Although essential marine omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D have been shown to improve cognitive function and behavior in the context of certain brain disorders, the underlying mechanism has been unclear. In a new paper published inFASEB Journal* by Rhonda Patrick, PhD and Bruce Ames, PhD of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), serotonin is explained as the possible missing link tying together why vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acids might ameliorate the symptoms associated with a broad array of brain disorders.
Many clinical disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression share as a unifying attribute low brain serotonin. “In this paper we explain how serotonin is a critical modulator of executive function, impulse control, sensory gating, and pro-social behavior,” says Dr. Patrick. “We link serotonin production and function to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting one way these important micronutrients help the brain function and affect the way we behave.”
This publication suggests that optimizing intakes of vitamin D, EPA, and DHA would optimize brain serotonin concentrations and function, possibly preventing and ameliorating some of the symptoms associated with these disorders without side effects.