Kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may benefit from taking phosphatidylserine (PS), even though many have no hopes of spelling it. A new study suggests that daily doses of the supplement creates significant improvement, even over a short period of time. The study can be found in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

Phosphatidylserine is a nutrient found in organs with high metabolic activity, like lungs, heart, brains and skeletal muscle. It's one of the nutrients most critical to brain function. The best dietary sources of the stuff are cow brains and Atlantic mackerel, neither favorites among the kiddies whether they have ADHD or not. In the study, 36 children between the ages of four and 14 were given PS in supplement form at a dose of 200 mg per day per two months. PS supplements are now routinely sourced from soy after the mad cow scare shifted sources from cow brains; the two sources are said to be molecularly identical.

The researchers concluded that the supplement significantly improved ADHD symptoms and short-term auditory memory in children. They wrote that “PS supplementation might be a safe and natural nutritional strategy for improving mental performance in young children suffering from ADHD.”

“Phospholipid deficiencies are linked to impairments in neuronal structure and function, especially during early development,” wrote lead researcher, T. Hirayama. “Dietary deficiency in essential fatty acids and phospholipids during childhood may increase the risk of developing ADHD-type symptoms....correcting underlying imbalances through PS supplementation may be an important treatment strategy in cases where deficiency exists." The research confirms results from an earlier pilot study.

In an unrelated earlier study, phosphatidylserine supplementation improved the performance of college students during a calculus test, though they couldn't spell it either.