Food

Food

Microbes, Mood Changer, Dahi

Panchamrut Img src: http://goo.gl/a9VKlP
Panchamrut
Img src: http://goo.gl/a9VKlP

No ritual of this land ends without Prasad. No Prasad without Panchamrita (पञ्चामृत). It is a mixture of five foods used in Hindu worship and puja, usually honey, sugar, milk, yogurt, and ghee. I remember, how my mother used to stop me every time I start from home for exam. She would feed a spoon full of misti dahi (dahi and/or jaggery/sugar) as a शुकन token and my success in exams. In marriage ritual, पञ्चामृत is used profusely as it is major emotional event for both families. Mighty God Krishna is never seen without probiotic food.

Amazing science behind it! As I shared in last post about connection of CAT and अपशुकन in last post, here is the connection of पञ्चामृत and शुकन (Well-being or well-execution of future immediate actions). All thanks to tiny little microbes whom we are ready to kill everyday using anti-microbes weapons. 🙂

Fermentation And Life Img src: https://goo.gl/b8ec5Z
Fermentation And Life
Img src: https://goo.gl/b8ec5Z

Lactobacilli bacteria in dahi reduces anxiety, chronic fatigue and depression. That is the magic of just one type of bacteria. Generally when dahi is fermented at home, it can have all beneficial bacteria. In पञ्चामृत, ghee and honey are potent probiotic food, increasing potency of altering our mood.

There is another bacteria in probiotic food: Bifidobacterium infantis. Probiotic treatment with B. infantis in a rat maternal separation model of depression resulted in a normal immune response, normal behavior, and normal levels of stress hormone in the brainstem compared to untreated rats. (As I’ve stated many times here, gut function affects all body parts, including the brain.)
So your mother or grandmother was more scientific than you and me who were laughing on them for blind rituals.

Things to take care for availing full benefits of probiotic Dahi

1) Fermentation must happen at home. Factory made Dahi will have bacteria from factory environment (other than Lactobacilli). Our home is full of bacteria suited for our body. So prepare dahi at home.

2) For probiotics to survive beyond acidic stomach pathway and establish themselves in GUT, milk, honey, jiggery used should be full of nutrition which bacteria can use for survival in harsh stomach conditions. Find Raw Desi Gay milk for it. Find chemical-free unprocessed honey and jiggery. Find unrefined non-white sugar.

3) Consume fresh Dahi. Do not refrigerate.

4) Prepare Panchamrit. Not exclusive dahi. Take in small quantity. For large quantity, prepare butter milk.

5) Avoid during monsoon due to unstable environment crowded so many different pathogens.

DHA and brain : Breast Milk, Ghee vs other sources : Role of Prana

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Breast milk is brain food : Role of Prana
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Breastfed impact https://consciousshift2012.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/thebreastfedbaby-lg.jpg
Breastfed impact
https://consciousshift2012.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/thebreastfedbaby-lg.jpg

Many friends feel hammering by my repeat posts on same subjects. What I am trying is, showing importance of critical life factors by different angles.

Breast feed is one such critical point in national interest. It is fundamentally game changer for future of the Nation. It can lay strong foundation for the future.

One more post on it:

You are what you eat, the saying goes, and now a study conducted by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that the oft-repeated adage applies not just to physical health but to brain power as well.

Amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a mother’s milk — fats found primarily in certain fish, nuts and seeds — is the strongest predictor of test performance.

Another rich source of DHA is Ghee prepared using traditional churning method from ethically procured desi Gau milk. This is the reason why pregnant mothers in rural India are given lots of ghee during last trimester ( because of high demand of DHA in womb while brain formation is going on)

Yes, there will be argument that vegetables, fruits and nuts too have DHA. Agreed. But we forget that tradeoff related to digestion process. It is always less burden for growing kids’ digestion system to digest Ghee than nuts. You cannot give nuts to kids and toddlers in large amount. I do not deny other foods but it is always good to have ghee (Of course not the one available in your supermarket! It is the worse of a kind and so much violence involved!)

We should observe subtle difference in different DHA food.

1) Mother’s milk 2) Ghee 3) Fish

4) Vegetable 5) Fruits 6) Nuts

Why mother’s milk is best? (And so ghee)

Because DHA in breast milk is digested DHA. It has already gone through mother’s digestion. It is nurtured by mother’s love and Prana shakti (Well, modern rationalists and doctors do not believe in Prana – but they do prescribe pranayama 😛 😀 – poor guys!)

So mother’s milk is full of prana shakti – so do DHA in it!

Anything full of prana shakti is accepted and digested by body easily. And it is less burden for toddlers. Toddlers nursed by mothers for long never suffer from indigestion! This is the reason!

