Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System - A Review
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are crucial for our health and wellbeing; therefore, they have
been widely investigated for their roles in maintaining human health and in disease treatment. Most Western
diets include significant amount of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids and insufficient quantity of omega-3;
however, the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA, in particular, is essential for the formation of
pro- and anti-inflammatory lipids to promote health and prevent disease. As our daily diet affects our health,
this paper draws attention to unique representatives of the omega-3 fatty acid group: alpha-linolenic acid and
its derivatives. Recently, this has been shown to be effective in treating and preventing various diseases. It has
been confirmed that omega-3 PUFAs may act as therapeutic agents as well and their significant role against
inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, has been described. Some of
nutritional factors have been described as a significant modifiers, which can influence brain elasticity and
thus, effect on central nervous system functioning. Therefore, appropriate dietary management appears to be
a non-invasive and effective approach to counteract neurological and cognitive disorders.
Keywords: Alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, blood-brain barrier, central nervous system, essential fatty acids, linoleic
acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids.
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