Is Phosphatidylserine Safe For Cushing’s Dogs?

What is Phosphatidylserine?

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a lipid compound called a phospholipid that covers and protects cells. Produced both naturally in the body and in foods or plants, you can find PS as a human supplement that promotes brain health and cell function. Lately, it’s been looked at for properties that could impact dogs with Cushing’s disease.

Phosphatidylserine and Cushing’s Disease

So, is Phosphatidylserine safe for Cushings dogs? A study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that “PS supplementation promotes a desired hormonal status for athletes by blunting increases in cortisol levels.” The impact of this for Cushing’s disease in dogs is something startling. PS can potentially help slow the production of ACHT, the chemical that makes the adrenal gland produce corticosteroids. For a Cushing’s dog, overproduction of corticosteroids is the root problem. Blunting ACHT production means addressing the root cause of the disease.

Using Phosphatidylserine for Cushing’s

With the move towards holistic care for both humans and pets, many pet parents are turning to new options instead of the long-touted chemo drugs given to relieve Cushing’s disease in dogs. A natural supplement can address Cushing’s symptoms with little to no side effects using elements like PS, melatonin, and HMR lignans. Combining these three natural compounds creates a healing triangle that addresses the steroid overproduction in Cushing’s dog. PS is an integral part of this. Phosphatidylserine has been shown to increase the absorption of melatonin, which can also work to stop overproduction of corticosteroids.

Sources of supplemental Phosphatidylserine once came from bovine sources. However, concerns about diseases like mad cow in the 1990’s prompted a new way to harvest the phospholipid compound. New sources of PS are soy derived, according to PubChem, a research directory produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

By reducing the production of ACTH in a dog’s body through Phosphatidylserine, you reduce the production of corticosteroids in a different but complimentary way than from how lignans and melatonin work (by interfering with the “ingredients” that the dog’s body uses to make corticosteroids), thus increasing the benefit. PS decreases both the demand for corticosteroids and a dog’s ability to make them.

Phosphatidylserine in Cushing’s Supplements for Dogs

Many dogs suffering from Cushing’s symptoms can find relief through a nutraceutical, or natural supplement. Naturally-occurring compounds can effectively blunt corticosteroids without the use of side-effect laden chemo drugs.

One supplement, a nutraceutical named CushAway addresses the PS findings in a new way. While HMR lignans and melatonin are more common in nutraceuticals for Cushing’s dogs, the addition of Phosphatidylserine to CushAway’s formula is unique. This natural element works complimentary to the lignans and melatonin to halt corticosteroid production. Not only is Phosphatidylserine safe for Cushings dogs, it’s proven quite beneficial.

CushAway was developed in the wake of a beloved pet’s passing. After years of refining, CushAway serves the pet community in helping pet parents find a natural choice for Cushing’s symptoms. While the disease can never truly be “cured,” many have found relief for their fur babies.

Owner of All Those Left Behind Pet Rescue, Gina Bartucci, used CushAway to help her Cushing’s dogs. “Thanks to the CushAway, we saw a night and day difference,” Bartucci shared. She had been on a Cushing’s journey with her own fur baby, Oz, and turned to a holistic approach for his care. When a vet recommended CushAway for her shelter pups, she was ready to give it a try. “Had we found the product sooner from what we had seen from the other two dogs, we think it could have been her miracle,” she said.

Phosphatidylserine is a piece of the Cushing’s puzzle that can address the root cause of Cushing’s disease. CushAway uniquely offers this as part of our supplement because we believe every Cushing’s dog deserves relief and vitality. We offer free bottles of our product to shelters and give a discount to pet parents adopting fur babies with Cushing’s. Read more about our story here.

Phosphatidylserine for Dogs with Cushing’s Disease

Phosphatidylserine for Dogs:  This powerful natural lipid helps stop the root causes of Cushing’s Disease

When a dog suffers from Cushing’s disease, their normal body function is disrupted. After being diagnosed, the owner can choose several ways to treat the symptoms, though the disease itself has no known permanent cure. Potent chemotherapy drugs are often prescribed, even in the early stages of the disease. These chemicals can help with symptoms, but also carry a wide risk of side effects. Because of these risks, many pet owners are choosing a more natural approach, with supplements that control symptoms and are gentler on a dog’s body.

CushAway is a nutraceutical, or natural supplement that helps combat Cushing’s symptoms at the root cause—corticosteroid overproduction. It uses a combination of three main components: HMR Lignans, Melatonin, and Phosphatidylserine (PS) to help control a dog’s steroid overproduction. While the first two ingredients are more common in nutraceuticals, the addition of Phosphatidylserine to CushAway’s formula is unique. This natural element works complimentary to the lignans and melatonin to halt corticosteroid production.

Phosphatidylserine For Humans

In human studies, Phosphatidylserine has been shown to blunt the production of ACTH, the chemical that signals the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroids. This was shown specifically in people whose bodies were subjected to the stress of sustained exercise. Those who took a supplement of PS regained energy faster and their body showed signs of better handling the stress.

Phosphatidylserine For Dogs

Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid-a compound that allows for easy absorption in the body. PS is also known to increase the absorption and effectiveness of melatonin, which also helps to stop a dog’s overproducing adrenal glands. By reducing the production of ACTH you reduce the production of corticosteroids in a different but complimentary way that the lignans and melatonin work (by interfering with the “ingredients” that the dog’s body uses to make corticosteroids) thus increasing the benefit. For dogs, Phosphatidylserine decreases both the demand for corticosteroids and the dog’s ability to make them.

