Research on Product

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 is known to enhance alertness, cognition, energy, hearing, vision, elevate mood, lower anxiety and normalize healthy cholesterol levels

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is one of 8 B-vitamins. B5 is water-soluble and found in every single cell in your body.


Vitamin B5 is essential for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh). Adequate levels of ACh can boost focus, memory, learning, and reduce brain fog

Vitamin B5 is critical for converting nutrients from food into energy, balancing blood sugar, reducing LDL-(bad)

cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, preventing nerve damage and pain, and preventing heart failure. 

Vitamin B5 plays a part in the synthesis and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Turning them into energy that your brain uses to fire neurotransmitters in your brain.


Vitamin B5 is required for the manufacture of red blood cells, and the stress and sex hormones produced in your adrenal glands.

As a nootropic, Vitamin B5 is crucial for converting the choline in your nootropic stack into acetylcholine (ACh). Without adequate levels of B5 you will not experience the benefits of using precursors to ACh like Alpha GPC and CDP-Choline.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps:

  • Brain Optimization: Pantothenic acid is at the heart of the KREBs cycle and electron transport chain which helps convert nutrients from food into energy which is used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel source within each of your cells. More energy increases mental clarity, alertness, memory and mood.
  • Neurotransmitters: Pantothenic acid as part of Coenzyme-A (CoA) is involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, epinephrine, and serotonin. Affecting alertness, cognition, memory and mood.
  • MoodPantothenic acid is often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin”. Your adrenal glands use CoA (made partly from pantothenic acid) along with cholesterol and Vitamin C to manufacture cortisol and epinephrine. Vitamin B5 has a reputation for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is one of 8 water-soluble B-vitamins that are absolutely vital to the highly optimized brain. And is essential to all forms of life.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 is found in every cell in your body including your brain. The name Pantothenic is derived from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere”. Reflecting the idea that small amounts of pantothenic acid can be found in nearly every food.

Foods rich in pantothenic acid include animal organs (liver and kidney), fish, shellfish, milk products, eggs, avocados, legumes, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. Avocados contain the highest amount of pantothenic acid among commonly consumed foods, with one avocado containing about 2 mg.

Pantothenic Acid is a precursor in the biosynthesis of Coenzyme-A (CoA)CoAis an essential enzyme in a variety of chemical reactions that sustain life.

CoA as Acetyl-CoA is required for generating energy from fat, carbohydrates and proteins. This energy in the form of glucose is the fuel source for each cell.

Acetyl-CoA is also involved in the citric acid cycle (KREBs), in the synthesis of essential fats, cholesterol, steroid hormones, vitamins A and D, and the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (ACh) and serotonin.

Coenzyme A derivatives are also required for the synthesis of melatonin which controls your circadian rhythm and sleep/awake cycle. And for the metabolism of drugs and toxins in your liver.

How does Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) work in the Brain?

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

. Vitamin B5 increases energy. Pantothenic acid is an essential coenzymeinvolved in mitochondrial aerobic respiration. Vitamin B5’s role in the citric acid cycle (KREBs) and electron transport chain helps convert nutrients from food into energy which is used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel source within each of your cells.

Pantothenic acid takes part in the synthesis of Acetyl-CoA which is at the heart of the KREBs cycle. Acetyl-CoA in your brain is also involved in the synthesis of cholesterol, amino acids, phospholipids, and fatty acids.

CoA is also involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters acetylcholineand serotonin, and steroid hormones. User reviews of those supplementing with pantothenic acid claim to having more energy. This boost in energy comes from this long series of events stemming from pantothenic acid.[i]

. Vitamin B5 helps reduces stressPantothenic acid is often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin”. Your adrenal glands use CoA (made partly from pantothenic acid) along with cholesterol and Vitamin C to manufacture cortisol and epinephrine.

When cortisol levels are low, your ability to cope and respond to stress is compromised. And if your cortisol levels are abnormally high (a common problem), your body’s reserve of pantethine (the active form of pantothenic acid) needs to be replenished in order to sustain good adrenal function.[ii]

Vitamin B5 has a reputation for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

How things go bad

Chronic stress, anxiety and lower acetylcholine levels can damage your brain. This damage can manifest in several ways including memory loss, brain fog, anxiety, depression, and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

↓ Acetylcholine synthesis declines
↓ Concentration, memory, learning, and recall decline
↑ LDL-cholesterol (bad) and triglycerides increase
↓ HDL-cholesterol (good) levels decline
↓ Wound healing takes longer
↓ Energy levels decline
↑ Numbness, tingling, burning sensations, shooting pain in the feet increase

Vitamin B5 supplementation can help increase acetylcholine, epinephrine and serotonin levels in your brain. This helps modulate cortisol levels produced in your adrenal glands. Helping you to cope with stress and lessen depression.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) to the rescue

When you take Vitamin B5 as a supplement, it is converted to pantethine. Pantethine is a more stable disulfide (double bonded) form of pantothenic acid.

It is this active form of pantothenic acid that is converted into the enzyme Coenzyme-A (CoA). CoA plays a critical role in the metabolism and breakdown of the three essential micronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

CoA is a cofactor in more than 70 enzymatic pathways including:

•  Amino acid catabolism
•  Acetylcholine synthesis
•  Carbohydrate metabolism
•  Fatty acid oxidation
•  Heme synthesis
•  Pyruvate degradation
•  Phase II detox acetylation

CoA is also involved in the initial steps of cholesterol synthesis and all the downstream metabolites of cholesterol including steroid, Vitamin D and bile acids.

CoA helps break down the carbon skeleton of amino acids which are metabolized to pyruvate and enter the KREBs cycle. This cycle is crucial to ATPsynthesis which fuels your mitochondria.

CoA directs acetyl groups to form ubiquinone (CoQ10), squalene and cholesterol. You also need CoA for the transport of long chain fatty acids into mitochondria where fats are converted into energy.

The bottom-line is CoA is behind the production of hemoglobin, bile, sex and adrenal hormones (steroids), cholesterol and the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin in your brain.

How does Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) feel?

Vitamin B5 is water-soluble, and has been shown to improve mood, energy and cognition.

People who supplement with pantothenic acid report being wonderfully optimistic, energetic and mentally sharp.

People report Vitamin B5 helps them focus better, they feel a profound increase in energy and concentration improves.

Many people dealing with acne find their skin looks great. Acne is cleared within a few days to a few weeks of supplementing with pantothenic acid.

Men and women find that supplementing with Vitamin B5 helps prevent hair loss. And if taken early enough may even help avoid hair turning prematurely gray.

Some People report that pantothenic acid helps improve vision and hearing.

The Research

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) reduces Acne

100 people of Chinese descent (45 males and 55 females) aged 10 – 30 years with severe acne were treated with high-dose pantothenic acid. A total of 10 grams per day were given in 4 divided doses.

Participants were also asked to apply a cream to affected areas 4 – 6 times per day. The cream contained 20% pantothenic acid.

Their face became noticeably less oily within 3 days of starting therapy. Within 2 weeks, facial pore size became smaller and acne lesions began to heal. And the rate of new acne eruptions had slowed.

By 8 weeks, acne was usually controlled. Most acne lesions were gone and new eruptions occurred only occasionally. The participants with severe acne required 6 months of treatment to control acne.

The author of the study noted that in some of the severe cases, daily doses of 15 – 20 grams of pantothenic acid would produce a faster response. 35 patients were monitored for 18 months; the maintenance dose needed to control acne ranged from 1 – 5 grams per day of pantothenic acid.[iii]

Vitamin B5 (Pantethine) to decrease LDL-Cholesterol

User reviews consistently show success with lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and raising HDL-cholesterol by supplementing with Vitamin B5 (Pantethine).

The National University of Health Sciences in Illinois conducted an evaluation of clinical trials from 1966 to 2002 for studies using the pantethine version of Vitamin B5 to improve cholesterol.

28 clinical trials with a pooled population of 646 ‘hyperlipidemic’ subjects were evaluated. Mean age of participants were 52.8 years. Average study length was 12.7 weeks with an average dosage of 900 mg per day of pantethine.

The mean decrease of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) was 10 – 20%. The mean decrease of triglycerides was 14 – 33%. And the mean increase of HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) was 4 – 11%.

The researchers concluded that “pantothenic acid was an effective therapeutic option in treating patient populations with total serum cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dL, and/or serum triacylglycerol levels greater than 150 mg/dL.

The team noted that the full benefit of pantethine may not be attained until at least 4 months from beginning supplementation. And that pantethine is a well-tolerated therapeutic agent that deserves much more attention than it has recently received.[iv]

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) increases Longevity

Vitamin B5 is believed to extend life span. But research in humans for obvious reasons has been difficult. Humans live longer than most mammals. And tracking human subjects for life would be prohibitively expensive.

So, animal research is the next best thing. A team in Austin gave 33 young male and female mice 300 mg of calcium pantothenate daily in drinking water. Forty-one control mice did not receive the vitamin supplement.

The mean life span for mice who received calcium pantothenate was 653.1 days. And for the control mice life span was 549.8 days. The mice using Vitamin B5 lived 19% longer.[v]

Royal jelly has long been used as a longevity supplement. And some of the science backs this up.
 Pantothenic acid is the primary anti-aging factor isolated from royal jelly.

The combination of pyridoxine, biotin and sodium yeast nucleate extended the lifespan of the common fruit fly. And the addition of pantothenic acid further increased life span.[vi]

Seems that supplementing with pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) will help you live longer.

Dosage Notes

If you are using an acetylcholine (ACh) precursor like Alpha GPC or CDP-Cholinein your nootropic stack, you should be using Vitamin B5. B5 is needed to make Coenzyme-A (CoA). CoA and choline are needed to synthesize acetylcholine.

The recommended dosage of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is a one-to-two ratio with a choline supplement. For example, 250 mg of Vitamin B5 with 500 mg of CDP-Choline.

