Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Brain Cells and Reduce Bowel Cancer Risk

The inflammatory activity of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (PUFAs) in the brain may impact progression of neurodegenerative diseases, according to a new science review by the University Bordeaux. Researchers there noted the brain’s innate immune system is primarily composed of microglial cells and astrocytes, which protect neurons against damage by producing inflammatory cytokines. This neuroinflammation can alter cognition, mood and behavior. Further, studies have shown proinflammatory cytokines are linked to depression and certain neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs are essential components of neuronal and glial cell membranes, and have the ability to regulate prostaglandin and cytokine production. The researchers suggest, greater levels of omega-6s in the diet could exacerbate neuroinflammation; similarly, higher amounts of omega-3s could downregulate such inflammation and protect against neurodegenerative conditions.

Another group of researchers in Paris found omega-3 fatty acids reduced polyps, which are a precursor to cancer, in subjects prone to bowel cancer.

Food sources of omega 3 fatty acids

Food 			 Serving 	Cals 	DV (%)
			  Size
 
Flaxseeds 		  2 tbs 	95.3 	146.3 
Cloves, dried, ground 	  2 tsp 	14.2 	8.3 
Walnuts 		  0.25 cup 	163.5 	94.6 
Oregano, dried, ground 	  2 tsp 	9.2 	5.0
Salmon, chinook, cooked	  4 oz-wt 	261.9 	87.1
Cauliflower, boiled 	  1 cup 	28.5 	8.8 
Mustard seeds		  2 tsp 	35.0 	8.3
Cabbage, shredded,cooked  1 cup 	33.0 	7.1
Romaine lettuce 	  2 cup 	15.7 	3.3
Broccoli, steamed	  1 cup 	43.7 	8.3
Brussel sprouts, boiled   1 cup 	60.8 	10.8 
Tofu, raw 		  4 oz-wt 	86.2 	15.0
Halibut, baked/broiled 	  4 oz-wt 	158.8 	25.8
Spinach, boiled 	  1 cup 	41.4 	6.3 
Soybeans, cooked 	  1 cup 	297.6 	42.9
Shrimp, steamed/boiled 	  4 oz-wt 	112.3 	15.4
Cod, baked/broiled 	  4 oz-wt 	119.1 	13.3
Strawberries 		  1 cup 	43.2 	4.6
Green beans, boiled 	  1 cup 	43.8 	4.6
Snapper, baked/broiled 	  4 oz-wt 	145.2 	15.0
Scallops, baked/broiled	  4 oz-wt 	151.7 	14.6
Tuna, yellowfin, cooked   4 oz-wt 	157.6 	13.8
Raspberries		  1 cup 	60.3 	5.0