striking member in the phospholipid family is phosphatidylserine (PS), which is a functional constituent of brain membranes. PS is mostly found in brain cells and is involved in numerous functions of neuronal activity. PS also acts as a cofactor to numerous enzymes in the body. It is believed to play a role in cellular communication, reduce tissue responses to inflammation, function as an antioxidant and also increase exercise capacity 1,2. In recent years, phosphatidic acid (PA) is also thought to play an active role in membrane and neuronal processes.

Phosphatidylserine can play a vital role in supporting human cognitive functions as we age. The current treatment approaches are almost entirely based on alleviation of symptoms to improve the quality of life. In 2003, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized two qualified health claims for PS: the first stating that it may reduce the risk of “cognitive dysfunction” in the elderly and the second claiming to reduce the risk of “dementia” in the elderly.

Phospholipid content in almost all food products is relatively low. There is no Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for PS in the U.S., and the health claim does not identify specific intake quantities. However,  studies have shown that PS supplementation has nutritive value from 50mg to 300mg per day.

Prior to 1992, the only commercially available PS was derived from cow's brain (bovine cortex phosphatidylserine, BCPS). That year, Lipogen Ltd. (Israel) was the first to introduce soy lecithin PS. The enzymatic reaction process for the production of Lipogen PS utilizes cabbage enzyme instead of the optional bacterial enzyme. Last July, the FDA approved the GRAS notification of Lipogen PS patented product line.

“This is the first time that the FDA has approved a PS product as safe for food fortification,” says David Rutenberg, CEO at Lipogen. “Other PS ingredients available on the market are produced with bacterial enzymes, while Lipogen PS production complies with non-bacterial enzymatic process. This ‘green-light’ from FDA is a significant move for Lipogen, as it aims our non-bacterial PS ingredient into the functional foods and beverages marketplace.” It is vegetarian and kosher-certified and can be applied to various key category applications such as milk, yogurt products, breakfast cereals, biscuits, meal replacements, etc.

Lipogen continues clinical research of a new PS complex, which includes another member of the phospholipids family: phosphatidic acid (PA). A 2004 clinical study published in Stress: the International Journal on the Biology of Stress3, tested the effect of PS and PA under mental stress. The results provided initial evidence for a selective dampening effect of PS and PA in the physiological response to mental stress. NS


1 Kingsley M. 2006. Effects of phosphatidylserine supplementation on exercising humans. Sports Med.36:657-69

2 McDaniel MA, et al., 2003. “Brain-specific” nutrients: a memory cure? Nutrition. 19:957-75

3 Hellhammer J, et al., 2004. Effects of soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine complex (PAS) on the endocrine and psychological responses to mental stress. Stress. 7:119-26

For more information:
Lipogen Ltd. • Haifa, Israel
David Rutenberg • +972 544 522 355