If you don’t get enough Vitamin B5, you may not notice significant improvements when supplementing with your preferred choline source.

Pantothenic Acid or Pantethine is generally well tolerated in doses up to 1,200 mg/day. Some People report doses above 1,000 mg can induce gastrointestinal side effects like nausea or heartburn.

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) containing estrogen and progestin may increase the requirement for additional pantothenic acid.

Use of Pantothenic Acid in combination with cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) or with Vitamin B3 (niacin or nicotinic acid) may produce additive effects on blood lipids. So be careful because you could lower LDL-cholesterol to unhealthy levels.

Side Effects

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is non-toxic. So is considered well-tolerated and safe.

If you are taking the antibiotic tetracycline, you should avoid using extra Vitamin B5 because it could negate the effects of tetracycline.

Available Forms

When choosing a Vitamin B5 supplement, your basic choice is between Pantethine or Pantothenic Acid.

Pantethine is by far the more active choice when it comes to producing CoA. And this is backed up by many clinical trials. Researchers have pointed out that Pantethine creates twice as much CoA compared to Pantothenic Acid.

However, Pantothenic acid does have its benefits. It enhances adrenal function and modulates inflammation. If you can, find a supplement that combines both.

Vitamin B5 supplement labels will show pantothenic acid as “Calcium” or “sodium D-pantothenate” which is used for treating stress, migraines and allergies.

Pantethine is mainly recommended for lowering blood cholesterol levels. And pantethine is better for stacking with a choline supplement because it creates more CoA than other forms of pantothenic acid.

Pantothenol (panthenol) is a stable alcohol analog of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which can be rapidly converted to pantothenic acid by humans.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 10 mg per day

We recommend using Vitamin B5 as a complimentary nootropic supplement.

Your body does not make Vitamin B5 on its own. So to get its benefits you must get it from food, or take it as a supplement.

Vitamin B5 is especially helpful for those suffering from low energy levels, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

Experience shows Vitamin B5 helps stop and reverse the symptoms associated with high cholesterol levels. B5 will lower ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides as well as raise ‘good” HDL-cholesterol.

Vitamin B5 is also particularly helpful to students and executives who want to boost cognition, learning and memory. Because it raises acetylcholine levels in your brain.

Vitamin B5 can produce a noticeable increase in mental clarity. And give you a significant energy boost physically and mentally. You’ll feel more awake and alert. Without the side effects you’d get from stimulants like caffeine.

Vitamin B5 is a must have addition for any nootropic stack. If you are using any of the racetams like Piracetam and Aniracetam and are using a cholinesupplement to raise acetylcholine levels, you absolutely need extra pantothenic acid.

The recommended dosage of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is a one-to-two ratio with a choline supplement. For example, 250 mg of Vitamin B5 with 500 mg of CDP-Choline.

[i] Rucker R.B., Bauerly K. “Pantothenic acid”. In: Zempleni J., Suttie J.W., Gregory J.F. III, Stover P.J., editors. Handbook of Vitamins. 5th ed. CRC Press; Boca Raton, FL, USA: 2013

[ii] Tahiliani A.G., Beinlich C.J. “Pantothenic acid in health and disease.” Vitamins and Hormones. 1991;46:165-228. (source)

[iii] Leung L.H. “Pantothenic acid deficiency as the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.” Medical Hypotheses. 1995 Jun;44(6):490-2. (source)

[iv] McRae M.P. “Treatment of hyperlipoproteinemia with pantethine: A review and analysis of efficacy and tolerability” Nutrition Research April 2005 Volume 25, Issue 4, Pages 319–333 (source)

[v] Pelton R.B., Williams R.J. “Effect of Pantothenic Acid on the Longevity of Mice” Experimental Biology and Medicine 2016 (source)

[vi] Honda Y. et. Al. “Lifespan-Extending Effects of Royal Jelly and Its Related Substances on the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans” PLoS One 2011; 6(8): e23527. (source)


L-Carnitine may reverse age-related cognitive decline, and improve memory.

L-Carnitine (ALCAR, ALC or LAC) is a derivative of the amino acids lysineand methionine.

L-Carnitine is naturally made in your liver and kidneys. And then transported to other tissues including your brain and heart.

L-Carnitine helps:

•  Brain Energy Metabolism. L-Carnitine helps transport of fatty acids into mitochondria where they’re needed for energy metabolism. Fueling your cells “power plants” can boost physical and mental energy.

•  Neurotransmitters. L-Carnitine is a necessary ingredient for acetylcholine formation. Which boosts memory, mental alertness, and fluid thought.

•  Brain Optimization. The antioxidant properties of Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ACAR) provides neuroprotective qualities, boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and promotes cerebral blood circulation.


L-Carnitine is an amino acid that’s synthesized in your body. You also get it from red meat and dairy.

L-Carnitine is considered a “conditionally essential” nutrient because when your body uses it faster than it can produce it, you need supplemental L-Carnitine either from food or a supplement.

L-Carnitine is used throughout your body.

L-Carnitine: Provides energy for the mitochondria of your cells. Supplemental L-Carnitine is difficult for your body to absorb; only 18% of it reaches your bloodstream.


L-Carnitine is favored by athletes and dieters who want Carnitine’s fat-metabolizing benefits. But are not seeking any brain benefits.

How does Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ACAR) Work in the Brain?

Acetyl-L-Carnitine boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

1 . ALCAR boosts acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter tied to memory and overall brain function. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a precursor to acetylcholine in the presence of Coenzyme-A.

ALCAR donates a “methyl group” to make acetylcholine.[iii]

Alzheimer’s-diseased brains show a 25% to 40% reduction in carnitine acetyltransferase, a brain enzyme that works with L-Carnitine.

This brain enzyme decline led researchers to link low ALCAR with low acetylcholine, and Alzheimer’s onset. They went on to suggest ALCAR as a viable therapy for brain regeneration.[iv]

2 . ALCAR promotes brain energy by fueling your brain cell’s mitochondria.[v]

ALCAR works as a shuttle transport for fatty acids through cell membranes. Right to the cell powerplant mitochondria.[vi]

•  As ALCAR shuttles fatty acids into mitochondria, it provides the fuel that is burned for energy.

•  As ALCAR shuttles fatty acids out of mitochondria, it flushes out toxic byproducts.

ALCAR maintains mitochondria in nearly every cell of your body. Your brain consumes at least 20% of your body’s energy. And generates a lot of toxic byproducts. So ALCAR is particularly important for a healthy brain.

How things go bad:

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes.[vii]

↓ Nerve growth factor in the brain declines
↓ Acetyl-L-Carnitine levels decline
↓ Acetylcholine levels decline
↓ Mitochondria loses efficiency

All of these age-related changes are contributing factors to the neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

ALCAR to the rescue.

Research from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University shows that Acetyl-L-Carnitine will:[viii]

•  Restore efficient mitochondrial energy production
•  Replenish age-related changes to mitochondrial structure
•  Replenish ALCAR and acetylcholine levels in the brain and body

ALCAR’s has the ability to boost acetylcholine and rejuvenate brain cells (including mitochondria). This has been proven to benefit those with age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and major depression.[ix]

How does Acetyl-L-Carnitine feel?

You may not feel ALCAR… unless you’re elderly or have Erectile Dysfunction. Within those specific groups, Acetyl-L-Carnitine helps with memory, mood, mental performance and the ability to get and maintain an erection.

ALCAR’s brain support and its ability to fuel the mitochondria in your brain cells should boost cognition in all age and gender groups.

As a nootropic, ALCAR user reviews report a boost in energy and quick thinking.

The Research

In one study, researchers showed that ALCAR may have positive effects for depression and dementia.[x]

Another study out of Italy; researchers showed that Acetyl-L-Carnitine stimulated the growth of new neurites. More of these minute projections from nerve cell bodies meant increased signaling between cells throughout the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).[xi]

ALCAR helps with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

A gold-standard double-blind, randomized controlled trial on 1,204 people showed significant effect on attention, mental performance, memory and higher mental functions.[xii]

In this study ALCAR seemed to ward off further brain deterioration. And could be considered as therapy for brain degeneration.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine slows rate of cognitive decline

130 Alzheimer’s patients were given ALCAR or a placebo daily for a year. They were tested across 14 points of cognitive performance.

This research showed a slower decline in cognitive performance with the ALCAR group compared to the placebo group.[xiii]

ALCAR effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been shown to improve fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

In a randomized, double-blind, crossover study; 36 people were treated for 3 months with either amantadine (used to treat Chronic Fatigue), or 1 gram of ALCAR twice daily.

The results of the study showed that ALCAR was better tolerated and more effective than the pharmaceutical for fatigue.[xiv]

Acetyl-L-Carnitine protects from oxidative damage of Ecstasy (MDMA)

Research has shown ALCAR to be effective in protecting your mitochondria from oxidative stress. But these guys took it a step further.

Male rats were given Acetyl-L-Carnitine before a dose of Ecstasy (MDMA). ALCAR pretreatment “exerts effective neuroprotection against MDMA-induced neurotoxicity at the mitochondrial level”, said the researchers.[xv]

ALCAR for Erectile Dysfunction?
In this study, 120 patients were split into 3 groups. Group 1 was given 160 mg of testosterone per day. The 2nd group was given 2 grams of Propionyl-L-Carnitine plus 2 grams of Acetyl-L-Carnitine per day. And the 3rd group a placebo.

Did you know that there’s an International Index of Erectile Function?

Turns out the Propionyl-L-Carnitine/Acetyl-L-Carnitine stack was better than testosterone for erectile dysfunction. Without the side effects of an enlarged prostate, better orgasms, more sexual desire and improved mood.[xvi]

Dosage Notes

•  Acetyl-L-Carnitine suggested dosage for cognitive benefits is 1 – 4 grams per day.
•  For improved mood and elimination of chronic fatigue, 1 – 3 grams of ALCAR per day.
•  For age-related memory concerns, 1 – 2 grams of ALCAR per day.