Same is applied to ghee. In case ghee, along with Maa Gau, extra churning is performed by family members (So it is always good to eat ghee churned by known family member or kind hearted Gau palak). The one from market is dead processed by machine – not worth for our digestion.

4)5) – They are great if we intake them fresh. When they are fresh from farm, they are full of prana shakti. But in urban setup, We receive all stale items. Stored in warehouses under chemical treatment. Prana is dead. So they and all nutrition (including DHA) are difficult to digest by body.. 6) is full of prana and good. Only issue is, they are not so much full of prana (As dead) that they become difficult to digest.


Research


http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/breast-milk-brain-food

Breast milk is brain food

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061595/

Docosahexaenoic acid content is significantly higher in ghrita prepared by traditional Ayurvedic method

Background:

Ghee (clarified butter) also known as ghrita, has been utilized for thousands of years in Ayurveda. Ghee is mostly prepared by traditional method in Indian households or by direct cream method at industry level. Ayurvedic classics mention that ghrita made from cow milk is superior. However, there is no scientific comparison available on preparation methods and essential fatty acids content of ghrita.

Objective:

To investigate fatty acid composition of ghrita prepared by traditional/Ayurvedic method and commercial method (direct cream method).

Materials and Methods:

Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) extracted from ghrita samples were analysed on Gas Chromatography (GC) Shimadzu B using capillary column BPX70 (0.32 mm*60 m, ID of 0.25 mm). The fatty acids in the samples were identified by comparing peaks with the external standard 68A (Nu-Chek-Prep, Inc.USA). Significant differences between the experimental groups were assessed by analysis of variance.

Results:

Distribution of fatty acids was compared in ghrita samples prepared by traditional method and direct cream method which is commercially used. Saturated fatty acids were predominant in both the groups. Mono unsaturated fatty acids and poly unsaturated fatty acids were in the range of 17-18% and 3-6% respectively. DHA content was significantly higher in ghee prepared by traditional method using curd starter fermentation.

Conclusion:

The findings suggested that ghrita prepared by traditional ayurvedic methods contains higher amount of DHA; Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which is a major component of retinal and brain tissues and remains important in prevention of various diseases.

Mother Cow and Vitamin D3

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I don’t know where to start this post. So many dots to connect!!

Let me start with latest news :

65-70% Indians are Vitamin D deficient. Here’s why you should worry

Despite plentiful sun, Vitamin D (aka sunshine vitamin) deficiency is reaching epidemic proportions in India, warns Dr Michael Holick, Endocrinologist and global authority on Vitamin D therapy.

Recent studies have revealed that 65-70 per cent Indians are Vitamin D deficient and another 15 per cent are insufficient.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/65-70-Indians-are-Vitamin-D-deficient-Heres-why-you-should-worry/articleshow/53277557.cms

Shocking right? 🙂 We deserve it for our sheer incompetence to respect mother nature and blind race for greed!

And can you imagine the impact? Whole plethora of mental disorders! Zombies everywhere!! Psychopaths and rapists! I am not trying to fear-monger! This will be harsh reality of near future! (And so be prepared! More than books, educate your kids for strength building! ) In fact, it is happening all around! Have you not seen increasing number of such psychopath(s) hijacking society?

Who will help?

Mother  img src: http://www.caleidoscope.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Beef-ban-india.jpg
Mother
img src: http://www.caleidoscope.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Beef-ban-india.jpg

Of course, गौ माता! (Desi cows with hump. Scientific name: Bos Indicus) [2]

गौ माता has Surya-Ketu Nadi in hump. It is this special feature that makes her different from other breeds. It is this नाड़ी that transforms प्राणशक्ति from प्राण दाता सूर्य भगवान् ! Vitamin D3, the gross and raw form of biological solar power is bonus!

Milk of Gau mata is full of DHA!

As per this research [0], DHA with D3 controls Brain Serotonin, Affecting Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders!

Here [1] , I already shared that serotonin in blood makes mother’s milk more nutritious!

Can you connect the dots?

Desi Gau ghee is full of DHA Docosahexaenoic acid. No other source can compete with the ghee produced by churning method from desi Gau mata’s ethically procured A2 milk. One more condition is that ghee has to be prepared during Sunrise (Vitamin D3). All this is not possible in dairy from where we get your ghee :).

We see increasing number of kids in hyper active mode. ADHD and ASD. 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.

Serotonin production and function is linked to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting one way these important micronutrients help the brain function and affect the way we behave.

