What is serine?

Serine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which can be produced in your body from the amino acids glycine or threonine, but in certain circumstances, such as young age or heavy illness, you may need to obtain additional amounts from foods in order to be healthy [1].

Serine abbreviation (symbol): Ser

Serine Functions in the Human Body

Serine is [2]:

  • A building block of proteins
  • A precursor of an amino acid tryptophan
  • A stimulant neurotransmitter (D-serine) in the brain
  • A glucogenic amino acid — it can be converted into glucose
  • Involved in the metabolism of fats
  • Important for the synthesis of pyrimidines, purines (parts of DNA) and creatine

Serine Supplements

Available nonprescription (over-the-counter) oral serine supplements:

  • L-serine
  • D-serine
  • DL-serine (a mixture of L- and D-serine)
  • Phosphatidylserine

D-Serine Health Benefits

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about the effectiveness of D-serine supplements in the prevention or treatment of schizophrenia [3,4,5,6].

There appears to be NO EVIDENCE about the effectiveness of D-serine supplements in the prevention or treatment of insomnia, muscle soreness or fatigue after exercise or neurological disorders, in improving alertness, memory or immunity or increasing athletic performance.

Phosphatidylserine Health Benefits

Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid consisting of glycerol, fatty acids, phosphate and the amino acid serine.

Phosphatidylserine is POSSIBLY EFFECTIVE in improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (dementia) [7,8,9,10].

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about the effectiveness of phosphatidylserine supplements in the prevention or treatment of age related mental decline, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, stress caused by exercise or in improving athletic performance [7].

Phosphatidylserine Safety: Side Effects, Toxicity

Phosphatidylserine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults and children when taken in recommended oral doses [7].

Side effects in high doses may include insomnia and stomach upset.

During Pregnancy

It is best to avoid phosphatidylserine supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding because not enough studies have been performed to evaluate their safety during these periods [7].

  1. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) ( 2005 ) /10 Protein and Amino Acids  National Academic Press
  2. L-serine  PubChem
  3. Tsai G et al, 1998, D-serine added to antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia  PubMed
  4. Kantrowitz JT et al, 2010, High dose D-serine in the treatment of schizophrenia  PubMed
  5. Hashimoto K et al, 2003, Decreased Serum Levels of D-Serine in Patients With SchizophreniaEvidence in Support of the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Hypofunction Hypothesis of Schizophrenia  JAMA Psichiatry
  6. Hons J et al, 2008, D-serine serum levels in patients with schizophrenia: relation to psychopathology and comparison to healthy subjects  PubMed
  7. Phosphatidylserine uses, side effects  WebMD
  8. Hubbard WK, 2004, Letter Updating the Phosphatidylserine and Cognitive Function and Dementia Qualified Health Claim  US Food and Drug Administration
  9. Crook T et al, 1009, Effects of phosphatidylserine in Alzheimer’s disease  PubMed
  10. Heiss WD et al, 1994, Long-term effects of phosphatidylserine, pyritinol, and cognitive training in Alzheimer’s disease. A neuropsychological, EEG, and PET investigation PubMed

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