Brain Health IV: The Fatty Acid Balance and Formula for Anti-Inflammatory Brain Health

February 08, 2011

Brain Health IV:  The Fatty Acid Balance and Formula for Anti-Inflammatory Brain Health 

Reference:  Building Brain Nutrition Michael Schmidt PhD 2007 Pub Frog Ltd Competency:  Brain Health 

Here is your checklist in review so far.  Next week we will finish with supplements to add to the final mix.  This is what we have talked about “so far”. 

 1.  You must exercise every day.  Your brain is dependent on it.  Just do it.  20 minutes and sweaty in better. 

 2.  Your brain is made of a crucial balance of fats.  The type of fat is critical.  Your tongue is not discerning and many things that taste fatty and delicious are wickedly dangerous for you. 

      a.  Very Dangerous: 

                  i.Trans fats: Avoid French fries, Tortilla chips, mayonnaise, margarine, whipped topping, potato         chips, cookies, puffed cheese snacks, chicken nuggets, cake icing 

                  ii.Saturated fat:  Avoid corn fed meat, bacon, lard, refried beans, skin of chicken.  If it looks good on your bird feeder, it isn’t good for your brain 

      b.Foods with Omega-3 Fats that are Good For You 

                  i.Fish: anchovies, deep sea fish like tuna and mackerel, salmon, haddock, herring, krill, cod, snapper, trout…scallops 

                  ii.Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios 

                  iii.Chia seeds, flax seed, pumpkin seeds 

       c.Good Omega – 6 Fats 

                   i.Borage oil and Primrose oil have high concentrations of good healthy omega-6 fatty acids called GLA (gamma linolenic acid) that also make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins in the E1 family (anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, pain killer) 

       d.Healthy Brain Membrane Food 

                     i.Eggs, particularly organic, have phosphatidyl serine and choline in them.  Soy also has it too.  As do sunflower seeds

       e.     Antioxidant support:  Gamma Delta Vitamin E 100 mg a day   

 WWW: What will work for me.  It’s all in the balance of these fats.  Our brains are meant to be roughly 40% omega-three fatty acids (DHA and EPA) by dry weight or 16% wet weight.  That’s a huge amount of our brain substance.  Our brain membranes aren’t very discriminating and will substitute omega-6 fatty acids instead.  Albeit it small, the difference between the two may be huge in that our brain nurse cells called glial cells can convert omega 3 and omega 6 to either anti-inflammatory or inflammatory prostaglandins.  There is evidence that our abundance of omega-6 fats have shifted the balance of 3:6 in our brain from a 40:60 ratio to a 20:80 ratio in extreme cases.  Of course this hasn’t been studied prospectively so it’s just interesting information for now, but it correlates with the rise in much brain disease in our society.   My formula:  3 grams a day of fish oil, 1.5 grams a day of GLA, 100 mg a day of gamma-delta Vitamin E to prevent DHA oxidation.   

This column was written by John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield WI,