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Research capsule

RC_SerinAid.jpgVital stats: Enzymotec's phosphatidylserine brands SerinAid and OmegaAid PS

Study claim: Phosphatidylserine can help to effectively manage exercise-induced stress and promote healthy free-testosterone levels.

Published: Starks M, et al. The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise. [ITAL]J Int Soc Sports Nutr [END ITAL]2008 Jul 28;5:11.

Abstract: Previous research has indicated that phosphatidylserine (PS) supplementation has the potential to attenuate the serum cortisol response to acute exercise stress. Equivocal findings suggest that this effect might be dose dependent. This study aimed to examine the influence of short-term supplementation with a moderate dose of PS (600mg/day) on plasma concentrations of cortisol, lactate, growth hormone and testosterone before, during, and following moderate intensity exercise in healthy males.

Ten healthy male subjects ingested 600mg/day PS or placebo for 10 days using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Serial venous blood samples were taken at rest, after a 15-minute moderate-intensity exercise protocol on a cycle ergometer that consisted of five three-minute incremental stages beginning at 65 per cent and ending at 85 per cent VO2 max, and during a 65-minute passive recovery. Plasma samples were assessed for cortisol, growth hormone, testosterone, lactate and testosterone to cortisol ratio for treatment (PS or placebo).

Mean peak cortisol concentrations and area under the curve (AUC) were lower following PS (39 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively) when compared to placebo. PS increased AUC for testosterone to cortisol ratio (184 per cent) compared to placebo. Neither PS nor placebo had any effect on lactate or growth-hormone levels.

The findings suggest that PS is an effective supplement for combating exercise-induced stress and preventing the physiological deterioration that can accompany too much exercise. PS supplementation promotes a desired hormonal status for athletes by blunting increases in cortisol levels. Preventing the negative effect of cortisol and increasing the testosterone to cortisol ratio will allow athletes to train and compete at their highest levels.

Potential applications: PS has been granted two health claims by the FDA, and is used to enhance learning, memory, and concentration. These findings could open new markets for PS-based sports-nutrition and anti-ageing nutritional supplements.

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NOTE: Please visit the website of the Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition at www.jissn.com/content/5/1/11 to access the original publication.

RC_Enzymotec.jpgVital Stats: Enzymotec's phospholipids

Study claim: Conjugating the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA with phospholipids improved the attention scores for children greater than DHA and EPA alone.

Published: Vaisman N, et al. Correlation between changes in blood fatty acid composition and visual sustained attention performance in children with inattention: effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids containing phospholipids. Am J Clin Nutr 2008 May;87(5):1170-80.

Abstract: Increasing evidence supports omega-3 fatty acid (n-3) supplementation for patients with psychiatric disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the exact metabolic fate of dietary eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on different glyceride carriers remains unclear.

Reseachers investigated whether conjugation of EPA and DHA to phospholipid (PL-n-3) or to triacylglycerol (fish oil; FO) affects their incorporation in blood compartments and influences executive functioning. Children 8-13 years with impaired visual sustained attention performance received placebo; 250mg/day EPA + DHA esterified to PL-n-3 (300mg/day phosphatidylserine); or FO for three months in a randomised, double-blind manner. Main outcome measures included plasma and erythrocyte FA profile and continuous performance test results (TOVA).

Sixty of the 83 children enrolled completed the interventions (n = 18-21 per group). There was an enrichment of EPA (1.5-2.2-fold), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA; 1.2-fold), and DHA (1.3-fold) in the PL fraction in the plasma of FO- and PL-n-3-fed children. In erythrocytes, only PL-n-3 resulted in a significant reduction (30 per cent) of very-long-chain saturated FAs (C20-24) and in an increase (1.2- and 2.2-fold, respectively) in linoleic acid and DPA. Total TOVA scores increased in the PL-n-3 (+3.35) and FO (+1.72) groups but not in the placebo group (-0.42). A significant correlation between the alterations in FAs and increased TOVA scores mainly occurred in the PL-n-3 group.

Consumption of EPA + DHA esterified to different carriers had different effects on the incorporation of these FAs in blood fractions and on the visual sustained attention performance in children.

Potential applications: Phospholipids such as Sharp PS, Sharp PS Silver, Sharp PS Gold and SharpGPC are available for dietary supplements and functional foods.

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