Considering how good fish oil is for the brain, you would think fish would be a lot smarter. Good fish oil is comprised of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are what we call essential fatty acids because the body cannot produce enough for its own needs so we have to either eat foods containing them or supplement.
There are 4 Omega-3s that we need EPA, DHA, DPA and ALA. They have very long names. EPA has gotten a lot of attention because it is very good at reducing systemic inflammation and cardiovascular health. Most of the supplements you find on the shelf of health food stores will be either all EPA or a blend of EPA, DHA, and maybe ALA.
DPA is getting more attention in research. It is an intermediary between EPA and DHA which means the body can convert it into either one. It has some of the benefits of both EPA and DHA for cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, may be related to depression and schizophrenia and oxidative damage to the brain. Taking DPA with EPA and DHA actually increases the absorption of EPA and DHA and helps balance the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. Currently DPA is available as a supplement and is found in some Omega-3 blends, but I think we will be seeing more and more of it as research continues.
The brain is about 60% fat. DHA makes up about 40% of that as one of the main ingredients of the cell walls or membranes. It is about 97% of the Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. When we consider diseases or degeneration of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, MS, dementia or even mild cognitive decline and memory loss, they are all a function of nerves not communicating with each other properly. This failed communication most often has brain inflammation at its root cause. DHA is anti-inflammatory within the brain so it is neuroprotective. Supplementing with DHA has been shown to lessen all of the above issues.
If you are deficient in DHA and the brain needs it to control inflammation, the brain will start pulling it from the cell walls of neurons. This makes those neurons less responsive and resilient and can even kill them, which leads to more inflammation.
Increasing DHA levels in the brain have many benefits. For example, with concussion aka mild traumatic brain injury, a very sudden cause of brain inflammation, studies have shown that supplementing before a mTBI with DHA or right after mTBI lessens the damage to neurons and neuron death. It helps restore levels of chemicals that help neurons connect, so head injured rats recovered their able to learn and remember better than those without DHA. It lessens microglial activation, a type of brain cell that when activated makes the brain more susceptible to becoming inflamed. Even 30 days after injury DHA helps restore energy production in the neurons lessening ongoing damage. If you think of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases as traumatic brain injury over a long period of time, you can see how using DHA preventatively would be very beneficial.
How much Fish
So you may be asking yourself, “Why don’t you tell me how much of each Omega-3 I should be taking?” And the answer is, “Because I do not know.” And here is why I don’t know.
There really is no established dosage. Most of the titles of studies on head injury and fatty acids end in the words, “in rats”. Recommendations for general health usually recommend a 1:1 or 2:1 EPA to DHA ratio and range anywhere from 500 to 5000mg total Omega-3s per day. EPA is more important for general inflammation, but if you care more about brain health, the focus should be on DHA. For general maintenance and well-being I like to recommend a formula that has 650mg of EPA and 450mg of DHA. In cases where there is brain inflammation, I like to add 1200mg or more of a liquid form of DHA.
Of course, a lot depends on quality. When you purchase your Omega-3 fatty acids, do make sure that you get them from a reputable company. Studies have shown that some Fish Oil supplements have other fats in them or oxidized, aka rotten fats. One of the main functions of the fish oil is as an anti-oxidant. You can see how they wouldn’t work well if already oxydized.
you take a high dose of Fish Oils and get crampy or have a lot of fish tasting
burps, it could mean that the oil is spoiled or your digestive system is not
able to digest fat well. This could mean an issue with your pancreas or gall
bladder or the connection between your brain and digestive system the Vagus
nerve. Keeping your fish oils in the fridge may help and always take them with
food. You may need a new bottle or different brand of oils or a liquid form. If
work, reduce what you are taking. Still having trouble? Try gargling and
singing, it stimulates the Vagus nerve. I guess fish are gargling pretty much
all the time. Maybe they are smarter than we think after all.
Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Normalize BDNF Levels, Reduce Oxidative Damage, and Counteract Learning Disability after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats, Journal of Neurotrauma 2004 21:10, 1457-1467.
James D. Mills, Kevin Hadley, Julian E. Bailes, Dietary Supplementation With the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Docosahexaenoic Acid in Traumatic Brain Injury, Neurosurgery, Volume 68, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 474–481, https://doi.org/10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181ff692b
Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla The Salutary Effects of DHA Dietary Supplementation on Cognition, Neuroplasticity, and Membrane Homeostasis after Brain Trauma, Journal of Neurotrauma 2011 28:10, 2113-2122.
Lloyd D. Harvey, Yan Yin, Insiya Y. Attarwala Administration of DHA Reduces Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Associated Inflammation and Alters Microglial or Macrophage Activation in Traumatic Brain Injury. https://doi.org/10.1177/1759091415618969
R. Preston Mason,Samuel C.R. Sherratt Omega-3 fatty acid fish oil dietary supplements contain saturated fats and oxidized lipids that may interfere with their intended biological benefits. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Elsevier, 29 January 2017.
What if there was one word, one concept that embodied the most significant quality of health and well-being? What do you think that word would be. Well you know I’m a chiropractor, so you might guess that I would say something related to the nervous system, or maybe the alignment of the spine. Maybe preventing Tech Neck. You would warm, but in my mind the single most important thing for health is…
Can Coffee Make You Tired?
Caffeine is the most common psychotropic drug in use. It’s legal and it is oh so good. We drink coffee to battle fatigue, a quick energy boost, and oddly, to relax. But does it really do what we think it does? There is information coming out praising coffee and caffeine in general as being helpful against Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease, but does that really mean that it’s healthy?
The Power of a Healthy Nervous System
Why is it important to make time for your Nerves? You may come home from work every day completely exhausted.You may spend most of your day taking care of your family with precious little time for yourself. Or you could be a single parent who does it all: makes breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone, works at a high-pressure job, and rarely has a spare minute to savor anything. Or perhaps you’re an über-busy executive, laser-focused on your business from early morning to late at night, five to seven days a week.
No matter what your situation, if you don’t make time for yourself to see your chiropractor, you’re not being proactive in maintaining good back and neck health. Your nervous system is suffering and you are missing out on having a higher level of energy and vitality.
Jaw Problems and Headaches Are Often Interrelated
Do you ever wonder if jaw problems aka tmj cause headaches? Do you ever wake up in the morning, yawn or chew, and hear your jaw click? Do you think your jaw issues and your headaches could be connected to each other?
Concussion can be sneaky. It happens when your brain hits the inside of your skull. You don’t even need to hit your head. Whiplash injuries, that are common in car accidents and sports, jar the head forcefully and can cause just as much damage as being struck.
Advice from a Chiropractor
Do you have a series of head pain that just won’t go away and are affecting you at work or while playing sports? Does the pain of migraines stop you in your tracks? Do your sinuses ache? Is stress bothering you? Do you have intermittent dizzy spells?
Don’t you wish there was a way to have someone prevent you from having to yell, “Why does my head hurt?’
In this article, I discuss the types of headaches that my patients have –– and how I resolve their problems with chiropractic care.
Clayton Kershaw. Andrew Bogut. Tony Romo. Tiger Woods. Peyton Manning. What do all of these different athletes have in common? A herniated disc.
They’ve all been in the news over the last few years because of disc herniations in their backs, which can be very painful, even excruciating.
In fact, Clayton Kershaw, the L.A. Dodgers’ pitching ace, was first diagnosed with a disc herniation in his back in June, and was just moved to a 60-day disabled list, meaning he can’t throw, catch or even pick up a baseball until at least late August.
In my most recent article, “Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Back?”, I discussed the pros and cons of twisting the body to crack your back. It’s not always the best way to relieve pain and pressure on the facet joints connecting each of your 33 vertebrae.
In this article, I’ll move up your spine a bit and discuss the practice of cracking your neck.
