DHA and nervous system health

The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in the nervous system health is having an increasing interest. Fossil studies in Africa have shown that skulls from savanna inhabitants (were the main food sources were meat and grasses), were smaller in size to those found in coastal areas (were seafood was also part of the diet). These observations lead to the working hypotheses that introduction of omega-3 in the diet and especially of DHA, was the turning point in the evolution which lead towards a rational and intelligent human being. Up to 50-60% of the brain’s weight are lipids (fats) from which 35-40% are DHA, with hardly no EPA (<1%). Therefore, from a structural viewpoint, DHA is with no doubt the key omega-3 fatty acid in the brain.

DHA is a ‘raw material’ needed for the formation of the neuronal network (‘electric cabling in the brain’) and its intake increases the speed at which the nervous impulse is transmitted (of great interest in concentration alterations). In addition, DHA (and possibly to some extent EPA) seem to be involved in the modulation of several neurotransmitters (ie. serotonin, dopamine etc), being a nutrient of great interest in many neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

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