ALCAR is water-soluble and can be taken on an empty stomach with water. A few supplement manufacturers recommend taking their Acetyl-L-Carnitine with a meal. Which implies that it’s fat-soluble for which I’ve found no evidence in the scientific literature.

Side Effects

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is produced naturally in your body. So is considered well-tolerated and safe.

Side effects are rare but can include nausea, vomiting, increased agitation, weight loss, and restlessness.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 – 1,500 mg per day

Your body does synthesize some ALCAR on its own. And from the food you eat. But most Acetyl-L-Carnitine comes from red meat. And unless you eat a lot of great quality grass-fed beef or mutton.

ALCAR is especially helpful for those suffering from age-related cognitive decline. Studies show it helps stop or reverse brain degeneration with Alzheimer’s Disease, and depressive disorders. Particularly in the early stages of the disease.


[i] Rebouche C.J. “Kinetics, pharmacokinetics, and regulation of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine metabolism.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences2004 Nov;1033:30-41. (source)

[ii] Liu J., Head E., Kuratsune H., Cotman C.W., Ames B.N. “Comparison of the effects of L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine on carnitine levels, ambulatory activity, and oxidative stress biomarkers in the brain of old rats.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences2004 Nov;1033:117-31. (source)

[iii] White H.L., Scates P.W. “Acetyl-L-carnitine as a precursor of acetylcholine.” Neurochemical Research 1990 Jun;15(6):597-601. (source)

[iv] Kalaria R.N., Harik S.I. “Carnitine acetyltransferase activity in the human brain and its microvessels is decreased in Alzheimer’s disease.”Annals of Neurology 1992 Oct;32(4):583-6. (source)

[v] Berg J.M., Tymoczko J.L., Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. (source)

[vi] Berg J.M., Tymoczko J.L., Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. (source)

[vii] Costell M., O’Connor J.E., Grisolía S. “Age-dependent decrease of carnitine content in muscle of mice and humans.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 1989 Jun 30;161(3):1135-43. (source)

[viii] Gomez L.A., Heath S.D., Hagen T.M. “Acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation reverses the age-related decline in carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) activity in interfibrillar mitochondria without changing the L-carnitine content in the rat heart” Mechanics of Aging Development 2012 Feb-Mar; 133(0): 99–106. (source)

[ix] Pettegrew J.W., Levine J., McClure R.J. “Acetyl-L-carnitine physical-chemical, metabolic, and therapeutic properties: relevance for its mode of action in Alzheimer’s disease and geriatric depression.” Molecular Psychiatry2000 Nov;5(6):616-32. (source)

[x] Ferrari F., Gorini A., Villa R.F. “Functional proteomics of synaptic plasma membrane ATP-ases of rat hippocampus: effect of l-acetylcarnitine and relationships with Dementia and Depression pathophysiology.” European Journal of Pharmacology 2015 Jun 5;756:67-74. (source)

[xi] Taglialatela G., Navarra D., Olivi A., Ramacci M.T., Werrbach-Perez K., Perez-Polo J.R., Angelucci L. “Neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells stimulated by acetyl-L-carnitine arginine amide.” Neurochemical Research 1995 Jan;20(1):1-9. (source)

[xii] Montgomery S.A., Thal L.J., Amrein R. “Meta-analysis of double blind randomized controlled clinical trials of acetyl-L-carnitine versus placebo in the treatment of mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease” International Clinical Psychopharmacology 2003 Mar;18(2):61-71. (source)

[xiii] Spagnoli A. et. Al. “Long-term acetyl-L-carnitine treatment in Alzheimer’s disease.” Neurology. 1991 Nov;41(11):1726-32. (source)

[xiv] Tomassini V., Pozzilli C., Onesti E., Pasqualetti P., Marinelli F., Pisani A., Fieschi C. “Comparison of the effects of acetyl L-carnitine and amantadine for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: results of a pilot, randomized, double-blind, crossover trial.” Journal of Neurological Science 2004 Mar 15;218(1-2):103-8. (source)

[xv] Alves E. et. Al “Acetyl-l-carnitine provides effective in vivo neuroprotection over 3,4-methylenedioximethamphetamine-induced mitochondrial neurotoxicity in the adolescent rat brain” Cellular Neuroscience Volume 158, Issue 2, 23 January 2009, Pages 514–523 (source)

[xvi] Cavallini G., Caracciolo S., Vitali G., Modenini F., Biagiotti G. “Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging.”Urology 2004 Apr;63(4):641-6. (source)

[xvii] Liu J., Head E., Gharib A.M., Yuan W., Ingersoll R.T., Hagen T.M., Cotman C.W., Ames B.N. “Memory loss in old rats is associated with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: partial reversal by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-alpha -lipoic acid.” Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2356-61. (source)


DMAE has been shown to boost alertness, focus, memory, and mental clarity.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol, Deanol, Deaner) has two methyl groups and is structurally similar to choline, which is a direct precursor to acetylcholine (ACh).

ACh is a critical neurotransmitter that influences everything from memory to muscle control. And it is the relationship ACh has with DMAE that generates most of the hype around DMAE as a nootropic.

But it turns out that DMAE is NOT a precursor to acetylcholine as reported on many nootropic and brain optimization sites. However, many people report that supplementing with DMAE has worked wonders for their brain.

So here we’ll try to clear up some of the confusion and misinformation surrounding DMAE as a nootropic supplement.

And, if adding DMAE to your stack makes sense.

DMAE helps:

•  Neuroprotection. DMAE helps eliminate lipofuscin and free radicals from brain cells.
•  Neurotransmitters. DMAE prevents choline uptake by cells forcing more free choline to be available in your system. And DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors that may promote synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain.
•  Mood. DMAE supplementation may improve mood and energy while influencing sleep patterns.


DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol, Deanol, Deaner) is an amine naturally produced in small amounts in your brain. High levels of DMAE are also found in seafood like anchovies and sardines.


Researchers have speculated that DMAE may increase acetylcholine (ACh)levels in the brain by inhibiting choline metabolism in peripheral tissues.

By preventing the use of choline by other tissues (including synthesis into acetylcholine), DMAE increases choline levels in the bloodstream.[i]

Once DMAE crosses the blood-brain barrier, it increases choline levels in the brain. So with higher choline levels present, you would expect elevated levels of acetylcholine (ACh).

But research has shown this is not always what happens when DMAE gets to your brain. In one study DMAE was rapidly taken into the brain. But when it reached synapses – nothing happened. Choline levels rose but did not convert into acetylcholine.[ii]

What’s going on here? First, we must look at how acetylcholine (ACh) is made. ACh is synthesized in a single step reaction catalyzed by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT).[iii]

The rate-limiting steps in ACh synthesis are the availability of choline and Acetyl Coenzyme A (Acetyl-CoA).

The only other source of acetylcholine (ACh) is synthetization from phosphatidylcholine (PC) via phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT).[iv] And this ACh synthesis only happens in cholinergic receptors.

So it would appear that DMAE cannot be converted to either choline or ACh. The only way DMAE can increase choline is by inhibiting choline metabolism.

And the reason why choline levels rise in the brain when supplementing with DMAE is because the choline does not synthesize into acetylcholine (ACh).[v]

So why do some people experience a benefit in increased focus, clearer cognition, and even an antidepressant effect with DMAE? It could be that DMAE stimulates cholinergic receptors into taking action.[vi] And with extra choline floating around because of DMAE, these neuroreceptors may decide to produce some extra ACh.[vii]

DMAE may be useful to those dealing with a choline deficiency in the brain. And studies show that DMAE effectiveness in the brain depends on the health of the cholinergic system in your brain.[viii]

How does DMAE Work in the Brain?

DMAE boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

1 . DMAE is a neuroprotectant. Lipofuscin is a cellular waste product that accumulates in brain cells as we age. It’s the same waste product that causes brown spots on skin. Lipofuscin hides in cells throughout your body including your brain, eyes, liver, kidneys, heart, adrenals and nerve cells (neurons).

People often report that supplementing with DMAE produces enhanced vision. This vision effect may be DMAE’s ability to help remove waste like lipofuscin from cells that affect vision.

This lipofuscin removal mechanism of action by DMAE has been shown in animal studies in the lab. Researchers used Centrophenoxine injections on 17-month old female mice. The animals were injected daily for 3 months.

The researchers studied changes in pigment layers of the retina of both eyes in the mice. And found there was significant reduction of lipofuscin pigment in the treated animals.[ix]

Centrophenoxine breaks down into DMAE once in your body. And it is the DMAE in this nootropic that provides the lipofuscin scavenger affects.

2 . DMAE enhances attention and mood. DMAE has been reported by some people to improve vigilance, attention, mood and energy while alleviating depression. A study by German researchers may explain where this feeling of well-being comes from when supplementing with DMAE.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial used 80 human subjects evenly split between male and female. The study analyzed their brain’s electrical reaction during presentation of five 7-minute video clips followed by a 3-minute pause for each. This procedure was repeated after 6 and 12 weeks of daily intake of DMAE or a placebo. The subjects taking DMAE for 3 months developed significantly less theta and alpha brain waves.

Decreases in theta and alpha brain waves have been associated with increased vigilance and attention. The subjects using DMAE were also more active and felt better.

The researchers concluded that DMAE can induce a state of better feeling of well-being.[x]

How things go bad

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes.

↓ Concentration, working memory and executive function decline
↓ Cholinergic receptors degenerate
↓ DMAE levels decline
↑ Lipofuscin and free radicals build up in brain cells

All of these age-related changes could be influenced by declining DMAE levels, and are contributing factors to neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

DMAE levels are an inevitable consequence of aging. And may contribute to the onset of degenerative disease.

