Maryann Bucknum Brinley

167 Cooper Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-1810

973-202-5909 (cell)

Extraordinary at Ordinary

Searching for extraordinary science and understanding in the everyday ordinary of life

What Every Brain Needs: Omega 3s

Maryann Bucknum Brinley - Wednesday, June 04, 2014

When I interview scientists about their work, I almost always ask: “Can you share an aha moment, a point at which you wanted to shout: Eureka!!?”

Charlotte, not yet two, is fascinated with her toy medical kit and what doctors do! 

Frances Calderon, PhD, at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, had one that has now changed my life as well as hers. She’s focused her research on how to grow neurons in the brain and when she feeds her lab animals a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, traumatically-injured brains become more hospitable to the neural stem cells she is trying to grow. “Omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) are natural neuro-protectants,” she explains. “I learned that a deficiency impairs memory and brain function.” Our western diets are so deficient in these oils that Calderon wonders how many brain disorders might be treated or prevented by adding fish oil capsules, fatty fish like salmon or more oils like soybean, rapeseed (canola), flaxseed and walnuts. “I changed my diet,” she admits.

And so did I, adding up to three 1200 mg capsules of fish oil capsules a day. Barry Sears, PhD, creator of the Zone Diet, believes this Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can be linked to anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and even post-traumatic stress. “The brain is incredibly sensitive to inflammation,” he wrote in Psychology Today in January 2012. My brain, by the way, is pretty calm these days even in the midst of ordinary, everyday chaos.

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