Did you know that two thirds of your brain is composed of fat? That’s right, nearly 70% of the make up of this vital organ is fatty tissue, but not just any fat – essential fats known as essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids, especially what is known as omega-3’s compose a large majority of the brain. And not just any omega-3, we can get pretty specific here. Omega-3 fatty acids containing the long chain EPA’s and DHA’s – largely derived from sea food and algae- are where the most important oils are to support a healthy brain.
Scientists have seen that early humans who lived by the ocean, eating a diet high in fish and algae, grew bigger brains faster than their in-land counterparts. The essential fatty acids found in fish and the food fish eat – algae – feed the brain like nothing else on earth. These specialized fats allowed early humans to learn and evolve at a fast rate – and they do the same for us today.
In the womb, 70% of the calories produced go toward feeding the brain of the growing baby. That’s a lot. We continue to require essential fats to keep our brains healthy and happy. A lack of proper omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to various dis-eases in the brain and in the mind such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), ADHD, autism, dyslexia as well as borderline personality disorder.
The crazy thing about this is there are lots of great places to get omega-3 fatty acids from that contain short chain ALA’s, but very few food sources that give you the all-important, brain-supporting EFA’s and DHA’s. Only fatty fish and the foods these fish eat – which is basically algae and algae oil – can supply our brains with EFA’s and DHA’s, and we do not produce these independently of our diet. What this means is – if you are a vegetarian avoiding fish and seafood, it is critical to be taking in blue-green algae, algae oil, marine phytoplankton or some other fish oil supplement to make sure you are feeding the brain, especially if you are pregnant.
The brain is a beautiful and complex organ and requires certain nutrients to keep it working properly. One main brain nutrient is phosphorus – found in high quantities in bee pollen and lecithin. Phosphorus is critical to take in if you are a big ‘thinker’ or use your brain for writing, mathematics, philosophy or other high-brain activity occupations. The other, perhaps more important nutrient for the brain, is omega-3 fatty acids high in long chain EPA and DHA. There is no getting around it, our brain needs fat.
Omega-3 EPA’s and DHA’s have also been tied to inflammation and, when in proper balance in the body, can relieve symptoms of PMS and inflammatory symptoms of arthritis. Some reports are now showing that certain fish oils, especially those found in skate oil, can greatly benefit the pineal gland and help to break down any calcification that might have built up there due to drinking fluoridated water or just simple inactivity of the gland.
There is no question, our brains are largely fat. In order to maintain a healthy brain it is important to ingest proper amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA’s and DHA’s in order to support brain function, happiness and life balance. If you are someone who is ‘getting beyond’ the whole food paradigm as some people are, contemplation of these vital nutrients and how they fit into the function of life is important in order to eventually transcend them.
Written by: Stasia Bliss