If anyone in your circle is suffering from insomnia (can’t sleep), migraine, headache, you can try this experiment of Desi Gau ghee nasal drops. Make ghee lukeworm and apply 1-2 drops in both nasal passages before sleeping. Do it for 90 days.

PS: Before you try ghee from any gau shala, make sure that calf is given enough milk and milk is taken once calf is satiated for that session. There are no hormone used to increase production of milk. Place should be neat and clean. Cows must graze in open land for 3-4 hrs daily. Cows must get clean drinking water.

It is not advisable for:
1) Pregnant lady or during menses cycle
2) After bath, exercise, meal and intercourse.
I personally prefer before sleeping.

In summary:

  • It Is bos indicus who will bless this land again with abundance of digested Prana (her prasad in form of dung, urine and milk). Not some reductionist D#, K, Ca etc but wholesome Prana! Prana that replenish the sick and timid!
  • Free pasture land for grazing is must for quality prasad! More she graze under sun-light, better would be her prasad (including D3!)
  • It is important and more cost-effective to imbibe digested Prana (Raw Prana passing through digestive track of mother cow. Churned Prana). When ghee is prepared, potency of digested prana increases manifold! Far far better than Vitamin D3 injections which are difficult to digest for body!
  • Freely grazing cows => Serotonin + Sun rays + DHA from grass => Quality milk, dung and urine!

[0] http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/main/news/omega3-fatty-acids-and-vitamin-d-may-control-brain-282.aspx

Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior

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.—Patrick, R. P., Ames, B. N. Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior.

http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2015/02/23/fj.14-268342.abstract

[1] http://prachodayat.in/happy-cow-is-kamadhenu-serotonin-vs-worship/

[2] http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2014/10/20/cmaj.140555

Consumption of non–cow’s milk beverages and serum vitamin D levels in early childhood

“Among children who drank both types of milk, each additional cup of non–cow’s milk beverage consumed was associated with a 5% decrease in 25-hydroxyvitamin D level,” the researchers write. The estimated was adjusted for clinically relevant variables, the authors note.

Interpretation: Consumption of non–cow’s milk beverages was associated with decreased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in early childhood. This association was modified by cow’s milk consumption, which suggests a trade-off between consumption of cow’s milk fortified with higher levels of vitamin D and non–cow’s milk with lower vitamin D content.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/12/12/peds.2012-1793

 

 

Cow Milk and Prebiotic Medium

Everyone is talking about probiotic food nowadays. Sadly, this awareness is mostly limited to two jargon 1) Probiotic 2) Prebiotic

Let us try to understand, what they are!

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in gastrointestinal (GI) tract and are beneficial for their hosts and prevent certain diseases.

Prebiotics are non‐digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria in the colon. All dietary prebiotics and/or dietary fiber provide the physiological and beneficial effects and, therefore, are considered as essential nutrients.

In post antibiotic obsession era, everyone is now praising microbes. But no one is talking about microbes sustenance medium. Healthy bacteria survives when their environment is potent to provide them continuous nutrition.

Prebiotic – this is where desi zebu cattle milk plays wonder. It is potent prebiotic.

Probiotic benefits
Probiotic benefits

गौर्धयति मरुतां शरवस्युर्माता मघोनाम |
युक्ता वह्नी रथानाम || (ऋगवेद ८-९४-१)

गौ माता दूध पिलाती है, उस दूधसे संतृप्त हो मरुत वीर रथसंचालक (वेगवान) बनते है|

As you read translation, only desi Gau mata’s A2 milk is potent enough to provide them driving force ( रथसंचालक). If such potent medium is not provided (like many Vegan friends find alternative solution in Vegan Dahi made up using coconut or badam or any other nuts) to them, health bacteria may die soon, before reaching to their destination i.e. GUT. Dead probiotic means more danger for digestive track! More efforts to clean the track! Acidity! Ulcer!

Probiotics promote gut health through stimulation, rather than suppression, of the innate immune system. Our first lines of defense are digestive chemistry and innate immunity.

For a probiotic to work it must arrive alive in the colon. They arrive alive only when they have enough food while travelling and are acid proof (Protected from gastric acids). It has been recommended that food containing probiotic bacteria should contain at least 10^6 live micro organisms per g or mL at the time of consumption to have protective effects such as maintenance of normal intestinal micro flora, enhancement of the immune system, reduction of lactose intolerance and anti-cancer activity.
Along with that probiotics should resist the natural barrier of high acidity and bile content in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and show their survivability and activity in the colon.

Only Desi Gau milk based fermentation has both powers. (Do your experiments if you have doubts).

Which Desi Gau milk?