DMAE to the rescue

DMAE increases choline levels in your brain. This increase in choline and DMAE’s ability to stimulate cholinergic receptors into action may lead to an increase in acetylcholine (ACh) levels.

But DMAE does not directly elevate acetylcholine levels in the brain. DMAE is NOT a precursor to acetylcholine.[xi]

Increased ACh levels affect learning and memory. ACh helps the encoding of memories and your ability to concentrate. As people, we absolutely want to increase acetylcholine levels. Especially if our brain is low on ACh.

But DMAE is not the best way to achieve the goal of elevated ACh levels.

Research into DMAE is ongoing and there may be some benefits to DMAE supplementation not yet known by the neurohacking or research community.[xii]

DMAE has been used to treat a variety of conditions from cognitive disorders to ADHD. DMAE is also used in skin care products to help reduce age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and even sagging skin.[xiii]

Free radicals can cause damage to DNA, upset cellular metabolism, and induce the creation of oxygen species that kill brain cells.[xiv] Some research has found that DMAE is a somewhat effective free radical scavenger.[xv]

DMAE has been found to diminish the extent of “cross-linking” of proteins that have been implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s.[xvi] Researchers think this may be due to DMAE’s effectiveness as a free radical scavenger.[xvii]

DMAE is reported to induce lucid dreaming.[xviii]

How does DMAE feel?

Some people report that DMAE supplementation causes a noticeable boost in their ability to concentrate.

DMAE users often report:

•  better memory (especially short-term memory)
•  mentally alert
•  improved focus
•  mental clarity
•  better sleep patterns

Dosing more DMAE than recommended has been reported to make you feel edgy and tense. And you may experience muscles spasms, particularly in your shoulders and neck.

The Research

Early DMAE Research

A prescription form of DMAE called Deaner or Deanol was in clinical use as far back as the 1960’s and 70’s. Deanol was used for the treatment of learning and behavioral problems associated with shortened attention span.

Two clinical trials conducted over 40 years ago proving the efficacy of using DMAE for treating what’s now known as ADHD are below.

In 1983, the FDA in all their wisdom insisted on additional studies to prove the effectiveness of DMAE. And because clinical trials would have been costlier than product sales could support, the company making Deanol and Deaner took them off the market.

DMAE is now available as a nootropic supplement. One that your doctor or psychiatrist is unlikely to prescribe to you for treating your ADHD.

DMAE to Treat ADHD

One double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared the effects of DMAE supplementation with methylphenidate (Ritalin) for treating ADHD. 74 children diagnosed with learning problems and hyperactivity were referred to this study.

The children received 40 mg of Ritalin, 500 mg of DMAE or a placebo daily for 3 months. Behavior, reaction times and other psychometric tests were done before and after treatment.

Both ‘drugs’ proved to be effective according to several tests. The researchers concluded that DMAE supplementation significantly improved performance in children with learning and behavior disorders.[xix]

Another study conducted by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer of the Brain-Bio center in Princeton, New Jersey with 25 girls and 83 boys found similar results in using DMAE for treating ADHD.

In this study, Dr. Pfeiffer found that DMAE enhanced the behavior in 2/3 of the boys and 3/4 of the girls. Attention span was better, irritability and hyperactivity were decreased, scholastic ability improved and in some cases even IQ got a boost.[xx]

Dr. Pfeiffer once said, “If you’re ADHD, and using Ritalin or Adderall and looking for a natural alternative, you may want to try DMAE.”

DMAE use in Cosmetics

Most of the research on DMAE in the 1950’s and 60’s centered around using this compound for cognitive function and brain health.

The most recent research on DMAE is primarily for using the compound in skin cosmetic formulas.

DMAE has been shown to increase skin firmness even in young skin. One study with 30 healthy adults aged 36 – 49 applied DMAE gel or a placebo. The results of the study showed that DMAE-treated skin was much firmer.[xxi]

Another randomized clinical study used 3% DMAE facial gel applied daily for 16 weeks. The gel was able to reduce forehead lines, wrinkles around the eyes and improving lip shape and fullness. And the effects did not regress even 2-weeks after stopping application.

Another open-label extension of the same trial showed that long-term application of DMAE gel had a good safety profile.[xxii]

Dosage Notes

Recommended dosage of DMAE is 100 – 200 mg per day.

DMAE nootropic supplements are usually sold as DMAE bitartrate. A capsule of DMAE bitartrate is only 37% DMAE and the rest is 67% tartaric acid.

A 250 mg capsule of DMAE bitartrate yields 92.5 mg of actual DMAE.

Take your DMAE dose in the morning before or with breakfast.

If you are going to use DMAE, stack it with a good source of choline.  Remember that DMAE inhibits choline and metabolism of choline. And you absolutely need choline and acetylcholine for a fully optimized brain.

DMAE inhibits phospholipid synthesis. This means you won’t get much help with choline precursors. You need a good source of choline.

Side Effects

DMAE is considered non-toxic and safe. Your body naturally produces some DMAE on its own.

You shouldn’t experience any side effects as long as you use DMAE in recommended doses.

Some people report insomnia, headaches and muscle tension. Usually because the dose was too high.

If you have a negative reaction to DMAE stop using DMAE.

If you are planning on becoming pregnant do not use DMAE.

Clinical studies have shown that DMAE may stunt the growth of the child’s brain.[xxiii]

If you have epilepsy or bipolar disorder you should avoid using DMAE entirely.

Available Forms

DMAE is available in tablet, capsule, powder, liquid, creams and gels.

DMAE tablets and capsules are usually DMAE bitartrate (see “Dosage Notes”) and 150 – 350 mg.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

DMAE 100 mg per day

Your body does make some DMAE on its own. But DMAE production inevitably declines with age.

Some people report that using DMAE has a significant effect on concentration, memory, alertness, focus and mental clarity.


[i] Haubrich D.R., Gerber N.H., Pflueger A.B. “Deanol affects choline metabolism in peripheral tissues of mice.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1981 Aug;37(2):476-82. (source)

[ii] Jope R.S., Jenden D.J. “Dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) metabolism in rat brain and its effect on acetylcholine synthesis.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 1979 Dec;211(3):472-9. (source)

[iii] Zeisel S.H. “Choline: Critical Role During Fetal Development and Dietary Requirements in Adults” Annual Review of Nutrition. 2006; 26: 229–250. (source)

[iv] Waymiare J.C. “Chapter 11: Acetylcholine Neurotransmission” The UT Medical School at Houston (source)

[v] Millington W.R., McCall A.L., Wurtman R.J. “Deanol acetamidobenzoate inhibits the blood-brain barrier transport of choline.” Annals of Neurology. 1978 Oct;4(4):302-6. (source)

[vi] Kostopoulos G.K., Phillis J.W. “The effects of dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) on cerebral cortical neurons.” Psychopharmacology Communications. 1975;1(3):339-47. (source)

[vii] Haubrich D.R., Gerber N.H., Pflueger A.B. “Deanol affects choline metabolism in peripheral tissues of mice.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1981 Aug;37(2):476-82. (source)

[viii] Russell R.W., Jenden D.J. “Behavioral effects of deanol, of hemicholinium and of their interaction.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 1981 Aug;15(2):285-8. (source)

[ix] Dylewski D.P., Nandy S., Nandy K. “Effects of centrophenoxine on lipofuscin in the retinal pigment epithelium of old mice.” Neurobiology of Aging. 1983 Spring;4(1):89-95. (source)

[x] Dimpfel W., Wedekind W., Keplinger I. “Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states.” European Journal of Medical Research. 2003 May 30;8(5):183-91. (source)

[xi] Zahniser N.R., Chou D., Hanin I. “Is 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) indeed a precursor of brain acetylcholine? A gas chromatographic evaluation.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapy. 1977 Mar;200(3):545-59. (source)

[xii] Lewis J.A., Lewis B.S. “Deanol in minimal brain dysfunction.”Diseases of the Nervous System. 1977 Dec;38(12 Pt 2):21-4. (source)

[xiii] Grossman R. “The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6(1):39-47. (source)

[xiv] Siesjö B.K., Agardh C.D., Bengtsson F. “Free radicals and brain damage.” Cerebrovascular and Brain Metabolism Reviews. 1989 Fall;1(3):165-211. (source)

[xv] Malanga G., Aguiar M.B., Martinez H.D., Puntarulo S. “New insights on dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) features as a free radical scavenger.”Drug Metabolism Letters. 2012 Mar;6(1):54-9. (source)

[xvi] Nagy I., Nagy K. “On the role of cross-linking of cellular proteins in aging.” Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. 1980 Sep-Oct;14(1-2):245-51. (source)

[xvii] Nagy I., Floyd R.A. “Electron spin resonance spectroscopic demonstration of the hydroxyl free radical scavenger properties of dimethylaminoethanol in spin trapping experiments confirming the molecular basis for the biological effects of centrophenoxine.” Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 1984 Dec;3(4):297-310 (source)

[xviii] Sergio W. “Use of DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) in the induction of lucid dreams.” Medical Hypotheses. 1988 Aug;26(4):255-7. (source)

[xix] Lewis J.A, Young R. “Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction.” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1975 May;17(5):534-40. (source)

[xx] PFEIFFER C.C., JENNEY E.H., GALLAGHER W., SMITH R.P., BEVAN W. Jr., KILLAM K.F., KILLAM E.K., BLACKMORE W. “Stimulant effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol; possible precursor of brain acetylcholine.”Science. 1957 Sep 27;126(3274):610-1. (source)

[xxi] Uhoda I., Faska N., Robert C., Cauwenbergh G., Piérard G.E. “Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol) gel.” Skin Research and Technology. 2002 Aug;8(3):164-7. (source)

[xxii] Grossman R. “The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6(1):39-47. (source)

[xxiii] Fisher M.C., Zeisel S.H., Mar M.H., Sadler T.W. “Inhibitors of choline uptake and metabolism cause developmental abnormalities in neurulating mouse embryos.” Teratology. 2001 Aug;64(2):114-22. (source)


Phenylalanine enhances working memory, executive function, creative flow states, stress reduction, better mood, anti-anxiety and lessens symptoms of ADHD  

Phenylalanine is a highly bio-available essential amino acid. Your body naturally converts L-Phenylalanine into the amino acid L-Tyrosine which is then converted into L-DOPA. Decarboxylation of L-DOPA results in synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine.[i]

Once converted into dopamine, the enzyme dopamine-beta-hydroxylaseconverts dopamine into the neurotransmitters norepinephrine 
(noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline). This triad of neurotransmitters are collectively referred to as “catecholamines.”

