Ergogenic Supplements: Phosphatidylserine
Could phosphatidylserine be the next big ergogenic aid for endurance athletes?
Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring lipid, which is located on the inner surface of cell membranes in most tissues of animals and plants and which is also found in micro-organisms. But according to a team of Welsh scientists, it could also have potential to enhance endurance capacity when taken as a supplement.
In this study, the Swansea team examined the effect of 750mg of soybean-derived phosphatidylserine, supplemented for 10 days, on the exercise capacity, rate of oxygen uptake and the perceived rate of exertion during exhaustive intermittent exercise in 14 male cyclists.
The subjects were split into two groups; those taking phosphatidylserine and those taking a placebo. After 10 days, both groups then completed a staged exercise test consisting of three 10-minute stages of cycling at 45, 55, and 65% VO2max, followed by a final bout at 85% VO2max, which was continued until exhaustion. After a 16-day ‘washout’ period, the supplementation and testing protocol was repeated a second time. Breath-by-breath respiratory data and heart rate were continually recorded throughout the exercise, and blood samples were obtained before, during and after.
Although there was no difference in the rate of oxygen uptake or perceived exertion between the two groups, those taking the phosphatidylserine experienced a dramatic increase in the time to exhaustion at 85% VO2max – up from an average of 7mins 51secs to 9mins 51secs. This is the first study to report improved exercise capacity after phosphatidylserine supplementation, so the possible mechanisms for this effect are as yet unclear. However, these findings do suggest that phosphatidylserine might possess ergogenic properties.
Med Sci Sports Exerc 2006; 38(1):64-71
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