Athletes are always on the look-out for some kind of supplement, food or drink that can boost them or help them positively in their respective activities. Quite recently research on a natural compound which is called Phosphatidylserine is proving to be captivating.
What is Phosphatidylserine?
Phosphatidylserine or PS is a natural compound which is found in foods like fish, green vegetable, rice as well as soybeans. It is also needed for all mammalian cell functions. Also in us humans it can be found in large concentrations in cell membranes like the brain, liver, heart or skeletal muscles which involve high metabolic activities. Basically PS is a big phospholipid molecule which consists of serine which is an amino acid and is related to a diglyceride through a phosphate link. The chemical as well as physical properties of phospholipid molecules are combined so as to be able to form cell membranes which are needed for making a boundary around the cells and also for the movement of substances.
Recent studies show that PS is concerned with cell functions related to membranes, also in the way the cells are in communication as well as the way in which hormones are released or the way in which the tissues react to certain processes like inflammation.
Athletes would surely find the recent studies more interesting. In the 90s it was found that PS supplements seemed to improve better brain function in healthy individuals who had no signs of cognitive impairment or decline. Particularly it was interesting to see the effect of PS on the discharge stress hormones like cortisol after exercise.
A study in 1990 did an examination of 8 healthy untrained men. 50 or 75 mgs of PS was administered and the release of stress hormones before a cycling round was studied. It was seen after the cycling the cortisol release was significantly weakened.
Several years later, the effects of PS supplements on a long term were studied on the cortisol production following rigorous long distance running. It was found that PS not only decreased the release of cortisol after the training, but it also caused lesser muscle soreness.
Advice for athletes-
So far, several studies have given the conclusion that PS is totally safe. There seem to be only benefits seen so far. It facilitates better mental sharpness and lesser levels of circulating stress hormones. The only disadvantage seems to be the cost. It would certainly be a good idea for athletes and coaches interested in long distance running to give it a try.
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