Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent and treat nerve damage, research suggests

Omega-3 helps nerves repair damage.


13 JAN 2012

Research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate.

When nerves are damaged because of an accident or injury, patients experience pain, weakness and muscle paralysis which can leave them disabled, and recovery rates are poor.

The new study, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience*, suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could play a significant role in speeding recovery from nerve injury.

The study focused on peripheral nerve cells. Peripheral nerves are the nerves which transmit signals between the brain and spinal cord, and the rest of the body.

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As a person who has dealt with the pain of arthritis for over 40 years, I can only say I wish I had known about the effects of the omega-6/omega-3 ratio a long time ago. My form of arthritis was ankylosing spondylosis (AS or spinal arthritis). It is a type of psoriatic arthritis and is related to a specific type of immune system (HLA-B27). Over 95% of the people diagnosed with AS have the HLA-B27 genotype, but only 1 to 2% of the people with HLA-B27 develop AS. It appears that exposure to certain antigens create antibodies that end up attacking specific collagen tissues in people with AS.

Psoriatic arthritis is one of three types of arthritis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis being the two other types. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are typically the primary treatment for all forms of arthritis. Steroidal injections are also used for treatments of flare-up in specific joints. The NSAIDs block the action of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that are responsible for converting omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids into prostaglandin hormones. The reason they are used is because some of the prostaglandin hormones our body makes can promote the joint inflammation that causes the pain and joint damage in arthritis. However, not all of the prostaglandin hormones that our body can make will promote inflammation, only those that are made from the omega-6 fatty acid, arachadonic acid (AA). If our body makes a prostaglandin from omega-3 fatty acids or even a precursor to AA called DGLA, they are anti-inflammatory. It is the ratio of these fatty acid precursors in our cell membranes that determine if our body makes more inflammatory or anti-inflammatory hormones.

Our diet determines the ratio of these omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in our cell membranes. In addition, our intake of carbs has an effect on the conversion of the beneficial DGLA to the inflammation promoting AA. The presence of insulin increases the conversion of DGLA to AA, while the presence of EPA (the omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) inhibits the conversion of DGLA to AA.

Once I learned this, it took about 3 weeks to change the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in my body enough to eliminate my need for NSAIds. I wish I had know this 40 years ago!

Healthy diet linked with better lung function in COPD patients ( Within 24 hours )

Fish helps improve symptoms of COPD. Grapefruits bananas and cheese also help.




ATS 2014, SAN DIEGO – Sure, everyone knows a healthy diet provides lots of health benefits for patients with respiratory diseases, but now a new study has shown a direct link between eating fish, fruit and dairy products and improved lung function among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Conducted by researchers in the U.S. and Europe, the study specifically looked at COPD patients’ lung function within 24 hours of eating grapefruit, bananas, fish and cheese.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2014 International Conference.

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Another Review Article In Favor Of Paleolithic Eating

The paleo diet is not a bad diet, it corresponds well with my oil change diet. I still think it is important to keep the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in balance. My book will provide the information you need to do that whether you prefer the Paleo diet or even a vegetarian diet.

Paleo Diabetic

It’s in the Annual Review of Plant Biology. The authors promote fruit and vegetable consumption. A snippet from the 2013 article:

Our Paleolithic ancestors were hunter-gatherers, consuming diets rich in lean wild meat or fish, with relatively high consumption of fruits and green leafy vegetables. Our modern diets, in contrast, are high in saturated fats and starches, added sugars with high energy load, and “unnatural fats” such as transfats. Paleolithic diets, in contrast to those of simians and present-day hunter-gatherers, are estimated to have been approximately 75% fruit [that’s news to me; reference is from S. Lindeberg]. In modern US diets, foods unavailable to Paleolithic societies—including dairy products, cereal grains, refined cereal flour, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol—on average make up 70% of total energy consumption. Of this, 50% is in the form of vegetable oils and refined sugars .Americans currently consume less than 60% of the…

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Swiss Chard Recipe

Swiss Chard Recipe from Whole Foods

Swiss chard is one of a few green leafy veggies we can grow during the summer in our area. Most of the recipes you find online have you saute the chard in a small amount of oil. This recipe taste much better and is healthier–I use real butter in place of olive oil. 



