Time to reconsider the fat-free option
The human brain is often likened to a computer. I don’t know why; it’s nothing like a computer. Break open a head and you will see that the organ within is just a lump of wobbly fat. Yet it took millions of years of human evolutionary biology to fine tune that lardy lump. It runs entirely on what you feed it.
The dry weight of the brain is 60% fat. The rest of it is cholesterol (also very important) and protein (ditto). No other organ contains so much fat or needs it so much. Without it, the brain simply cannot function.
Different types of fat — lipids — are involved in the structure and function of the brain, including nerve transmission, memory retrieval, and mood. Everything that the brain does requires fat for it to happen. This requirement begins in the womb and continues throughout life.
It’s all there: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. (PUFAs). The PUFAs are the most important fats in the brain. There are two families of PUFAs: omega-6 and omega-3. These two families are metabolically and functionally distinct — one cannot substitute the other.
The two omega-3 fatty acids that are most important to the brain are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA is converted to DHA, the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the body.
Cells that have a lot of electrical activity, such as the brain, have higher proportions of DHA. But only if you feed it DHA. And if you don’t, what might you expect?
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