As a nootropic supplement, you may find several different forms of Phenylalanine available. L-Phenylalanine is the natural form found in proteins. D-Phenylalanine is a mirror image of L-Phenylalanine that is made in the lab. And DL-Phenylalanine is a combination of the two forms.[ii]

L-Phenylalanine can be a highly effective nootropic for boosting cognitive function because it boosts norepinephrine 
and dopamine production. Resulting in increased attention, motivation and working memory.

D-Phenylalanine (but not L-Phenylalanine) has been used to treat chronic pain although the clinical research in this area is sparse.

L-Phenylalanine also stimulates the production of thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) which are crucial in maintaining both overall physical and cognitive health.

Phenylalanine helps:

 Cognitive Stress. L-Phenylalanine helps produce the catecholamine-triad of neurotransmitters dopamine,
and epinephrine. Sleep deprivation and extreme stressors like heat and cold can deplete catecholamine levels. L-Phenylalanine restores them to preserve optimal cognition.[iii]

•  Neurotransmitters. Phenylalanine is a necessary precursor for dopamine, norepinephrine 
and epinephrine. As your dopamine levels increase, you’re better able to concentrate, organize your thoughts, and stay productive.

•  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). L-Phenylalanine can be an effective treatment for some with ADHD symptoms. L-Phenylalanine works in synergy with pharmaceutical drugs like Ritalin and Adderall by boosting extracellular levels of dopamine. Helping these drugs be more effective. And mitigating side effects like crashes when the drug wears off.


L-Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that you get from food or a supplement. The enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase converts Phenylalanine in your liver into the amino acid L-Tyrosine.[iv]


Phenylalanine is found in protein-rich foods like soybeans, cheese, nuts, seeds, beef, lamb, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains. The artificial sweetener aspartame also contains Phenylalanine.

Your brain converts L-Tyrosine to L-DOPA which then produces the neurotransmitter dopamine. The unused dopamine is then further converted into the neurotransmitters
 norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine(adrenaline). This triad of neurotransmitters are collectively referred to as “catecholamines”.

Many researchers prefer L-Phenylalanine over other catecholamine precursors because it supports neurotransmitter production without directly increasing neurotransmitter levels.

This last part is key because indiscriminately increasing neurotransmitters across the board can lead to imbalances and tolerance. Which can defeat the purpose of taking the nootropic in the first place.

For example, not enough epinephrine can decrease cognition. And too much norepinephrine can decrease attention, processing speed and executive function.[v]

L-Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid which means you must get if from food. Or as a supplement. Your body cannot synthesize Phenylalanine on its own.

L-Phenylalanine (LPA) is converted into the amino acid L-Tyrosine in your liver. Once L-Tyrosine crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is converted into L-DOPA. Which is further converted into the neurotransmitters dopaminenorepinephrine (noradrenaline)and epinephrine (adrenaline).

D-Phenylalanine (DPA) is a synthetic version of, and mirror image of L-Phenylalanine created in the lab. DPA has a different mechanism of action in the body than LPA.

D-Phenylalanine (DPA) slows the action of the enzymes carboxypeptidase A or endorphinase and enkephalinase. These enzymes degrade endorphins. Slowing down these enzymes that reduce endorphins can help reduce pain.[vi]

DL-Phenylalanine is a 50/50 combination of L-Phenylalanine and D-Phenylalanine. By combining the two in theory you get the best of both an antidepressant and pain reducer.

How does L-Phenylalanine work in the Brain?

L-Phenylalanine boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

. L- Phenylalanine decreases depression. L-Phenylalanine is converted into L-Tyrosine which in turn is converted into L-DOPA in the brain. L-DOPA is then used to make the feel good neurotransmitter dopamine. So depression could be the result of not getting enough of the first amino acid (L-Phenylalanine) in the chain of events needed to produce dopamine.

In one study done in Germany, 20 depressed patients received from 75-200 mg per day of DL-Phenylalanine for 20 days. At the end of the trial 12 of the depressed patients could be discharged without any further treatment. 4 of the patients had a moderate decrease in depressive symptoms. And 4 patients showed no response.[vii]

. L-Phenylalanine boosts neurotransmitters. L-Phenylalanine turns into L-Tyrosine once taken as a supplement. It then converts into the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is used to control movement in your body, is fundamental to memory, attention and problem solving.

The unused dopamine can then convert into the neurotransmitters norepinephrine
(noradrenaline)and epinephrine (adrenaline).

Norepinephrine is important for attentiveness, emotions, sleeping, dreaming and learning.

Epinephrine drives your ‘flight-or-flight’ response. It’s what prompts your reaction to dangerous circumstances, emergency situations, or in stressful situations or environments.

This balance in neurotransmitters is critical to the fully optimized, healthy brain. And why some researchers choose L-Phenylalanine to allow the body to make the neurotransmitters it needs. Instead of causing an imbalance by boosting one neurotransmitter over another.

A study in Venezuela investigated ADHD and autism, and the implications of amino acids on these neuropsychiatric disorders. 40 subjects affected by autism and 11 with ADHD along with 41 healthy subjects were included in this study.

The researchers found that those with ADHD had decreasing Phenylalanine and increasing glycine which disrupted their inhibitory neurotransmission system. Not enough phenylalanine and increasing lysine was present in those with autism.[viii]

Another study at Ohio State University looked at amino acids in 28 ADHD patients. And found all subjects with ADHD had significantly lower levels of the amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, histidine, and isoleucine. The researchers concluded each subject had a general deficit in amino acid transport, absorption or both.[ix]

How things go bad

As we get older, our brain and body chemistry and energy metabolism changes.

↓ Dopaminergic neurons are damaged or die
↓ Neurotransmitter levels decline
↓ Thyroid hormones decline
↑ Stress levels increase
↓ Working memory and mood decline

All of these changes are often attributed to aging. But could be a result of dietary and lifestyle choices. Unchecked, they could lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, a drop in the quality of life and depression.

L-Phenylalanine to the rescue

L-Phenylalanine can boost levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. And can help a sluggish thyroid produce more T4 and T3.

L-Phenylalanine can help boost cognition especially in stressful situations. It helps improve decision making, ‘flow state’ and creativity, cognitive flexibility, and working memory.

L-Phenylalanine converts into L-Tyrosine which then converts into L-DOPA to produce dopamine. L-DOPA is also used to make melanin in your body. This conversion process helps in the removal of neurotoxic quinones and chelates heavy metals like mercury and lead which can accumulate in and damage neurons.

The dopamine that is not used by your brain is available to produce norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which is important for attentiveness, emotions, sleeping, dreaming and learning.

L-Phenylalanine may be an effective nootropic when stacked with ADHD/ADD meds like Ritalin or Adderall. It helps supply extracellular dopamine needed to improve the effectiveness of stimulants used to boost the uptake of dopamine in your brain.

How does L-Phenylalanine feel?

Keep in mind that L-Phenylalanine is a precursor to catecholamines. So if you’re not ‘low’ on dopaminenorepinephrine or epinephrine – you may not ‘feel’ anything.

Many people report a lift in mood, better focus, concentration, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being. L-Phenylalanine can help readjust your motivation levels. It can help lower anxiety levels, especially social anxiety.

Supplementing with L-Phenylalanine can help bring your blood pressure down if its elevated from a stressful situation or environment. Take it before the stressful event if you can.

L-Phenylalanine helps buffer the effects of stimulants like caffeine or amphetamines. It helps potentiate and prolong the effects of Ritalin or Adderall, and reduces the crash.

If you’re into athletics or do manual work, you’ll find that supplementing with L-Phenylalanine before a workout or construction job can leave you feeling great afterwards. It may help mitigate many of the effects of acute stress caused by short-term stressors.

L-Phenylalanine helps your body produce L-Tyrosine which helps to produce melanin, so you may find it easier to get a tan while at the beach.

The Research

Phenylalanine as an Antidepressant

Several studies have investigated using Phenylalanine for the treatment of depression. One study published in the journal Arzneimittel-Forschung looked at using DL-Phenylalanine in a small group of patients who failed to respond to popular antidepressants like MAOIs.

In this study, researchers worked with 23 patients diagnosed with depression and who had not responded to standard antidepressants. They were given 50 or 100 mg of Phenylalanine daily for 15 days. The researchers found that Phenylalanine completely improved mood in 17 of the patients. Within 13 days of the 15-day trial.[x]

Another study in the Journal of Neural Transmission studied DL-Phenylalanine use with 20 depressed patients. The subjects were given 75 – 200 mg/day of DL-phenylalanine for 20 days.

The study found that 8 patients completely recovered from depression. And another 4 experienced a significant improvement in mood. Another 4 patients saw mild to moderate improvements, and another 4 did not respond to treatment.

This study shows that Phenylalanine has considerable antidepressant properties and is effective for the majority of people suffering from depression.[xi]

Phenylalanine for ADHD

Phenylalanine for ADHD seems at first glance as a natural solution for ADHD symptoms. It’s a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine which is targeted with stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. But the very limited clinical evidence tells a different story for practical use.

