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Phosphorylated Serine May Help Take Care Of Insomnia

An image of the elemental composition of serineElevated cortisol levels may result in numerous health issues like chronic sleeplessness, weight gain, acne, blood pressure issues, and irritability. The causes of these elevated cortisol levels may include constant exposure to stress, problems with your pituitary gland, adrenal health issues, and even result from medications you may use. Phosphorylated serine, however, may help reduce your cortisol levels, insomnia, and other possible health issues.

What is Phosphorylated Serine?

Serine is a non-essential amino acid that each of us naturally produces in our bodies. It plays an important role in many proteins and, together with an alcohol group, helps with the metabolism of fatty acids as well as playing a role in maintaining healthy cell membranes, with muscle growth, and your immune system.

The term ‘phosphorylation’ refers to the addition of a phosphate to a serine molecule or another organic compound. So, essentially, phosphorylated serine refers to serine with an added phosphate.

Now, when looking for a phosphorylated serine supplement, you may come across phosphatidylserine. The latter consists of a single phosphorylated serine molecule combined with two fatty acids and one glycerol molecule. But here is the thing: when you consume phosphatidylserine, your body breaks it up into its different constituents before absorption and then reassembles them when it needs the compound.

On the other hand, by taking a phosphorylated serine supplement, no breakdown occurs and, what is more, it stimulates your body’s phosphatidylserine production, is much cheaper, and works more quickly and effectively. A phosphatidylserine supplement does not offer these advantages.

Phosphorylated Serine May Help Address Insomnia And Hormone-Related Issues

Your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, together with your thyroid, thymus, pancreas, ovary in females as well as the placenta when pregnant, and testicles in males, form your endocrine system. These produce a variety of hormones that affect various body systems.

As such, the HPA is responsible for your body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. So, when you experience stress, your HPA initiates a series of responses whereby the NEM springs into action to protect your body. Here we see an increase in cortisol production, for example, as well as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, amongst others. Please note that cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone.

You may also see a decline or complete ceasing of certain body functions that your body does not need for your immediate survival. In the long term, however, this constant NEM response could lead to several health issues common in those suffering from adrenal fatigue. These health issues are usually the result of your adrenal glands constantly prodded to produce increasing elevated cortisol levels until, finally, they can no longer do so. When the latter stages of adrenal fatigue set in, you would commonly see a decline in cortisol production which also has its own set of negative symptoms.

One of the most common symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue is hormone imbalance. Insomnia is another.

What Causes Insomnia?

Each of us has our sleep covered by what is known as the circadian sleep rhythm. Our brain, pre-programmed to start feeling sleepy when nighttime sets in, is also programmed to wake up when dawn arrives. Yet many people have a disturbance in their circadian rhythm due to working night shifts, from watching a lot of television, or from spending hours in front of a computer screen. You see, a television screen and computer screen both give off blue light which stimulates serotonin production. In so doing, it slows down or even halts your brain’s melatonin production. Because of this, we tend to find it difficult to go to sleep.

An image of a stressed out man pinching the bridge of his nose while working at a laptopYou may ask what this has to do with adrenal fatigue? Well, the scenarios mentioned all put stress on your body. In other words, if you already suffer from adrenal fatigue, you add to your stress due to your work, television, and computer habits. Furthermore, high cortisol production tends to harm your melatonin production. For normal sleeping habits, both these hormones need to co-exist in a state of balance.

Your cortisol levels tend to be higher during daylight hours and lower during the night. This, of course, is under normal circumstances when heightened stress levels are not an issue. And the higher cortisol levels usually keep us up and running during the daylight hours. Then, during normal situations, your cortisol production drops off during the evening, your melatonin production rises, and you sleep easily.

During periods of high stress, you often find it difficult to sleep because of the constantly elevated cortisol levels experienced. And if you do fall asleep, you may find yourself waking up during the night and have difficulty falling asleep again. As mentioned, this situation arises due to the constant increase in cortisol production in your adrenal glands which results in lower melatonin production.

Interestingly, your melatonin levels tend to go down as you age, and you may often find older people needing less sleep. But this natural occurrence does not necessarily mean they suffer from adrenal fatigue.

Phosphorylated Serine and Cortisol Levels

Phosphorylated serine can lower your body’s high cortisol levels when it finds it difficult in regulating hormone production. This could result from periods of high stress, for example. The supplement helps with neurotransmitter function and helps maintain cell structure integrity as well as the plasticity of your neuronal cell membranes. In other words, it helps the brain function properly while telling it to protect healthy cells while getting rid of cortisol. In so doing, it helps you to calm down and, at the same time, allows your brain to produce natural quantities of melatonin so that you can sleep properly.

At the same time, the drop in cortisol levels will give your body the rest, and time, it needs to repair itself while your adrenals get the time it needs to recover from over-exertion. We are talking about a win-win situation.

As a point of interest, research done on college athletes looked at the blood labs before as well as after intensive exercise when taking a phosphatidylserine supplement. Remember, phosphatidylserine is made from phosphorylated serine.

In this study, they found the athletes showed a marked drop in cortisol levels when taking the supplement immediately after exercising. Furthermore, they tended to calm down quicker and able to engage in exercise faster than those given a placebo. Their blood labs also showed a marked cortisol reduction.