या शर्धाय मारुताय सवभानवे शरवो.अम्र्त्यु धुक्षत |
या मर्ळीके मरुतां तुराणां या सुम्नैरेवयावरी || Rugved – Book 6 – Hymn 48 – Verse 12

Translation
Gau who provides immortal nectar milk for powerful self-illuminating Marut(s); the one who provides happiness/comfort to swift-footed(quick runner) Marut(s), that divine Gau comes to your home only by glorious efforts and actions.

Gau mata can give such nectar milk only when she is worshiped by brave men doing selfless glorious acts for society. Gau seva for selfish motives is not desirable. So if you purchase milk from professional gau shala, you will still will not avail full benefits of nectar. You first need to worship Gau mata whose milk you want to avail. Without worship, you cannot connect with her. Without connecting with her, it is not possible to receive her blessings.

Krishna with Gaia
Krishna with Gaia

Krishna is Krishna due to Gau Mata Seva and Worship. Do we follow him? 🙂

Fundamental fallacy in dairy model is: disconnect between mata and son. Mother can foster best prasad (milk, urine, dung), only when she is taken care best! Factory model of dairy don’t yield benefits described here.

 

Choose your Banana wisely

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Banana Img: http://goo.gl/rmAoLZ
Banana
Img: http://goo.gl/rmAoLZ

Bananna bunches are harvested when they are 70% to 80% ripen. Rest of the ripening process happen on ground. As per my personal experience, untreated banana takes little more than a week to become fully ripen. Till then, they remain shriveled and green. This is natural method. Ideal and healthy.

What market follows?

8 days, 9 days, 10 days – these are too long durations to wait for our generations of vendors. They cannot wait so long. To meet the regular domestic requirement, green banana bunches are artificially ripened.
Smoke treatment is one of the most common methods adopted to induce ripening. In this method, banana bunches are exposed to smoke generated by burning kerosene stove inside the airtight chambers for 24 h. As a result, we get artificially ripen yellow bananas, treated with carbon monoxide.

Another method is that bananas are artificially ripened in local markets by the use of banned chemical calcium carbide.

Both are ugly and hazardous methods. So don’t expect banana benefits when you have no choice but artificially ripen bananas.

Buy half ripen bunches and let them get ripen naturally at home. Or else, face the consequences of Carbon monoxide and calcium carbide.

Food Cannot Be Global

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Untitled

Can your neighboring village farmer grow Apples?
No.
Can he grow bananas?
Yes.
Pappaya?
Yes.
Cherry?
No.

So for you, “An apple a day keeps doctor away” is actually “A banana a day keeps doctor away” or “A Pappaya a day keeps doctor away”

Nature grows all your needs in your surroundings. Eat locally grown food. Our demand for Apples force farmers in Himachal and Kashmir to use deadly chemicals to increase production. This vicious cycle ruins their local environment and your stomach too. Since Apples travel thousand kms before they arrive at home, more chemicals are used to keep them fresh.

When nature grows everything for you in your surroundings, why strive for something foreign? When you visit Himachal, have as much apples you can. Even in Punjab and Haryana, it is fine. But having apples in Kerala is insult to coconut and banana. 🙂

Use common sense. Search your food from local soil.Reduce transportation burden, chemical burden and save environment and your health

Kitchen (pAkashAlA ) : Place where you receive Sanskar

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10635996_368960189895562_5105528014217077168_n

पाकशाला or Kitchen is the place where your future-self (Food) receives संस्कार. पाकशालामें अन्न सुसंस्कृत होता है | Cooking is a ritual, just like any other संस्कार ritual.

It demands full attention of the priest, the cook. It demands love and empathy from the priest, the cook. It demands relaxed mind. This ritual demands patience and hard work. Cook has to take care needs of all, children, adults, rogi etc. Irrespective of gender, those family members who possess all these qualities, performs this art of making food सुसंस्कृत.

The best position is sitting position. Cooking in standing position increases Vayu. Long term joint pain issues. Knee replacements. Correlate the timing when we as a society adopted new form of kitchen and increasing cases of joint pain.

If you are a cook, experiment. Convert your kitchen in semi-sitting arrangement. See the effect. If it benefits, nothing wrong in demolishing current setup and rebuilding new setup 🙂.

Why respect and follow local food traditions?

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https://www.leonardooliveoil.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Indian-cooking-with-Olive-oil.jpg
https://www.leonardooliveoil.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Indian-cooking-with-Olive-oil.jpg

Ghee is a tradition here. Olive oil is a tradition in Europe. Soybean in china. All suitable for respective local environment. If you live in China, you should eat Soybean. But in India? Why? Food Tradition does not come up overnight from scientist’s lab like your Crosin tablet that works everywhere with same side effects 😀.

