The balance between essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, also plays an important role in depression. This, plus a healthy generous amount of saturated fats integrated into our diet, and we make sure our brain is getting what it craves to fight off depression.
|Food and depression|
|Tryptophan and proteins|
|Vitamins and the brain|
|Minerals and water|
|Omega-3 and uridine|
Omega-3 fatty acids
A lack of essential omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, salmon, sardines and anchovies), sea vegetables, walnuts and flaxseed; too litte saturated fats in the diet (coconut oil, butter) and/or an excess of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (found in many vegetable oils, such as corn and soybean oils) leads to the formation of cell membranes that are much less fluid than normal. This is especially important in the brain because it affects the function of serotonin and dopamine, leading to serious impacts on behavior, mood and mental function.
A study in London demonstrated that giving schizophrenic patients omega-3 fatty acids corrected membrane abnormalities and had a powerful impact on patients mental states.
Great sources of Omega 3 are flaxseeds, caviar, sardines, salmon, walnuts, tuna, cod liver, mackerel, anchovys, herring, basil, oregano, cloves and broccoli.
Saturated fats complement Omega-3 fatty acids
Just as essential nutrients like the correct balance of essential fatty acids from the omega oils, the body and the brain requires saturated fats. Cell membranes are made up of both unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, which means the body needs a variety of fat sources. Without saturated fat, they would lose their stiffness, and be unable to function properly.
More than half of the human brain consists of fat and cholesterol, and between a third to more than half of the fat in the brain is saturated. Both saturated fat and cholesterol represent a significant portion of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers and preserves proper function of the brain and nervous system. If this protective layer is compromised in any way, it can lead to a number of neurological disorders.
Saturated animal fats are an excellent source of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and K2 which are essential for good health and sometimes deficient in certain diets.
Good sources of saturated fats
Vegetable: Palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa. Animal: Fatty meats, cream, cheese, butter and lard.
UridineAn important molecule (known as a nucleoside) resulting from the combination of the base uracil (U) and the sugar D-ribose.
Harvard researchers report that supplementation in laboratory rodents with a combination of uridine and EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids has antidepressant activity equivalent to that of commonly prescribed antidepressant medications, such as Prozac and other SSRIs.
"Omega-3 fatty acids may make the mitochondrial membranes more flexible and uridine may provide raw material to make chemical reactions occur more readily," adds co-author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of McLean's Brain Imaging Center.
Brain membrane phosphatide synthesis requires at least 4 dietary precursors: polyunsaturated fatty acids (like omega-3), uridine monophosphate (UMP), saturated fats and choline (an amine from the vitamin B complex group). Animal studies have shown that administration of these nutrients increases the level of phosphatides, specific pre- or post-synaptic proteins and the number of dendritic spines - a requirement for new synapse formation.
Known sources of uridine are sugar beets, sugar cane, molasses made from sugar beets or sugar cane, tomatoes and foods rich in ribonucleic acid (RNA) like sardines, brewer's yeast and organ meats (liver, heart).
Useful Web Links
- Nutrition (8)
- Fitness (5)
- Health (5)
- Natural (4)