By PT Staff, published on March 1, 2001 - last reviewed on June 14, 2012
When it comes to aging, we'd all sign up for the getting wiser part. it's theabsentmindedness we could do without. Approximately 40% of adults ages 50 to 60 are starting to slip a bit in the memory department--and so are more than 50% of those ages 60 to 69.
Here's some good news: New research demonstrates that age-related memory loss is not inevitable. "Even as it's aging, the brain is making new cells," says Parris Kidd, Ph.D., a cell biologist and nutrition expert in El Cerrito, California. "The challenge is to find a way to make the new circuits that were lost as time goes by."
Memory experts are now focusing on phosphatidyl-serine (PS), a naturally produced, fat-soluble nutrient. Found throughout our bodies, PS works particularly hard in the brain to improve brain cell communication and regulate serotonin and dopamine--both mood-related chemicals. Though it's unclear whether or not PS levels diminish over time, Kidd theorizes that as we age, we need more of it to build the new communication pathways that are so critical for brain function.
Several recent studies indicate that PS shows promise in mediating stress, depression and attention deficit disorders and improving motor skills in Parkinson's disease patients. Numerous studies have shown that people who take PS remember more names, faces, phone numbers and written information. And research conducted by Thomas Crook, Ph.D., founder of the Memory Assessment Clinic in Bethesda, Maryland, found that subjects who took 300 mg of PS for 90 days showed remarkable improvement in their memory. PS, according to Kidd, "can turn back the clock 12 to 15 years."