Omega 3's and Neuropathologies

John H. johnh at
Sun Jan 5 08:50:34 EST 2003

5/01/03 9:49pm

Research indicates that the administration of omega 3's has benefits for a
wide range of conditions, from the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, to
depression, and possibly ADHD; and some inflammatory disorders. In a recent
report it was even claimed that pregnant women who consume good quantities
of fish(good omega 3 source) will end up with slightly better cognition in
their children. I am puzzled by this because in some individuals the effects
can be quite marked. To my knowledge omega 3's do not act directly via any
anti-oxidant function but are involved in maintaining cell membrane

During inflammatory events it is not uncommon to find the activation of
PLCb - Dag - pkc, ras IP3, and possibly p38, these leading to transcription
events and increased cystolic Ca2+ which is often associated with
inflammatory states. I find the regulation of ca2+ influx to be very tightly
regulated and plays a key role in neural transmission. Interestingly Da D2
occupation leads to the activation of PLC b, IP3, and ca2+ influx,  and some
anti-psychotics act by blocking Da D2 transmission; though the range of
antipsychotics is quite amazing and a number of studies have indicated that
these agents can also possess direct neuro protective properties. Eg.
Lithium 'robustly' upregulates bcl 2, a key membrane protein for intra
cellular organelles that some cancer cells over express to avoid apoptosis.

What I am trying to understand at present is why Omega 3's can be beneficial
for such a wide range of conditions. I suspect that the cycles mentioned
above have the capacity to deplete cell membranes of components necessary to
maintain integrity, particularly through chronic over activation. So rather
than the raw materials for ip3 etc being transcribed for the above cycles,
cell membrane elements are detached\metabolised to induce the above cycles,
and omega 3's simply serve to provide raw materials to replace these losses.
Subsequently there is greater cell membrane integrity which is particularly
important for nerve cells.

Does anyone know of research pertaining to exactly how omega 3's provide
this protective function? As to the various impacts on cognition that is
another problem altogether! Additionally, it probably will be the case that
it is not omega 3's per se but rather the appropriate ratios of omega 3's
and omega 6's, but in Western diets at least there is a preponderance of
omega 6's, hence the recent pronouncements encouraging people to consume
more omega 3's. Hey, they're even putting it in bread now, which aint such a
bad thing given we're running out of fish.

Finally, and incidentally, choline supplementation has also been implicated
in providing benefits for some people with inflammatory and\or neurologic
complaints, and I believe that also serves a role in maintaining cell
membrane integrity.

John H.
johnhkm at

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