PS… a relaxing supplement

Blinders!  Aha! That’s what they’re called…

I woke up this morning racking my brain for what those things are called that horses wear to block their peripheral vision.

Strange right?  But here’s why….

Every time I’ve gone through a period of stress, at some point I realize I’m running around with blinders on, like a horse whose owner is trying to keep their mare focused on the path ahead.

Normally, I can see the big picture…. I can see everything that needs to get done for the day.  I can organize myself, and find the flow from one thing to the next. This is when despite being busy, my response to stress is in balance.

But, when it’s not, the blinders show up.  I know there’s a pile of stuff to do, but my brain turns to mush, and I feel like I’m on a dead race ahead towards one thing after another, and I can’t even see how to organize the big picture.  OVERWHELM!

AH!!  The blinders are back!

Every time I’ve had a baby, and then gone back to work, BLINDERS!!

Enter a supplement that I think is worth knowing about….

Phosphatidylserine

Pronounced phos-pha-ti-dyl-ser-ine

(say that one 10 times fast!)

So, this is why we just call it PS.  PS is a phospholipid that is found in cell membranes all throughout the body, and is vital to life.  It’s particularly high in the brain. PS helps to boost energy at the cellular level, and is important for our brain cells to communicate properly.

Our body can make this nutrient if it has the proper building blocks, however many people are deficient in the nutrients needed to make PS.  Your body might have issues making this nutrient at sufficient levels.

About CORTISOL:

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands when our brain perceives stress.  Acute stressors like exercise cause a cortisol release, and that can be beneficial to the brain. Healthy levels of cortisol help us create new connections in the brain, and enhance learning.  However, chronic and emotional stress from bills, traffic, and deadlines can be damaging to the brain cells due to the effects of long term high cortisol. Physical stressors like alcohol, excess sugar, and toxic exposures can also increase cortisol levels.

The areas of our brain responsible for language, memory, and attention are particularly at risk of chronic high cortisol.  When stress goes on for long periods of time, it can even cause these regions to shrink.

Here’s the good news!

PS promotes healthy cortisol levels.

PS can be protective of high cortisol.  This is because it lowers hormones involved in the stress response, including cortisol.

Have you ever had something stressful happen, and then two hours later you’re still feeling stressed about it?  You just can’t seem to shake it? Most likely cortisol is still elevated in your blood. If you take PS before the stressor occurs, it helps your levels come back down afterwards.

It won’t stop the stressor, and it won’t stop your cortisol from appropriately responding, but it does help your levels return to normal after the stressful moment has passed.

This is why PS has been used by athletes to help them recover after an intense competition.  It helps them settle into the post exercise relaxation response, and bring their cortisol back down.

Does exercise make you feel more relaxed?  Here’s how that works… When you go to the gym, your cortisol goes up while you exercise.  The body’s natural response to a stress response is a relaxation response. After your workout, it’s natural to settle into a low key, chilled out mode…  So long as we don’t pound a cup of coffee, and run to the next thing that is…

I know I’ve been guilty of that!

But, ever since understanding how this works, I always suggest to my clients, and remember myself, to honor some relaxation post exercise.  Even if you have to go right from your workout to work, I suggest taking a few extra minutes to enjoy your shower, or stretch while taking deep breaths.

PS supports focus and memory

And this is where most of my clients slam their computer shut and run to the health food store to grab a bottle and slam a couple back!  Because if you have trouble remembering what you did two days ago, you know how frustrating brain fog can be.

PS supports memory, focus, and protects the brain from stress in many ways.  It can actually have a beneficial effect on how you react to stressful situations, and support better sleep!

I should add the disclaimer that there’s really no replacement for working with mindfulness, thought patterns, and a healthy response to stress.

But, when you’re at work, and you realize you’re running so fast from one thing to the other that you showed up with your underwear on inside out, and you can’t remember what the heck you even have on the schedule for the afternoon, it’s nice to have some extra tools in your back pocket.

PS is for HIGH Cortisol

Keep in mind that if your cortisol is low and you’re really wiped, PS is not the supplement for you.  It’s a good idea to get your levels tested before you start supplementing.

If you’re feeling really wired, this could be the tool that helps you get through a stressful time period.  It has always helped the blinders come off for me, and I get GREAT feedback from clients.

My client, Brittany said that she could tell within a week that her focus was better, and she “could think again.”

I had another client with high cortisol confirmed on her lab test, and I suggested she  take it at bedtime as she was having a lot of difficulty falling and staying asleep. She reported to me two weeks later, that “when my toddler wakes me up in the middle of the night, and I want to get back to sleep easily, I don’t get so alert, and can easily slip back into sleep.”

PS is available at most health food stores.

PS is derived from soy or sunflower.  If you take it from soy, I’d suggest non-GMO soy.  I tend to use the PS from sunflower lecithin, but sometimes I have clients with a sensitivity to sunflower, so we use the non-GMO soy PS.

You ought to be able to find PS at your local health food store.  If you can’t find it locally, you can order it online. I prefer the brand Designs for Health PS 150.  Some doctors suggest a loading dose of 200-300mg per day in one dose or divided doses, and then backing down to 100-150mg/day after the first month.

I often suggest starting with 150mg, and then increase if it’s working well for you.  If you need help with sleep, take it at bedtime. If you’re dealing with focus and stress during the day, take it in the morning, or in divided doses.  Then, if it seems to help, you can up it to 200-300mg for a month.

There’s a small percentage of people that may find they get more alert when they take it, so if this happens, just take it in the morning or mid-day.

PS, The INTERNAL stress regulator

So, when the blinders come out…

Your brain turns to mush….

And you’re running around like a crazy lady….

PS may be a tool that can help bring your cortisol levels into a better balance.  It can take the edge off, and give you the clear head you need to come up with some ideas to help make life more manageable.

I hope it helps you to know there are tools out there when life gets crazy!

Brooke.

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4 thoughts on “PS… a relaxing supplement

  1. Is there anything in PS that will act as a phyto estrogen? I’m a breast cancer survivor and need to stay away from anything that triggers estrogen.

    • Hi Kay, good question. PS is a lipid and it’s typically the protein in foods such as soy and sunflower that has the estrogenic effect. So, likely PS wouldn’t be a problem. However, it may be good to stay on the safe side and use something else for cortisol balance. There are a lot of adaptogenic herbs that you could consider using instead 🙂

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