Traditions emerge from social labs, our homes, by live experiments over several generations, under the guidance of Rishi personalities (The one with sharp and blessed observation powers). Traditions exists because they have proved benefits to many. Fake traditions do not stand against the time. What is suitable here, may not work well in Canada. What is best in Canada, may not work here (For example Canola oil).

Trust and follow your local food habits passed to you by parents, and get benefited. Doubt and live in self-denial? Loss of all benefits. Pay the price.

Side note: One of the hidden benefits of respecting food traditions is reduced transport due to demand of exotic food. Think about it. You can make huge difference!

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

Slave# 1 plants http://e.maxicours.com/img/2/5/4/9/254902.jpg
Slave# 1 plants http://e.maxicours.com/img/2/5/4/9/254902.jpg
Slave# 1 plants
http://e.maxicours.com/img/2/5/4/9/254902.jpg

For last 80-90 years, we treated animals and plants equal, as our slaves. Remember one thing, stressed plants/animals means our food has not only chemical toxins used to raised them but biological markers indicating potential environmental stress which will also make our lives stressed. No wonder why so many youngsters lose their temper so soon, murders, rape, divorce, general apathy, lack of civic sense, rapid aging and suicides everywhere.

In summary: Chemical fertilizers + pesticides + diesel pollution ==> Stressed soil, air, water => Stressed plants => Stress markers with fruits, vegetables, grains => Sick body and sick mind

Slave#2 : Milk Machine  http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/data/image_3_7945.jpg
Slave#2 : Milk Machine
http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/data/image_3_7945.jpg

Do you get why we have so many social issues despite so much investment in religious and spiritual temples/Gurus/ashrams! 😀 😀

Issue is our food. Treating plants and animals with respect. Before harvest, we used to worship plants and taking permission from them to perform harvest. How wonderfully sensitive relation we used to have with our food.

Worse Slaves @animal farms
Worse Slaves @animal farms

And now?

Packaged, processed, stressed and dead food. Making us zombies. 🙁We all are zombies of different degrees. Dead-like and robotic. 🙁

Solution for good health lies in destruction of factory farming and related food chain.


Reference


Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

“But it was not known whether GABA was a signal in plants. We’ve discovered that plants bind GABA in a similar way to animals, resulting in that ultimately regulate plant growth when a plant is exposed to a stressful environment.”

By identifying how plants respond to GABA the researchers are optimistic that they have opened up many new possibilities for modifying how plants respond to stress.

“The major stresses agricultural crops face like pathogens and poor environmental conditions account for most yield losses around the planet – and consequently food shortages,” says co-lead author Professor Stephen Tyerman.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-stressed-animal-like.html#jCp

Desi Ghee (Fatty Acids) : Prevent Bipolar Disorder

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gheebipolar

Omega-3 fatty acid = Desi cow ghee = Disorders free mind and brain.

This is how गौ माता keeps her children sane and healthy.

The Moment her prasad is out of regular food, disorders are expected to arrive at door-step. If not you, your next generation.

For other terrains, there are alternatives like nuts and fish but for us, living on grassland plains, ghee plays critical role as it is the only and critical source of fatty acids.


Research


Lower availability of omega-3 fatty acids associated with bipolar disorder

http://news.psu.edu/story/382628/2015/11/25/research/lower-availability-omega-3-fatty-acids-associated-bipolar-disorder

People with bipolar disorder have lower levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids that cross the blood-brain barrier than people who do not, according to researchers from Penn State College of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. The finding could have implications for dietary interventions for the disorder.

Fatty acids are a major area of interest in bipolar disorder and depression because of their biological importance in the brain. Studies have shown that fatty acid supplementation may be useful for unipolar depression, but the data has been more mixed for bipolar disorder.

The researchers, led by Erika Saunders, associate professor and chair of psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine, compared fatty acids in 27 people with symptomatic bipolar disorder and 31 healthy control subjects. The group measured levels of different forms of the polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. They also collected self-reported information on fatty acid consumption and bipolar medication use. Their results were published in the journal Bipolar Disorders.

Free fatty acids are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, while fatty acids bound to proteins are not. In study subjects with bipolar disorder, the ratio of a free-circulating omega-3 fatty acid called EPA to bound EPA was lower than in other people.

“This means that the availability of omega-3 in the body is lower in bipolar subjects,” Saunders said.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. In the study, the ratio of free to bound EPA correlated with clinical bipolar symptoms, specifically mania and tendency towards suicide.

Fatty acids also play an important role in the immune system and the inflammatory system.

“Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can shift the balance of inflammation, which we think is important in bipolar disorder,” Saunders said.

 

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