Studies show that taking this type of supplement for as little as ten days could dramatically reduce your cortisol levels. These studies do not go on longer for three months, but this period saw no adverse side effects. So, it may seem safe to say that this type of supplement could help support adrenal fatigue sufferers, depending on their stage of the condition.

But what about those with insomnia?

Phosphorylated Serine and Insomnia

Because phosphorylated serine helps with modulating cortisol production and thus encouraging melatonin production, it could very well assist in not only your recovery from adrenal fatigue but also help you sleep better, faster, and longer. In so doing, it may help re-establish a positive circadian rhythm that sees your body getting the rest it needs to heal. At the same time, the burden on your adrenal glands lessens, thereby helping them to rest, recover from the period of stress, and normalize. At the end of the day, the different imbalances in your body may also normalize.

Other Natural Ways Of Combating Insomnia

If your insomnia stems from overtaxed adrenal glands, there is much you can do to remedy the situation.

Lifestyle Changes

An image of an older couple walking in the woods with their dogStrange as it may seem, exercise helps address adrenal fatigue and even sleeping issues. But when taking on exercise, do not opt for anything strenuous, as this could worsen the condition. Rather opt for low-impact exercises like a brisk walk. The latter helps regulate breathing and helps strengthen your core muscles while not adding stress to joints and bones.

You could also, if overweight, try going on a diet. Obesity not only harms adrenal health but may contribute to the development of several health issues associated with adrenal fatigue. These include, amongst others, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.


Diet plays a large role in preventing or combating adrenal fatigue and even insomnia. Point of fact, many of us have a serine deficiency due to not eating correctly. Serine is found in nuts, lentils, meat, seafood like shellfish, eggs, meat, and soybeans. But you also need to incorporate a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. This is because these foods contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients necessary for your continued wellbeing as well as your adrenal health.

But the correct diet does not only incorporate the foods mentioned. It also means one where the use of sugar and processed foods, in any form, is either limited or cut out entirely. These tend to create stress and promote a state of imbalance in your body on many different levels.

Other Supplements

Those in the healthcare industry tend to address insomnia utilizing sleeping pills, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety drugs. While they may help you with your sleep issue, please do remember that many of these drugs tend to have side effects. These include a loss in libido or even erectile dysfunction in men. Please resort to these as a last resort. Natural supplements tend not to have many of the effects on the human system as so many man-made drugs.


A melatonin supplement may help increase your melatonin levels, but it does not reduce your cortisol levels. However, it could help improve your circadian rhythm. Do remember, though, that melatonin only stays in your system for about four hours. Furthermore, a high dosage could interfere disrupt your melatonin/cortisol ration and result in your cortisol levels being lower than your melatonin levels during the day. This could result in you feeling less energized or even tired.


The smell of lavender tends to relax you, slows your heart rate and blood pressure, and even lowers your body’s temperature. These effects are conducive to setting the stage for a good night’s rest. So, try placing a few drops of lavender on your pillowcase before going to sleep when insomnia strikes.


Valerian may help raise your levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is one of your brain’s neurotransmitters. Higher GABA levels may boost relaxation and help address insomnia. Do be careful, however, as some side effects include headaches and stomach issues.


Kava may help with sleep issues because it helps address anxiety caused by stress. Do be careful, however, as incidents of liver damage have been reported with prolonged use or when taking high doses.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is high in apigenin, and antioxidant with a calming effect. Working on brain cell receptors, it helps with relaxation and sleep. Although considered safe, it can, however, interact with certain medications.

A Word of Caution When Considering Supplements of Any Kind

No matter how safe you may believe a supplement, always only opt for them after talking to a qualified healthcare practitioner. Many supplements considered safe tend to interact with other supplements or medications. They may also negatively affect your health depending on your stage of adrenal fatigue. Your healthcare professional is best suited to advise you on whether a supplement is suitable for you, and the dose.

Also, if suffering from insomnia, please have your labs checked to see whether higher cortisol levels are the problem. This would help you decide on the course of action needed to address the issue and to find out whether a supplement like phosphorylated serine would work for you. Don't try phosphorylated serine without first getting your cortisol levels checked and make sure you're able to tolerate an adequate dose because it's also dose-dependent.

Sometimes phosphorylated serine has to be taken throughout the day rather than only at night to help with anxiousness or sleep.

I have personally formulated our own brand of phosphorylated serine called Adrenal PS. This is a phosphorylated serine blend that not only promotes better sleep but also provides major adrenal support to help balance cortisol levels. Adrenal PS contains vital ingredients that help battle stress with a synergistic blend of nutrients and minerals. Do remember, phosphorylated serine is the active form. Phosphatidylserine, on the other hand, is the precursor. Always consult a healthcare practitioner before starting this supplement.


If insomnia is an issue, here are a few things you can do to help alleviate the situation.

An image of a woman wearing a mask and her doctor showing her something on a screen

  1. Determine whether higher cortisol levels cause the issue.
  2. Explore the use of different supplements like phosphorylated serine with your primary healthcare provider.
  3. Make lifestyle and dietary changes that may help with the situation.

If you would like to know more about or need assistance with phosphorylated serine for insomnia, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Many factors contribute to the development of adrenal fatigue. But, because phosphorylated serine address cortisol levels, it may not, as such, cure adrenal fatigue. It does, however, supply adrenal support depending on your stage of the condition. So, simply put, the supplement can aid in your recovery.

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