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Lipids are good for the brain

View of a human brain
View of a human brain
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The concept of being able to boost the health of the brain with good nutrition is really very exciting. New research shows lipids boost the brain reported Science Daily on Aug. 8, 2014. The consumption of oils which are high in polyunsaturated fatty acid content, in particular those lipids which contain omega-3s, is beneficial for the health.

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The mechanisms which are responsible for the phenomenon of beneficial effects of lipids on the brain have not been well understood. Researchers have pursued an investigation of the effect of lipids which bear polyunsaturated chains when they are integrated into cell membranes. The researchers have observed the presence of these lipids makes the membranes more malleable and therefore they become more sensitive to deformation and fission by proteins.

In order for a cell to function well the membrane must be able to deform and divide into small vesicles. The phenomenon by which this occurs is called endocytosis. These synaptic vesicles act as a transmission pathway to the synapse for nerve messages in neurons. After forming inside the cell they move to its exterior and fuse with its membrane in order to transmit the neurotransmitters which they contain. In a process called synaptic recycling they than reform in less than a tenth of a second.

This research shows that cells or artificial membranes which are rich in polyunsaturated lipids are a great deal more sensitive to the action of two proteins, dynamin and endophilin. These two proteins facilitate membrane deformation and fission. Research suggests these lipids also make the membranes more malleable. The presence of polyunsaturated lipids may explain rapid synaptic vesicle recycling via facilitating the deformation and scission which is needed for endocytosis.

Therefore the presence of these lipids in the brain in abundance could represent a major advantage for cognitive function. This research has been published in the journal Science. It has been concluded that by decreasing the energetic cost of membrane bending and fission polyunsaturated phospholipids may help to support rapid endocytosis.

What we are seeing is that lipids really do boost the brain reports CNRS. This research has clarified an understanding of why consuming oils which are high in polyunsaturated fatty acid content, in particular those containing omega-3s, is good for brain health. A good source of omega-3 is cold water oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Eating more of this type of fish may really improve brain health.

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