Research review shows a benefit for phospholipids supplementation and physical performance

August 21, 2007

Phosphatidylserine (PS) and Phosphatidylcholine (PC) are referred to as phospholipids and they are required for healthy cell function and a normal cell structure. Physical activity challenges many of our physiological systems and consequently, the ability to maintain normal cell function during activity can determine your level of physical performance during sporting activities.

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that carries messages between the nerves and muscles allowing muscles to contract (in the brain this same neurotransmitter is important for learning and memory). The B-complex vitamin Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine and participating in prolonged intense exercise has been shown to decrease circulating choline concentrations.

Acute oral supplementation with PC has been shown to improve performance in a variety of sports where exercise has depleted the level of Choline. PS may have even a wider range of benefits. PS supplementation has been shown to lessen the level of exercise induced cortisol release. Reducing these circulating cortisol levels helps protect immune system function and lowers the risk of infection by a cold or flu virus; something that otherwise commonly occurs in endurance athletes. PS supplementation also improves an athlete's sense of well-being, and reduces post exercise muscle soreness. More recently, supplementing with PS has been shown to increase exercise performance capacity during high intensity cycling and tended to increase performance in runners during intermittent running. The study is published in the July 25th, 2007 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.; several studies have shown that acute supplementation with PC before endurance events can prevent depletion of Choline possibly improving performance and warding off muscle fatigue. These studies were performed in marathon runners and triathletes. Over-training and endurance exercise can boost levels of the stress hormone cortisol and several studies have shown that supplementation with PS can suppress cortisol surges, and may help prevent muscle soreness. PS eases mental stress and also improves focus. Other important nutrients for endurance and recreational athletes include L-Carnosine, Creatine Monohydrate, GliSODin, L-Carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, NAC, Grape Seed, Vitamin D, and a good Multiple-Vitamin, Mineral supplement. Adequate hydration, restoring electrolytes, consuming protein containing foods such as dairy, fish, and fowl or some other way of obtaining adequate protein are all a must.