Polyunsaturated fatty acids are fatty acids that contain more than one double bond in their backbone. This class includes many compounds important for human health, such as essential fatty acids.
Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior. 2015
* Serotonin regulates a wide variety of brain functions and behaviors. Here, we synthesize previous findings that serotonin regulates executive function, sensory gating, and social behavior and that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior all share in common defects in these functions. It has remained unclear why supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D improve cognitive function and behavior in these brain disorders. Here, we propose mechanisms by which serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain are modulated by vitamin D and the 2 marine omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Brain serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan by tryptophan hydroxylase 2, which is transcriptionally activated by vitamin D hormone. Inadequate levels of vitamin D (∼70% of the population) and omega-3 fatty acids are common, suggesting that brain serotonin synthesis is not optimal. We propose mechanisms by which EPA increases serotonin release from presynaptic neurons by reducing E2 series prostaglandins and DHA influences serotonin receptor action by increasing cell membrane fluidity in postsynaptic neurons. We propose a model whereby insufficient levels of vitamin D, EPA, or DHA, in combination with genetic factors and at key periods during development, would lead to dysfunctional serotonin activation and function and may be one underlying mechanism that contributes to neuropsychiatric disorders and depression. This model suggests that optimizing vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid intake may help prevent and modulate the severity of brain dysfunction.
Effect of intravenously infused eicosapentaenoic acid on the leukotriene generation in patients with active Crohn's disease. 1992
- Ten patients with active Crohn's disease who have been managed with parenteral-nutrition therapy were administered a lipid emulsion either with [containing 0.6 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)] or without fish oil for 2 wk. We isolated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNLs) from the patients before and after this treatment and measured the amounts of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and leukotriene B5 (LTB5) generated by activated PMNLs by reversed-phase HPLC. The LTB5 generation in active Crohn's disease before this treatment was significantly lower than in healthy control subjects. The amount of LTB5 and the LTB5-LTB4 ratio increased significantly after fish-oil supplementation. The difference with LTB4 was not statistically significant. We have shown that daily intravenous administration of 0.6 g EPA influenced the generation of leukotrienes in active Crohn's disease even after short-term treatment. Further investigations are necessary to clarify the correlation between EPA and clinical improvement in Crohn's disease.