Phosphatidylserine is a structural component of cell membranes, which can be found in all biological membranes. The human body contains about 30 g of phosphatidylserine, close to half (~13 g) of which is found in the brain.
Phosphatidylserine is also found in the human diet, though levels of consumption are low.
Phosphatidylserine has been extensively studied as a dietary supplement, mainly for cognitive health in various populations, from children to elderly. Clinical studies demonstrated that oral administration of phosphatidylserine is safe, and can improve cognitive functions, as well as other benefits. The physical traits of phosphatidylserine make it especially suitable for functional foods.
Phospholipids (PLs) are a family of important lipids composing the main building blocks of cell membranes. Each phospholipid consists of a glycerol backbone, which is bound to two fatty acids (FAs) and to a polar, water soluble, head group. Due to the unique combination of hydrophobic FAs and hydrophilic head group, phospholipids are amphipathic molecules. This unique characteristic of phospholipids is what allows their function as building blocks of biological membranes. Phospholipids, being part of the biological membrane, are also naturally found in foods. A human being first consumes PLs when it suckles from its mother, because human milk contains various PLs. Every natural food from a biological origin, animal and plant sources alike, contains PLs. Furthermore, due to the amphipathic nature of PLs, they are used in the food industry. For example, lecithin, made mainly of PC from various sources, is widely used as an emulsifier.