Introduction to Healthy Human Brain
The whole brain is provided with oxygen by the vascular network which strictly controls and separates the brain from the rest of the bloodstream. This protects the brain from infections. There are temporal lobes of the brain behind the ears and temples. They process speech and working memory, and also higher emotions. Under the forebrain, there are more primitive brain regions such as the limbic system that processes the desires and many emotions. At the back of the brain is cerebellum that stores our muscle memory which helps us to perform activities as driving a bike without thinking. The midbrain and brain stem are the most primitive regions of the brain that control functions of the body like digestion and heart rate. Brain cells or neurons are responsible for doing all these complex tasks.
The Brain with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia refers to the group of symptoms caused by diseases that affect the brain. Sufferers of dementia may not be able to think enough to perform normal activities, such as eating or getting dressed. They may not be able to control their emotions or solve problems. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It damages the brain and causes impaired thinking, memory and behaviour problems.
Various brain abnormalities are identified by the scientists in the Alzheimer’s disease:
- plaques, microscopic clumps of a beta-amyloid
- tangled microscopic strands of the protein
- loss of connections between the brain cells responsible for communication, memory and learning
- inflammation promoted by the immune system of the body
- the eventual death of brain cells
- severe tissue shrinkage
How Omega-3 Helps the Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Omega-3 fatty acid is a form of fat found in the cell membranes that acts as a protective shield which surrounds the cells. It is vital for the brain and helps it to develop throughout the life from the stage of the fetus to adulthood. It helps to learn and memorize. The brain cell membranes that have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids are able to communicate better with other cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids are of three types:
- α-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
These fatty acids are crucial for promoting neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to persist in developing throughout life. DHA is the main omega-3 in the brain, which is found primarily in the fatty membranes surrounding the nerve cells. There are high amounts of DHA at the junctions where nerve cells connect each other.
Role of Omega-3 in treating Alzheimer’s disease:
- The DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids help to build new brain cells.
- Omega-3 can prevent the immune-inflammatory responses that can contribute towards the development of Alzheimer’s disease.