With three main ingredients working in tandem to reduce or eliminate Cushing’s symptoms, PS is an effective component of the triangle. Combined with a probiotic to increase absorption of each supplement, CushAway offers a natural way to reduce risk and address Cushing’s symptoms at the root of the adrenal problems dog’s face. As more research comes to light, Phosphatidylserine is clearly a natural powerhouse to help reduce the effects of Cushing’s so your dog can move towards a thriving life once again.

The Story of CushAway

It Started with a Best Friend

One morning I let Scrappy, my loyal and loving companion, outside. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. She couldn’t lift her feet and was dragging her paws so much they were curled under her legs. I grabbed her up into my arms and rushed to the emergency weekend vet, convinced I was losing my best friend. We’d been through a lot in over a decade, and she was only 12 years old.

The diagnosis was pancreatitis; she had gotten into a taco left out on the coffee table and it made her gravely ill. They weren’t sure she would make it.

She did, but the vet told me this illness had an underlying cause: Cushing’s disease. My dog’s internal systems were producing too much of the corticosteroids cortisone and cortisol and they were wreaking havoc on my poor dog’s health. My doctor said although her Cushing’s wasn’t terrible, it was severe enough we needed to treat it. They suggested what was at the time the prevailing treatment, mitotane. We would need to let her fully recover from the pancreatitis first though since the treatment could be hard on her. That idea didn’t sit well with me, so I decided to do some research.

Cushing’s Disease with A Pharma Solution?

Conventional pharmaceutical treatments for Cushing’s disease are essentially chemotherapy drugs mitotane and lysodrene. In fact, lysodrene was used in the United States as a human cancer treatment until it was voluntarily removed from the market by its maker. The drug toxically affects the adrenal gland, poisoning it so that it can’t make as many corticosteroids. While they can be effective, they carry some pretty scary side effects including Addisonian crisis (a complete failure of the adrenal that causes even more serious maladies) and even sudden death. After coming so close to losing my best friend, I just wasn’t comfortable with taking the chance I could lose her because of the treatment for Cushing’s.

I began my quest to find another way to help Scrappy with something that had minimal chances of negatively affecting her. At the time using supplements to help Cushing’s disease was in its infancy on the internet; one of the first things I discovered wasn’t even related to dogs. I found several men’s health articles that described how a compound called phosphatidylserine could blunt the production of corticosteroids in athletes, so I gave it a try. To my pleasure and surprise, it really helped her—for a while.

In many dogs, Cushing’s disease is a progressive disease; one that only gets worse as time goes on. The phosphatidylserine helped Scrappy for a couple of years, but now it wasn’t enough.

Out of options, we tried the mitotane. It failed. A sonogram confirmed that Scrappy had possibly cancerous tumors on her adrenal glands that would likely end her life in months. My vet suggested that we either let her go (euthanize) or just try and make her comfortable until the cancerous tumors ruptured and she died. I promised I would make her happy and comfortable during the time she had left which thankfully turned out to be years.

The Discovery of CushAway

Back to my research I went, spending hours upon hours scouring the internet, reading articles, joining forums, and chatting online. Soon after, I found Dr. Jack’s work on lignans and melatonin, a treatment many found to be successful. I also began to read several theories that Cushing’s disease was on some level an autoimmune disorder and the immune system was heavily dependent on beneficial bacteria that many dogs didn’t have enough of. I abandoned the phosphatidylserine treatment and put Scrappy on lignans and melatonin and it really helped her for a while.

As Scrappy’s disease progressed, the lignans and melatonin therapy stopped working as well. Her Cushing’s had progressed until it was really severe. We were out of options. And then it happened.

I ordered phosphatidylserine, melatonin and lignans from Amazon and combined them with organic peanut butter and powered cheddar cheese to make the first rudimentary CushAway.

The panting stopped first, then the crazy water drinking, and eventually, even her appetite that had been voracious for years, started to normalize. Was it working? Her skin, thin and weak with no elasticity for years started to improve. Her coat’s thin and bare spots, there for years, started to grow back. She even started to have more strength in her legs and hips, and her mobility, even at her advanced age (now about 16 years old) improved as well. I was also giving her probiotics to build up her gut health.

A visit to the vet left him taken aback. Critical blood work numbers had plummeted close to normal range. My vet wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained my basic CushAway treatment he said, “you ought to make this into a product.” I laughed it off—at first.

Creating to Share

I wanted to share the idea behind CushAway everywhere I could (I still do), but measuring powdered ingredients and working the portions into a palatable mixture of peanut butter and cheese was more than the average pet owner could handle. As a chef, it was second nature to me. Could I make this into a product? I started to explore.

I found a manufacturer of human supplements that would help, but with a cost. I discovered that to make a marketable CushAway a reality, I was going to have to invest more than a year’s salary into lawyers, a website, manufacturing the product, and so on. My wife and I talked about it a lot. Finally, we decided that it was something that needed to be done. It was a product that needed to be out there for people who found themselves where we did with Scrappy. We wanted to help people who desired the safest yet effective treatment for their dog’s Cushing’s disease.

CushAway: More than a Dream

It’s been a leap of faith, but after two years of test marketing, we’ve seen the reactions from people whose pets we’ve helped, and we know we’ve done the right thing. Scrappy’s legacy continues when we pass on the treatment that helped her live a full 19 years. CushAway was a need, then a dream, then a hope and now, it’s a reality.