In this double-blind crossover study, 19 patients with ADD were given DL-phenylalanine or a placebo for 2 weeks. 13 of the ADD patients experienced a significant improvement in ADD symptoms compared to the placebo. And patients saw an improvement in mood.

But the patients who did respond to DL-Phenylalanine lost all positive benefits within 3 months. And it’s interesting that a later study with ADHD patients using L-phenylalanine (not DL-Phenylalanine) produced no clinical benefit.[xii]

Another study from 1987 treated 11 hyperactive boys for 2 weeks with D-Phenylalanine. There was no significant improvement or deterioration in behavior.[xiii]

There is a modern school of thought that there are several different types of ADD and ADHD. And the symptoms are caused by malfunctions in different parts of the brain depending on the ‘type’ of ADHD.

The bottom line is some dealing with ADHD may benefit from supplementing with Phenylalanine. And that DL-Phenylalanine may be the best option.

Dosage Notes

L-Phenylalanine suggested dosage for cognitive benefit is 500 mg up to 3-times per day.

You may find your body responds to smaller doses. Or even more if your stacking it with stimulants like ADHD meds. Listen to your body and see how you react.

Since L-Phenylalanine is an amino acid, for best absorption and so it’s not competing with other amino acids, take it at least an hour before food. L-Phenylalanine works best on an empty stomach.

Take L-Phenylalanine with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C to further maximize absorption. And give your body what it needs to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

L-Phenylalanine is also needed along with L-Tyrosine to synthesize the CoQ10 needed to fuel your brain’s mitochondria.

Side Effects

L-Phenylalanine quickly turns into the non-essential amino acid L-Tyrosine once you take it. So is considered non-toxic and very safe. Most people don’t have any negative side effects.

Important Caution: People with phenylketonuria (PKU), and women who are breastfeeding or are pregnant, should not take phenylalanine supplements. PKUis an inherited condition where excess phenylalanine can build up in your body. Aspartame, found in artificial sweeteners such as NutraSweet, is a source of phenylalanine. People with PKU should not use aspartame. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about using this artificial sweetener.[xiv]

At higher doses there are reports of stomach issues and migraines. Experts say that L-Phenylalanine is toxic in doses above 5000 mg. And higher doses will not give you any added benefit.

If you try recommended doses of L-Phenylalanine and do not feel any benefit, then this nootropic may not be right for you.

L-Phenylalanine can increase your thyroid hormones. So if you’re hyperthyroidyou shouldn’t use L-Phenylalanine.

If you’re taking MAO inhibitors (MAOI’s) like selegiline, Azilect, Marplan or Nardil you should not use L-Phenylalanine.

MAOI’s work in your brain and affect neurotransmitters. So using L-Phenylalanine in combination with MAOI’s could throw off the delicate balance of neurotransmitters needed for optimal brain health and cognition. And taking L-Phenylalanine with MAOI’s could cause a severe drop in blood pressure.

Available Forms

L-Phenylalanine is available in powder, capsule and tablet form.

Capsules and tablets are usually 500 mg.

Phenylalanine is also available as D-Phenylalanine and the 50/50 combined form of DL-Phenylalanine. You may find one form works better for you than another.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

L-Phenylalanine 500 mg per day

We recommend using L-Phenylalanine as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does synthesize some L-Tyrosine from phenylalanine which comes from high-protein foods like chicken, fish, almonds, avocados and bananas.

But most of us don’t get enough L-Phenylalanine from our diet. So, supplementation will help. And L-Phenylalanine is a highly bioavailable, natural form of this amino acid and will cause a person to feel its effects faster.

L-Phenylalanine is helpful for most people to combat stress and sleep deprivation. It’ll boost dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine levels.

It’s particularly helpful if you take L-Phenylalanine prior to a stressful situation, workout or physically demanding job.

L-Phenylalanine could be helpful to those dealing with ADHD/ADD. It’s a great compliment to stack with stimulant meds like Ritalin or Adderall. L-Phenylalanine will provide the dopamine your brain needs. It will help smooth out and prolong the effects of stimulant meds. And help prevent the associated crash when they wear off.

You can safely use up to 1,500 mg per day when stacking with ADHD meds. But dosed throughout your day.


[i] Slominski A., Zmijewski M., Pawelek J. “L-tyrosine and L-DOPA as hormone-like regulators of melanocytes functions” Pigment Cell Melanoma Research. 2012 Jan; 25(1): 14–27. (source)

[ii] “Phenylalanine” University of Maryland Medical Centerumm.edu/health (source)

[iii] Hase A., Jung S.E., aan het Rot M. “Behavioral and cognitive effects of tyrosine intake in healthy human adults.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 2015 Jun;133:1-6. (source)

[iv] Meisburger S.P., Taylor A.B., Khan C.A., Zhang S., Fitzpatrick P.F., Ando N. “Domain Movements upon Activation of Phenylalanine Hydroxylase Characterized by Crystallography and Chromatography-Coupled Small-Angle X-ray Scattering.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2016 May 25;138(20):6506-16. (source)

[v] Tavernier G. et. Al. “Norepinephrine Induces Lipolysis in β1/β2/β3-Adrenoceptor Knockout Mice” Molecular Pharmacology September 2005 vol. 68 no. 3 793-799 (source)

[vi] Walsh N.E., Ramamurthy S., Schoenfeld L., Hoffman J. “Analgesic effectiveness of D-phenylalanine in chronic pain patients.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1986 Jul;67(7):436-9. (source)

[vii] Beckmann H., Ludolph E. in German “[DL-phenylalanine as an antidepressant. Open study (author’s transl)].” Arzneimittelforschung. 1978;28(8):1283-4. (source)

[viii] Zavala M., Castejón H.V., Ortega P.A., Castejón O.J., Marcano de Hidalgo A., Montiel N. in Spanish “[Imbalance of plasma amino acids in patients with autism and subjects with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder].” Revista de Neurologica. 2001 Sep 1-15;33(5):401-8. (source)

[ix] Bornstein R.A., Baker G.B., Carroll A., King G., Wong J.T., Douglass A.B. “Plasma amino acids in attention deficit disorder.” Psychiatry Research. 1990 Sep;33(3):301-6. (source)

[x] Fischer E., Heller B., Nachon M., Spatz H. “Therapy of depression by phenylalanine. Preliminary note.” Arzneimittelforschung. 1975 Jan;25(1):132. (source)

[xi] Beckmann H., Strauss M.A., Ludolph E. “Dl-phenylalanine in depressed patients: an open study.” Journal of Neural Transmission. 1977;41(2-3):123-34. (source)

[xii] Wood D.R., Reimherr F.W., Wender P.H. “Treatment of attention deficit disorder with DL-phenylalanine.” Psychiatry Research. 1985 Sep;16(1):21-6. (source)

[xiii] Zametkin A.J., Karoum F., Rapoport J.L. “Treatment of hyperactive children with D-phenylalanine.” American Journal of Psychiatry. 1987 Jun;144(6):792-4. (source)

[xiv] “Phenylalanine” University of Maryland Medical Center umm.edu Retrieved July 7, 2016 (source)


Choline is often the center of a great nootropic stack. Because without adequate levels of choline in your brain, the rest of your supplements are unlikely to work very well.

Choline is neither a vitamin or mineral. It is a water-soluble “nutrient” related to the B-Vitamin group. Choline was recognized as an “essential” nutrient by the US Institute of Medicine in 1998.[i]  “Essential” because your body cannot make enough choline on its own. You need to get it from food, or a supplement.

Choline is found naturally in eggs, liver, beef, salmon, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and breast milk. Eggs are often considered “brain food” because they supply high amounts of choline.

Choline is needed by your body for liver function, normal brain function and development, nerve function, muscle movement, cellular energy and metabolism.

Choline assists in methylation involved in genetic expression and the repair of DNA, nerve signaling, and detoxification.

Your brain has a huge appetite for choline. It is critical for the synthesis of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Which your brain uses to maintain clear communication between its billions of neurons.

In fact, choline is so vital to cognition and nerve function that, without it, we couldn’t move, think, sleep or remember anything.

Choline and acetylcholine are needed for the basics of attention, focus, memory, mood, thinking, and sleep.

Not enough choline and you deal with poor recall, memory loss, fatigue, brain fog, inability to learn, feeling irritable or distracted, and difficulty walking or staying balanced.

Stacking Supplements with Choline

If you use any of the nootropic supplements in your stack, you should add a choline supplement. Because many of the nootropic supplements affect choline and/or acetylcholine use in your brain in some way.

Who Needs Choline

Even if you’re not interested in nootropics or brain optimization, anyone over 45 years can benefit from a good choline supplement. You’ll experience more alertness, energy, faster recall and better memory.

We all need choline for clarity and mental energy. And we have several nootropic supplements to choose from to boost choline in the brain. And increase the synthesis of acetylcholine.

We’ll review the best nootropics for boosting choline in your brain next.

Best Forms of Choline Supplements
Choline Bitartrate

Choline Bitartrate is choline combined with tartaric acid to increase bioavailability. One of the least expensive forms of choline, it’s about 40% choline by weight.

Like other choline supplements, Choline Bitartrate provides the choline needed for acetylcholine synthesis.

A research team in the Netherlands gave 28 volunteers 2 grams of Choline Bitartrate or a placebo. An hour and 10 minutes after taking the supplements, they had participants attempt to hit the center of a target.

The volunteers who used the choline supplement were not only more accurate at hitting the target center than the placebo group. They also did it faster.

The researchers concluded there was a “choline-induced bias” towards precision, speed and accuracy.[vii]

Side Effects of Choline

Choline is considered safe and non-toxic. Small amounts are made in your body and is an “essential” nutrient.

But too much choline, like all nutrients and supplements, can become toxic if too much is taken.

