Monday, May 13, 2013

Omega-3 Fats - Building Block of Brain and memory


Omega-3 Fats
Building Block of Brain and memory
Omega-3 Fats- Reversing Many Aspects of Neurologic Aging
The cardio protective power of omega-3 fatty acids has been thoroughly documented in clinical literature. Less well known is their paramount role in optimizing many facets of brain function, from depression, cognition, and memory to mental health.
Recent research has opened up a new horizon in our understanding of omega-3s’ profound ability to halt age-related decline and pathology, shattering the long-held medical belief that brain shrinkage and nerve cell death is progressive and irreversible. Omega-3s have been shown to possess antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. 
Omega-3 - Key Nutrient from the Cradle to the Grave
Approximately 8% of the brain’s weight is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids—the building block for an estimated 100 billion neurons.  They play a host of vital roles in neuronal structure and function, protecting them from oxidative damage, inflammation, and the cumulative destruction inflicted by other chronic insults.
Embedded in the omega-3-rich neuronal membrane are numerous proteins and complex molecules required for electrochemical transmission and signal reception.  Scientists have recently shown that the precise balance of fatty acids in brain cells helps determine whether a given nerve cell will be protected against injury or inflammation, or whether it will instead succumb to the injury.
Omega-3s accumulate in the human brain during fetal development. The amount of the omega-3  has been closely tied to intelligence and cognitive performance in infancy and childhood.  Early developmental deficits in brain content of omega-3s have been associated with poor brain maturation and neurocognitive dysfunction.  These are manifested especially in the area of attention, increasing the risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral disturbances. Later in life, declining levels of Omega-3 fats may contribute to development of aggression, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, and a variety of other mental health and even criminal conditions.
Scientists are having great success at reversing many of the fundamental age-related decreases in brain function correlated with omega-3 deficiency.  ADHD and related conditions can be prevented or mitigated by supplementing infants and nursing mothers with Omega-3.   A remarkable animal study has just revealed that omega-3 fatty acids halt the age-related loss of brain cell receptors vital to memory production, and show potential for increasing neuronal growth.
Omega-3 - A Natural Crime Fighter?
Recent findings suggest that some criminal and aggressive behaviors are closely correlated with low serum omega-3 levels, which are linked to lower levels of honesty, and self-discipline. These effects may be related to alterations in serotonin turnover, which controls impulsivity and aggression-hostility behaviors.
There’s solid data indicating that optimal omega-3 intake at all ages is a promising avenue for subduing aggression and hostility.  For example,  omega-3 supplementation in autistic children with severe tantrums, aggression, or self-injurious behavior produced significant improvements compared with placebo, without adverse effects.  And stressed but otherwise healthy volunteers given  Omega-3 Fats  reported a significantly improved rate of stress reduction, suggesting an adaptogenic role for omega-3s (adaptogens help the body respond to imposed stress in a variety of ways).
In a group of drug abusers, supplementation with  Omega-3 Fats 3 months produced significant decreases in anger and anxiety scores compared to placebo recipients. Similarly, in young adult prison inmates, multi-supplements featuring omega-3s produced significant reductions in antisocial, violent, aggressive, and transgressive (rule-breaking) behavior.
Omega-3 – Cures Cognitive Decline and Memory Disorders
Omega-3 intake is strongly associated with many different measures of cognition and memory in numerous studies, and there’s compelling evidence for potent neuroprotection over long time periods.  Insufficient omega-3 intake is strongly correlated with diminished adaptability of brain synapses and impaired learning and memory.  People with lower omega-3 levels may be more likely to suffer from a host of cognitive impairments including dyslexia, ADHD, and cognitive decline.
Laboratory studies shed light on these observations, suggesting that omega-3 supplementation may enhance brain function through increased production of the membrane-rich neurites required for new synapse formation. Other protective and cognition-enhancing effects include improved neuronal cell membrane characteristics resulting in enhanced neurotransmission, increased synaptic release of vital neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and neuroprotection from inflammation and oxidant-related damage including those induced by antipsychotic medications. 
In healthy adults, increased omega-3 intake is positively associated with greater brain volume in regions associated with emotional arousal and regulation of behavior. People who get more omega-3s have bigger, more functional brains.
Summary
Omega-3 fatty acids exert profound anti-aging effects on brain structure and function, from cognition and memory to mental health and Alzheimer’s prevention. They have recently been associated with increased volume of the brain’s gray matter, especially in those regions associated with happiness, and they also boost intelligence through enhanced function from birth onwards. They support brain cell structure, increase the production of vital neurotransmitters and suppress oxidative and inflammatory damage. Diet high in omega-3 fats have been shown to yield significant improvements in symptoms of depression, aggression, and other mental disorders, as well as protection against early cognitive decline and even early memory disorders.

Source of Essential Omega-3 Fats – Flaxseeds
Ways to include flaxseed in home cooking
§  Mix ground flaxseeds into your hot or cold milk.
§  To pump up the nutritional volume of your breakfast shake, add ground flaxseeds.
§  Add flaxseeds to your homemade chapatti or bread recipe.
§  To give cooked vegetables a nuttier flavor, sprinkle some ground flaxseeds on top of them.
§  Add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to smoothies.
§  How much should be taken in a day - The recommended daily dose for most people are approx. 30-50 gm.

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