Brain Protection from Omega-3 Fatty Acids Plus Several Other Health Benefits
You may not realize this, but your brain comes with its own “bodyguard” of sorts – called the Blood Brain Barrier. Researchers have found one way we can help keep this barrier strong.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a network of blood vessels that allow the entry of essential nutrients into the brain while blocking other, more harmful, substances such as blood-borne bacteria and toxins. New research has discovered that a nutrient, known for its protection against heart disease, may also be critical in maintaining the BBB.
Chenghua Gu, an associate professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School has found that the blood-brain barrier remains closed by suppressing transcytosis – a process for transporting molecules across cells in vesicles, or small bubbles. Lipids (or fats) are important in this process – especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3’s are essential to the diet and play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. Foods rich in omega-3’s include fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
Dr. Gu has found that Mfsd2a is a transporter protein that moves DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) into the cell membrate. Without this transporter protein, lab mice were found to have leaky blood brain barriers.
Other Health Benefits from Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Getting adequate amounts of Omega-3’s are important for health and may help with the following conditions:
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