Concussions are an everyday occurrence in a wide range of sports. Many of my patients are sports enthusiasts and it is not uncommon to hear that they have had one or multiple concussions over their lifetimes.
You might have heard about or seen the movie Concussion, where accomplished pathologist, Dr. Bennett Omalu, uncovers the truth about brain damage among Pittsburgh Steelers and other football players who had suffered from repeated head trauma. The truth is, a concussion head injury isn’t limited to professional athletes.
Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk
Going from the bed to the car to the desk to the sofa, many of my patients feel the need to stretch, but just don’t take the time. When you are sitting all day, you need to stretch to avoid the aches and pains that come with a stiff body. You may not have an hour a day to do a stretch or yoga class, but, it’s important to stretch a little bit frequently to really stay flexible. A good stretch begins from a position of good posture. When stretching at your desk, make sure you have your ergonomics set up first to minimize stress on the body. When you are sitting properly, it will be easier to stretch at your desk or even in your car.
“Oh, my aching back!” Why does your back hurt today and not yesterday? Did you pick something up that was too heavy without bending your legs? Did you sleep with your neck off the side of the pillow? Or did you just wake up and your back suddenly hurt? If you were to ask these questions to my patients, you would hear all sorts of answers. It’s amazing how many myths about back pain there are. To help you understand exactly why your back might be hurting, here are the 5 most common myths that I discuss with my patients and the answers you need to know.
San Rafael Chiropractor Shares Advice
According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 50 to 80% of American adults will experience back pain. When your back hurts, you want to know the cause so you can do something about it.
But, reasons vary and they are often hard to figure out. We all have 24 vertebrae that can get knocked out of line, strained, twisted, or compressed and that can happen in many different ways leading to pain.
5 Proven Techniques from a Chiropractor
Many people realize that their neck or back pain becomes worse after sitting for extended or sometimes even short period of times. In our culture, most of us spend much of our day seated, whether it’s on the drive to work, at a desk in front of a computer , eating and even relaxing on the sofa after a long day. No matter where you are sitting, the same posture and ergonomic concerns apply. The more you are able to apply the following guidelines, the less stress you will have on your spine and the less likely you will be to experience back or neck pain.
You probably haven’t actively thought about how to strengthen your neck, but you wake up after you “slept funny” and you’ve got a crick. Then that crick turns into a lot of pain in and around your neck that just won’t go away by itself. At this point most people start to wonder if a Chiropractor would be good solution or if this is “just” neck pain they will have to live with. The good news, a chiropractor can help you with neck issues.
Do you have headaches more than a few times a week? Are they tension headaches? Or are they migraines? At Balance Chiropractic, many of my patients seek headache help in San Rafael, because their pain can be caused by a wide variety of problems.
In this article I’ll be discussing how you can be treated with chiropractic techniques and cranial therapies to ease your headache pain. I offer a variety of therapies to analyze and correct most issues that address the needs of headache suffers.
What is Causing My Constant Headache?
If you’ve found this page, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from headache. In fact, you may already know that a severe headache is the #1 reason for missing work. So, if you’re one of those folks who’s tired of missing work or loosing quality time with friends and family, because your head throbs or bright lights hurt your eyes, this article is for you.
Chiropractic Solutions for Athletes
When you think about it, Marin is like a giant park, with all kinds of wonderful and easily accessible indoor and outdoor activities to keep you fit, trim and in great shape. It’s our own slice of paradise.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, training for a triathlon, the Dipsea Race or the Double Dipsea (for you masochists out there), it’s fairly common to tweak a muscle or joint.
How Chiropractic Helps Backs Feel Better
“Oh my aching back,” is a phase I’ve heard all too often in my chiropractic office and it’s not surprising as back pain is one of the most common issues I treat. The fact that you found this article tells me that you most likely have some kind of back pain.
In this article, I’ll outline some of the common causes for lower and upper back ailments, then I’ll describe how I treat them.