You may not be aware, but the brain is made up of more than fifty percent fat. Numerous health-conscious people around the globe are observing low fat and low cholesterol food regiments in order to diminish the effect of diseases that are usually caused by excessive calories. Little do they realize that in their quest to remain healthy, they are eventually famishing their brains of healthy fat and nutrients that are needed for improved cognitive functions and healthy memory. Neuron membranes require fat, such as omega-3 fatty acids and a different type of fat, called phospholipids.
Phospholipids are a type of fat that are composed of phosphorous. There are two very essential kinds of phospholipids: phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylcholine (PC). Let’s learn about their involvement in brain functioning.
As the name indicates, phospholipids are composed of both phosphorus and fat. They are formed from amino acid L-serine and phosphorus. Phospholipids are found within the cell membrane of every cell in the body; however, they are abundantly found in the cell membranes of neurons.
Brain cells are positioned compactly. They are interconnected with each other by sending a series of signals throughout their membranes. With aging, the cell membranes become stiffer and lose their flexibility. However, phospholipids help to keep them supple and younger. Some studies also suggest that PS promotes the formation of newer brain cells.
Phosphatidylserine is important to benefit brain neurons to maintain neuroplasticity and memory function. Neuroplasticity is a phenomenon where damaged neurons are replaced and new ones are formed. Neuroplasticity and communication between neurons is dependent on the presence of phosphatidylserine as well as other nutrients.
Taking supplements of Phosphatidylserine has been found to improve cognitive function and attention. It also enhances mood, recovers memory, curtails stress, and reduces symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. PS is found to minimize aggressive behavior in children dealing with brain diseases such as attention-deficit disorders (ADD and ADHD). It also helps to protects against both psychological and physical stress.
Phosphatidylserine is naturally found in meat including kidneys, liver, and brain. Yet, consuming enormous quantities of these types of meats is not good for health as they may harbor harmful foreign articles and toxins.
Phospathidylcholine is a beneficial molecule found abundantly in the cell membrane of every cell of the body. Our body requires uridine, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and choline to form phospathidylcholine.
Significantly, brain cells use PC to communicate with each other. Phospathidylcholine helps to form renewed brain cells and assists in maintaining mood, memory, concentration, and attention. It also works to stimulate detoxification and lessens cortisol, which is a stress hormone harmful for brain functioning.
Phospathidylcholine contains choline, an essential B-complex vitamin. It is also the precursor to acetylcholine, which is a brain neurotransmitter important for memory and learning. Thus, phosphatidylcholine is needed by the brain to create acetylcholine. Phospathidylcholine is beneficial for brain disorders such as manic-depressive disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, anxiety, and a movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia.
Choline is abundantly found in soybeans, beef, egg yolk, milk, sardines, and peanuts. Vegetables, fruits, and grains contain very little lecithin. People who are strict vegetarians, those who drink liquor regularly, those who observe diets with low fat, and endurance athletes are at a higher risk of choline deficiency.