  1. Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out its health-promoting properties.
  2. Use a large pot (3 quart) with lots of water. Make sure water is at a rapid boil before adding Swiss chard.
  3. Cut off tough, bottom part of Swiss chard stems.
  4. Add the chopped leaves to the boiling water. Do not cover. Cook for 3 minutes; begin timing as soon as you drop the Swiss chard into the boiling water.
  5. Place in colander and press out excess water.
  6. Transfer to serving dish and toss with rest of ingredients while it is still hot.
  7. Using a knife and fork, cut Swiss chard into small pieces for better flavor.


How can one double bond make such a big difference?

The difference in omega-6 and omega-3 is the location of one double bond.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, omega-3 and omega-6 are names that refer to the location of the first double bond counting from the methyl end of the fatty acid molecule. If you have read very many of my post, you know there is a huge difference in the effects these two molecules have in our bodies. So how can such a small difference make such a big difference?


In reality these molecules don’t look like these straight structures drawn on paper. In three dimensions, each one of those double bonds creates a bend or kink in the molecule and those double bonds do not allow rotation like the single bonds do. When these fatty acids are used to create the lipid bi-layer that makes up part of our cell membrane, they are more or less straight, laying next to each other with the acid ends all in the same direction connected to a phosphate to create a phospholipid. The tails, the methyl ends of the fatty acid, are all oriented toward the middle of the membrane. The bi-layer has an inner and outer layer of these phospholipids with the tips of the tails on the opposite side touching each other.


Anything that goes into and out of the cells has to go through this lipid bi-layer. The kinks and bends in the fatty acids that make up the bi-layer affect how easily things can pass through. Omega-6 lipids with their longer straight section create a tighter layer, the omega-3 lipids with the bend near the end create a more open layer.


That is the first big difference; the second big difference comes from the hormones that are created from these lipids. Just like in the lipid bi-layer, the double bonds create bends and kinks in the molecules. The COX (cyclo-oxygenase) enzymes create prostaglandins from these fatty acids by folding them near the middle and create a ring structure. The methyl end of the fatty acid sticks out from the ring and affects how it binds to receptors on cells. It is the binding of these hormones to receptors on cell surfaces that turn various functions on or off.


So it is that small difference in the chemical structure makes a big difference in the 3 dimensional shapes of the hormones and the porosity of the lipid bi-layer. 


Diet patterns may keep brain from shrinking

More evidence that Omega-3 helps prevent Alzheimer’s.


30 DEC 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Fish oil may hold key to leukemia cure

Another benefit of Omega-3.


30 DEC 2011

“Research in the past on fatty acids has shown the health benefits of fatty acids on cardiovascular system and brain development, particularly in infants, but we have shown that some metabolites of Omega-3 have the ability to selectively kill the leukemia-causing stem cells in mice,” said Prabhu. “The important thing is that the mice were completely cured of leukemia with no relapse.”A compound produced from fish oil that appears to target leukemia stem cells could lead to a cure for the disease, according to Penn State researchers. The compound — delta-12-protaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3 — targeted and killed the stem cells of chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML, in mice, said Sandeep Prabhu, associate professor of immunology and molecular toxicology in the Department of Veterinary and Medical Sciences. The compound is produced from EPA — Eicosapentaenoic Acid — an Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and in fish…

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Italian scientists discovered a molecule for ‘brain longevity’ turned on by diet

A good reason to go on a diet.


Eating less keeps the brain young

Overeating may cause brain aging while eating less turns on a molecule that helps the brain stay young.

A team of Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered that this molecule, called CREB1, is triggered by “caloric restriction” (low caloric diet) in the brain of mice. They found that CREB1 activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper functioning of the brain.

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