T Nation

Topical Phosphatidylserine


Does anyone have any experience/knowledge of using phosphatidylserine in a cream form for helping to regulate cortisol? I recently read an article on the Precision Nutrition website that mentioned the topical PPS being a way to get a large dose of PPS with a lower cost (precisionnutrition.com/what-do-the-adrenal-glands-do). These are two products I was able to find:



I can't find any information about the dose of PPS in the creams so that I can compare it to the pill forms, but if anyone has used these before with success, I'd like to hear about it.


I have recently gotten addicted to PPS, it would be awesome to save some cash with a transdermal. I think its a good sign the cortisol balance product mentions the 800 mg dose.

In addition, anyone have any ideas if a PPS transdermal would have any localized effect on fat deposits due to chronically high cortisol? I dont know the pathway through which cortisol causes central abdominal fat but sounds interesting if it is something that might be possible to reverse.

Sorry to the OP I have more questions and no answers lol.


I'm betting you'd have to slather that stuff on to get any benefit.

I'll stick to my PS pills post-workout.


The effect of PS on reducing cortisol has nothing to do with anything local to the skin. Rather, the mechanism is believed to be modulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, perhaps by affecting interactions with the corticotrophin releasing factor receptor, and/or by reducing release of arginine vasopressin.

Which requires delivery into the bloodstream.

I'm unaware of any documented or rational reason to expect transdermal bioavailability in this instance to be better than oral.

That generally is only even possibly the case when oral bioavailability is poor.

I have never seen a figure for PS, but I have seen it characterized in the literature both as having good and as having high bioavailability.

Therefore I expect you'd have to apply at least as much, and perhaps far more, to the skin to get equal effect on cortisol production. And since the amount that can be delivered per square inch will be quite small, it would take applying the cream to quite a large area, I expect. Perhaps most or all of the body.


This would get some funny looks in the locker room. Maybe put on some boy george and do it in a thong in front of the mirror.


I was hoping you'd see this thread, Bill. Thanks for the response.


You're welcome!


I'm not sure if you read the article today (tnation.tmuscle.com/jumpLast.do?id=3228553), but the interviewee (Dr. Bryan Walsh) actually recomended topical PS claiming it "help(s) deliver higher levels without the side effects." I agree with your points and don't understand what he's talking about. Perplexing. I'll post a question in the discussion thread for that article and let you know if I find anything interesting out.


what negative sides?


From Dr. Walsh (in the Article Discussion):

"I should have mentioned that gram dosages of PS can cause joint swelling and some other undesirable symptoms. Therefore I use a compounded topical PS cream to help deliver higher levels without the side effects. Compounding pharmacists have been making topical delivery creams for some time, but they are sometimes difficult to come by."


In response to Bill Roberts first post in this thread, Dr. Walsh also said in the Article Discussion:

"Firstly let me share my utmost respect for Bill Roberts. I've followed his work for probably about 10 years now and appreciate his knowledge, ability to convey complex information and willingness to share it with others. He's an asset to the bodybuilding and weightlifting world.

I'm not an expert in pharmacology. I'm a clinician who spends the bulk of my time with patients. Any free time I have is generally dedicated to researching and learning ways of helping patients get better, faster, but with all the information available, it's never quite enough.

As for transdermal PS, compounding pharmacists have the technology available to them to get many different compounds through the skin. Botanicals, vitamins, hormones - they can all be applied on the skin and supposedly get into the bloodstream. Again, this isn't my area of expertise, so I leave it to people that know more than I.

What I can tell you is that I've seen a faster, more dramatic lowering of cortisol, as per adrenal salivary testing, when I started using transdermal PS than when I used oral. There is approximately 600mg of PS per 1/2 tsp of product. I've never seen studies on how much gets through, but I'd love to. I was very untrusting of it myself until I started using it on patients and seeing results.

Oral is fine for mg dosages. But when you start to get into the gram range, there can be negative side effects, and it's a little pricey. Until published research is available, my 'research' is in the clinic and what I see working best for patients."