Like any nootropic used for brain optimization, neurotransmitter balance is key. Excess acetylcholine will depress levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

Serotonin and acetylcholine (Ach) have an inverse relationship in your brain. In other words, as one goes up, the other goes down. So taking too much of a choline supplement can boost ACh too much. And force serotonin levels to drop.

Symptoms of too much choline or acetylcholine can include:

•  Irritability or anger
•  Anxiety and/or depression
•  Fatigue or feeling overly sleepy
•  Trouble concentrating, brain fog, lack of focus
•  Mental confusion or fatigue
•  Decreased motivation
•  Negativity, pessimism, rumination
•  Poor memory
•  Problems understanding or performing tasks
•  Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
•  Diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness
•  Muscle weakness
•  Tingling or numbness in the arms or legs
•  Joint pain, discomfort or swelling[xii]

Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Choline 300 mg per day 

Every one of us needs choline to function. Choline is an essential nootropic supplement for anyone whose goal is brain optimization.

Choline is needed to synthesize acetylcholine (ACh). We need choline for cell-membrane signaling (phospholipids)lipid transport (lipoproteins), and methyl-group metabolism (homocysteine reduction).[xiii]

We need choline to provide the acetylcholine affected by any of the nootropics supplements.

Your brain will start to literally consume itself to get the building blocks it needs to make acetylcholine. If you don’t provide it with enough choline.

[i] Zeisel S.H., da Costa K.A. “Choline: an essential nutrient for public health.” Nutrition Reviews. 2009 Nov;67(11):615-23. (source)

[ii] Kidd P.M. “Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.” Alternative Medicine Revue. 2005 Dec;10(4):268-93. (source)

[iii] Ceda G.P., Ceresini G., Denti L., Magnani D., Marchini L, Valenti G., Hoffman A.R. “Effects of cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine administration on basal and growth hormone-releasing hormone-induced growth hormone secretion in elderly subjects.” Acta Endocrinologica (Copenhagen).1991;124(5):516-20. (source)

[iv] Vega J.A., Cavallotti C., del Valle M.E., Mancini M., Amenta F. “Nerve growth factor receptor immunoreactivity in the cerebellar cortex of aged rats: effect of choline alfoscerate treatment.” Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 1993 Jun;69(1-2):119-27. (source)

[v] Trabucchi M., Govoni S., Battaini F.  “Changes in the interaction between CNS cholinergic and dopaminergic neurons induced by L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, a cholinomimetic drug.” Farmaco Sci.1986 Apr;41(4):325-34. (source)

[vi] Canal N., Franceschi M., Alberoni M., Castiglioni C., De Moliner P., Longoni A. “Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine.” International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy, Toxicology. 1991 Mar;29(3):103-7. (source)

[vii] Naber M., Hommel B., Colzato L.S. “Improved human visuomotor performance and pupil constriction after choline supplementation in a placebo-controlled double-blind study.” Scientific Reports 2015 Aug 14;5:13188. (source)

[viii] Sterling G.H., O’Neill J.J. “Citrate as the precursor of acetyl moiety of acetylcholine” Journal of Neurochemistry 31(2):525-30 · September 1978 (source)

[ix] Ebenhöh O., Heinrich R. “Evolutionary optimization of metabolic pathways. Theoretical reconstruction of the stoichiometry of ATP and NADH producing systems.” Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 2001 Jan;63(1):21-55. (source)

[x] Sanders L.M., Zeisel S.H. Choline – Dietary Requirements and Role in Brain Development Nutrition Today 2007; 42(4): 181–186. (source)

[xi] Wang L., Pooler A.M., Albrecht M.A., Wurtman R.J. “Dietary uridine-5′-monophosphate supplementation increases potassium-evoked dopamine release and promotes neurite outgrowth in aged rats.” Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2005;27(1):137-45. (source)

[xii] Overstreet D.H., Janowsky D.S. “The Role of Acetylcholine Mechanisms in Affective Disorders” American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (source)

[xiii] Penry J, Manore M. ‘Choline: an important micronutirent for maximal endurance-exercise performance?’  International Journal of Sports Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism. 2008;18:191–203. (source)

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is known to improve alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood, lower anxiety, and help you lose weight.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid component of the membrane encasing every one of your brain cells.

PS helps maintain the fluidity and permeability of brain cells. Allowing for the efficient transfer of proteins, enzymes, nutrients, oxygen and glucose into and out of each cell.

Phosphatidylserine is involved in the formation and sending of signals within neurons. And the chemical signaling that takes place across neural synapses.

PS promotes healthy nerve growth factor (NGF), and supports the neurogenesis needed for long-term potentiation (LTP). Memory formation depends on healthy LTP.

Phosphatidylserine is involved in building mitochondria which are the energy centers of each brain cell.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is arguably one of the most effective and important nootropics we have available today. PS keeps our brain cells healthy. And has a reputation for improving alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood.

Phosphatidylserine helps:

•  Neuro-optimization: Phosphatidylserine (PS) keeps brain cells fluid and permeable. This neuroplasticity helps neurons form new connections needed for memory formation. PS is integral to cleaning up damaged neurons and maintaining an optimized brain.[i] And PS boosts mental energy by easing the flow of glucose and oxygen needed to power brain cells.

•  Neurotransmitters: Phosphatidylserine is an integral part of the flow of crucial neurotransmitters like dopamine and acetylcholine. And phospholipids contain choline which is a precursor to acetylcholine (ACh). So PS will increase ACh levels in your brain. Affecting cognition, memory and mood. And reducing anxiety.

•  Neurogenesis: Phosphatidylserine works in concert with the DHA in Omega-3’s and keeping brain cells optimized. Prolonging neuron survival and health.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid component of brain cell membranes. The membrane is the outer casing surrounding each cell. PS plays a vital role in cell-to-cell signaling in the brain. And is needed to maintain the fluidity of all cell membranes.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the most abundant phospholipids in the brain. Followed by a slightly lesser amount of Phosphatidylserine (PS).

PC is in the outer layer of brain cell membranes, and PS is part of the inner layer. Both are critical to maintaining optimal cognitive health. PS is synthesized from PC in the brain by exchanging the base head group with a serine.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) supports the formation and sending of neural signals within neurons and across synaptic junctions that link one neuron with another. This cellular communication is how we form memories.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) also helps nerve growth factor (NGF) that ensures healthy neurogenesis. PS even assists in building mitochondria which are the energy source in every one of your brain cells.

When your brain cell membranes are healthy, they are malleable, fluid and flexible. But by the time we reach our 20’s, phospholipids including Phosphatidylserine (PS) start declining.

This outer casing starts to harden. And attention, concentration, memory, mood and learning begin to suffer.[ii]

The good news is you can prevent this cellular damage from happening. The amount and type of long-chain fatty acids in your diet affects the composition of these cell membranes.

The structure and function of your cells depend on the ideal balance of fats including cholesterol, oleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids and essential fatty acids like Omega 3. Without this proper balance, cell membrane function is compromised.

Our typical modern diet does not provide the ideal balance of fatty acids(phospholipids) to maintain brain cell health. It’s why we experience brain fog, memory loss, slow thinking and poor decision making.

You naturally get Phosphatidylserine (PS) from foods like cow brains, pig spleen and chicken hearts. So there must be some merit to the saying, “Eat brains and get smarter!

Unfortunately, not many of us include organ meat as part of our daily meal plan. So, the best way to maintain healthy levels of Phosphatidylserine (PS) in your brain is taking PS as a nootropic supplement.

PS was originally made from bovine (cow) brains. But with the mad cow disease scare, PS supplements are now made from extracts of soy or sunflower lecithin.

How does Phosphatidylserine work in the Brain?

Phosphatidylserine boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

. Phosphatidylserine is needed for memory. PS stimulates the brain chemicals that boost neural signaling for quick, clear thinking. In fact, Phosphatidylserine is one of the most effective memory boosters known.

PS has been shown that it can slow, halt and even reverse the progression of age-related cognitive decline. One study with 149 patients meeting the criteria for age-associated memory impairment were given 100 mg of Phosphatidylserine or a placebo for 12 weeks.

The patients who received PS showed improved performance on tests related to learning and the memory tasks of daily life. The study concluded that PS was a promising candidate for treating memory loss later in life.[iii]

. Phosphatidylserine helps repair neurons. PS works in concert with DHA (Omega-3) to protect brain cells from damage. And boost neuronal survival.

Your brain is made up largely of DHA fat.

The kind of fat you get from supplementing with Omega-3’s. A decrease in DHA content in the brain results in cognitive impairment. Studies show that Alzheimer’s Disease is associated with lower Omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Researchers in Canada looked at samples provided by the Memory and Aging Project. And found a significant difference in plasma fatty acid profiles of those with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment and those with perfectly healthy brains.

The team found that DHA in Phosphatidylserine in both disease categories was 12-14% lower than those of healthy brains. They concluded that Alzheimer’s Disease is associated with lower DHA and Phosphatidylserine.[iv]

Trials and clinical studies like these provide plenty of motivation to supplement with Phosphatidylserine and DHA. It will help you ward off neurodegenerative disease. DHA and PS is ideal for an optimized brain.

How things go bad

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes. This can happen at any age once we enter our adult years.

↓ Brain cell membranes lose fluidity
↓ Neurotransmitter signaling declines
↓ Recall, reaction time and mood diminish
↓ Memory declines

All of these changes can happen at any age. And starts as early as our 20’s. Our cell membranes are influenced by the food we eat, what we drink, lifestyle habits, the air we breathe and more.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) can help age-related cognitive decline, as well as a student looking to do better in school.

Phosphatidylserine to the rescue

Phosphatidylserine (PS) makes up about 15% of the total phospholipid pool in your brain. PS is located mainly in the internal layer of your brain cell membranes.

PS is involved in governing membrane fluidity, and the regulation of all activity going on in that brain cell. PS interacts with cellular proteins, modulates the activity of neuroreceptors, enzymes, ion channels and signaling molecules.

