The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a network of blood vessels that allow the entry of essential nutrients into the brain while blocking other, more harmful, substances such as blood-borne bacteria and toxins. New research has discovered that a nutrient, known for its protection against heart disease, may also be critical in maintaining the BBB. Chenghua Gu, at Harvard Medical School, has found that the BBB remains closed by suppressing transcytosis – a process for transporting molecules across cells in vesicles, or small bubbles. Lipids are important in this process – especially omega-3s. Omega-3’s are essential to the diet and play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. Foods rich in omega-3’s include fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
Dr. Gu has found that Mfsd2a is a transporter protein that moves DHA into the cell membrane. Without this transporter protein, lab mice were found to have leaky BBB. Getting adequate amounts of Omega-3’s are important for health and may help with the following conditions: High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Osteoporosis, Depression, ADHD, Cognitive decline, and Cancer.