DHA - Brain Boosting and Mercury Protecting

Monday, August 04, 2008
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Not only does your heart and circulatory system love DHA, so does your brain.  Your brain cells would much rather make themselves of fatty acids from DHA, compared to potato chips or French fries – something to ponder.  A variety of new animal studies illustrate the brain power of DHA.

One study showed that DHA was able to maintain1 “marked neurite-promoting potential in neurones from adult and aged animals.”  The ability to generate nerve-related projections from existing old brain cells is truly amazing, and supports the notion of DHA as a superior brain anti-aging nutrient.

Another study showed that DHA helped maintain brain plasticity2 and cognitive function, protecting against scar tissue formation in the brain.  The effects of DHA and exercise had a combined synergistic value in terms of further enhancing brain health.  The researchers showed that brain brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was boosted by DHA and the result was further enhanced by exercise.  BDNF is the life force of brain rejuvenation, and here are two easy ways to boost BDNF levels.

Another DHA study tested if DHA could protect brain glial cells (astrocytes) and neurons from exposure to methylmercury3.  Exposure to mercury without protection by DHA caused these brain cells to have severe free radical distress and reduced mitochondrial activity (energy production).  Pretreatment with DHA completely prevented these adverse effects of mercury on brain cells. 

DHA is one potent nutrient for brain health.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ DHA Boosts Nerve Cell Growth in Old Animals  Neurobiol Aging.  Robson LG, Dyall S, Sidloff D, Michael-Titus AT.
  2. ^ DHA and Brain Plasticity  Neuroscience.  Wu A, Ying Z, Gomez-Pinilla F.
  3. ^ DHA Protects Against Methylmercury  Neurotoxicology.  Kaur P, Heggland I, Aschner M, Syversen T.

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