Supplementing with Phosphatidylserine improves brain function that tends to decline with age. Healthy brain cell membranes support neuroplasticity so neurons can form the connections needed to convert new experiences into memories.

Phosphatidylserine helps lower cortisol and ACTH levels during intense exercise.[v] PS is even effective in relieving stress. And putting you in a better mood during exams.[vi]

Many clinical trials with PS have shown improvements in working- and long-term memory, recall, logic and even speech. Attention span increases while using PS. And motivation, socialization and initiative all increased when using Phosphatidylserine as a nootropic.

How does Phosphatidylserine feel?

People report that using Phosphatidylserine (PS) as a nootropic:

•  Boosts energy levels
•  Improves alertness
•  Less brain fog
•  Better memory
•  Logical thinking improves
•  Concentration is better
•  Clarity of thought
•  Weight loss
•  Easier to remember names, phone numbers, tasks, etc.
•  Mood improves
•  Anti-anxiety
•  Lowers cortisol
•  Relieves insomnia
•  Vivid dreams

There are reports that PS helps with Tourette’s Syndrome.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) a great compliment to ADHD meds. PS helps tame the symptoms of ADHD and doesn’t interfere with popular stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. You may even be able to cut back on the ADHD meds once Phosphatidylserine builds up in your system.

The Research

Phosphatidylserine Reduces Beta Brain Waves

Beta brain waves have the most rapid pattern of all the brain waves produced in your brain. Beta waves are associated with concentration, arousal, alertness and cognition.

It would be unpleasant to be in a constant state of arousal. A study in Germany gave 16 healthy subjects Phosphatidylserine (PS) for 42 days. The team tested brain wave patterns before supplementation and again in 42 days.

The main finding in this study was that chronic Phosphatidylserine supplementation significantly decreases Beta brain waves. The results showed that the PS group were connected to a more relaxed state compared to the controls.[vii]

Phosphatidylserine Reduces Stress

Studies have shown that Phosphatidylserine blunts the release of cortisol in response to exercise stress. And PS improves mood. In this study, researchers at the University of Wales Swansea gave young adults 300 mg of Phosphatidylserine each day for a month.

The study resulted in these young adults feeling less stressed after doing a stressful arithmetic task and they were in a better mood. The researchers concluded that PS supplementation improves mood and reduces stress even in healthy, young people.[viii]

Phosphatidylserine Improves Cognition in Athletes

Phosphatidylserine is found in the cell membranes of most animals and plants. PS has been shown to reduce stress and increase performance in runners, cyclists and golfers.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to study the effects of PS on cognitive function, mood and endocrine response before and after intense exercise.

18 lower body, resistance-trained male college athletes took Phosphatidylserine for 14 days, or a placebo. Following 14 days of supplementation, participants performed an acute bout of lower body resistance training.

Mood and cognitive function were measured before, 5 minutes after and 60 minutes after exercise. And blood samples were drawn prior to, 5, 15, 25, 40 and 60 minutes after exercise. Blood was tested for cortisol and testosterone.

The researchers found that PS significantly increased cognitive function prior to exercise. And PS prevented both mood and hormones from being negatively affected prior to and following resistance exercise.[ix]

Phosphatidylserine Reduces Symptoms of ADHD

Researchers in Japan conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial with 36 children aged 4–14 years. The kids were diagnosed with ADHD but had not received any conventional ADHD treatment prior to the trial.

The children received 200 mg of PS or a placebo daily for 2 months. The team recorded the children’s ADHD symptoms, short-term and working memory, and mental performance.

The team found that Phosphatidylserine significantly improved ADHD symptoms and short-term memory. ADHD symptoms that were reduced included inattention, short-term memory problems, and impulsivity. The placebo group saw no improvement during the trial.[x]

Another study with 200 ADHD children looked at the effects of Phosphatidylserine combined with Omega 3’s for 30-weeks.  The key finding of this trial was a significant reduction in the restlessness/impulsive scale and an improvement in emotions.

The researchers concluded that Phosphatidylserine with Omega 3 may reduce ADHD symptoms in children with ADHD. It was especially effective in a subgroup of hyperactive-impulsive, emotionally and behaviorally-dysregulated ADHD children.[xi]

The bottom line is that if you have Adult ADD, or you have children with ADHD or ADD, consider 200 mg of Phosphatidylserine for a couple of months before going with Adderall or Ritalin and add in some Omega 3’s for good measure.

Phosphatidylserine Improves Memory

Several studies have shown that using Phosphatidylserine as a nootropic to boost memory works well both for age-related cognitive decline as well as more serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A double-blind, placebo controlled trial in Tel Aviv worked with 18 healthy elderly volunteers with age related cognitive decline. The volunteers took 100 mg of Phosphatidylserine 3-times per day for 12 weeks. They were evaluated at the start of the trial, at 6 weeks of treatment and at the end of the trial.

All but two of the volunteers showed significant improvement in memory from using Phosphatidylserine (PS). Memory and cognition improved in the first 6 weeks of PS use and continued to get better until the end of the 12-week trial.[xii]

Another trial with 51 Alzheimer’s patients using 100 mg of Phosphatidylserine for 12 weeks showed that PS may be a promising candidate for the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.[xiii]

Dosage Notes

Recommended Phosphatidylserine (PS) dosage is 100 mg 2-3 times per day.

Side Effects

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is naturally produced in your body and is considered well tolerated and safe. PS is non-toxic.

Some may experience insomnia or stomach upset at higher than recommended doses.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Phosphatidylserine (PS) 200 mg once daily

We recommend using Phosphatidylserine (PS) as a nootropic supplement.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is arguably one of the most effective and important nootropics we have available today. PS keeps our brain cells healthy. PS has a reputation for improving alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood.

PS helps lower cortisol which can help with insomnia. And provide you with a stress-free workout in the gym or on the court.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) clears brain fog, boosts energy levels, helps alertness, and provides clarity to your thought process.

You can get Phosphatidylserine from food. But the highest concentrations of PS are found in organ meats like cow brains and pig spleen.

PS levels decline as you age starting in your 20’s. And you are unlikely to get nearly enough through diet. So, to get its benefits you should take it as a nootropic supplement.

We suggest starting with a dose of PS at 200 mg once a day. Dosing should not exceed 500 mg per day. And there is little benefit to overdoing it with Phosphatidylserine (PS).


[i] De Simone R., Ajmone-Cat M.A., Tirassa P., Minghetti L. “Apoptotic PC12 cells exposing phosphatidylserine promote the production of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective molecules by microglial cells.”Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2003 Feb;62(2):208-16. (source)

[ii] Kosicek M., Hecimovic S. “Phospholipids and Alzheimer’s

Disease: Alterations, Mechanisms and Potential Biomarkers” International Journal of Molecular Science. 2013 Jan; 14(1): 1310–1322. (source)

[iii] Crook T.H., Tinklenberg J., Yesavage J., Petrie W., Nunzi M.G., Massari D.C. “Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment.” Neurology. 1991 May;41(5):644-9. (source)

[iv] Cunnane S.C., Schneider J.A., Tangney C., Tremblay-Mercier J., Fortier M., Bennett D.A., Morris M.C. “Plasma and brain fatty acid profiles in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2012;29(3):691-7. (source)

[v] Monteleone P., Beinat L., Tanzillo C., Maj M., Kemali D. “Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine response to physical stress in humans.” Neuroendocrinology. 1990 Sep;52(3):243-8. (source)

[vi] Benton D., Donohoe R.T., Sillance B., Nabb S. “The influence of phosphatidylserine supplementation on mood and heart rate when faced with an acute stressor.” Nutritional Neuroscience. 2001;4(3):169-78. (source)

[vii] Baumeister J., Barthel T., Geiss K.R., Weiss M. “Influence of phosphatidylserine on cognitive performance and cortical activity after induced stress.” Nutritional Neuroscience. 2008 Jun;11(3):103-10. (source)

[viii] Benton D., Donohoe R.T., Sillance B., Nabb S. “The influence of phosphatidylserine supplementation on mood and heart rate when faced with an acute stressor.” Nutritional Neuroscience. 2001;4(3):169-78. (source)

[ix] Parker A.G., Gordon J., Thornton A., Byars A., Lubker J., Bartlett M., Byrd M., Oliver J., Simbo S., Rasmussen C., Greenwood M., Kreider R.B. “The effects of IQPLUS Focus on cognitive function, mood and endocrine response before and following acute exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2011 Oct 21;8:16 (source)

[x] Hirayama S., Terasawa K., Rabeler R., Hirayama T., Inoue T., Tatsumi Y., Purpura M., Jäger R. “The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014 Apr;27 Suppl 2:284-91. (source)

[xi] Manor I., Magen A., Keidar D., Rosen S., Tasker H., Cohen T., Richter Y., Zaaroor-Regev D., Manor Y., Weizman A. “The effect of phosphatidylserine containing Omega3 fatty-acids on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, followed by an open-label extension.” European Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;27(5):335-42. (source)

[xii] Schreiber S., Kampf-Sherf O., Gorfine M., Kelly D., Oppenheim Y., Lerer B. “An open trial of plant-source derived phosphatydilserine for treatment of age-related cognitive decline.” Israeli Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences. 2000;37(4):302-7. (source)

[xiii] Crook T., Petrie W., Wells C., Massari D.C. “Effects of phosphatidylserine in Alzheimer’s disease.” Psychopharmacology Bulletin. 1992;28(1):61-6. (source)

Disclaimer and Warning

Results will differ for each individual, depending on existing health factors, lifestyle, and physical condition. The information on this site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice provided by your doctor or physician. The information we provide should not be used for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Testimonials and results included in the typical examples consumers experience may not imply future results for you. The FDA doesn’t approve dietary supplements. The FDA is not authorized to approve dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness. In fact, many dietary supplements can be marketed without even notifying the FDA.