Brain Growth Factors are compounds that stimulate the development of the myelin sheath, the fatty substance surrounding the axon of the neuron. This fatty covering is vital for effective and efficient transmission of messages from one area of the brain to the other. For example, you want to move your hand to scratch your nose. The message begins in the supplementary motor cortex, moves to the primary motor cortex and then on down the spinal cord to your hand, which then moves.
Now what happens if the neurons, which the electrical impulse traveled along don’t have the fatty covering? The message moves slowly and in many cases fizzles out, never reaching its intended target and therefore never initiating the movement of the hand, causing you to have a very annoying itch that can’t be scratched.
To repair or regenerate the myelin sheath your body needs fresh supplies of fat from dietary sources. That’s right; you need to eat fat to maintain the good health of your brain cells.
But I’m not talking about a juicy T-bone steak marbled with fat or a sizzling piece of bacon. I’m talking good quality fats. The juicy steak may taste really good, but it isn’t good brain food. It’s actually brain degrading food! Dietary fat, specifically saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat have two devastating effects on the brain: they impair cerebral circulation and create millions of free radicals.
I’ll be talking about cerebral circulation in a later article so I’ll focus on free radicals in this one. What is a free radical? A free radical is a molecule that’s short an electron. Because of this it tries to steal electrons from other molecules so it can get back into balance. In the body, it grabs electrons from DNA, cells and electron-rich neurons. One of the largest sources of free radicals is from the oxidization of fat. Oxidation turns fat rancid. Rancid oil is bad news for your arteries and your brain.
Saturated fats are fats saturated with hydrogen atoms packed so tightly together they form a thick consistency. They don’t dissolve too well in the body so build up on the walls of blood vessels to the extent that they can damage vessel walls allowing blood to leak out. This is doom and gloom for the brain, as blood is corrosive to brain cells.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid and not as damaging to blood vessels but equally as deadly to sensitive brain tissue. Why? Because they oxidize faster than lardy saturated fats, so more rapidly turn into damaging free radicals.
A large portion of your brain is made up of fat. In fact, each neuron is made up of 60% fat, making it vital to ensure you get the right kind of fat in your diet. Saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are not the ideal choice. In moderation, maybe, but you still need to get brain building fats from other sources. Below, I’ve included a list of unsaturated fats, from best to worst for your information. Some, like olive oil and sesame oil can be heated and used in moderation for stir fries, others can be used, unheated in salad dressings like phytoestrogenic rich flaxseed or macadamia oil.
1. Macadamia nut (3%)
2. Extra virgin olive oil (8%)
3. Flaxseed oil (16%)
4. Canola Oil (22%)
5. Peanut Oil (33%)
6. Sesame Seed Oil (41%)
7. Walnut Oil (51%)
8. Soybean Oil (54%)
9. Corn Oil (61%)
10. Sunflower Oil (69%)
11. Safflower Oil (77%)
Of course, the worst kind of fat you can consume is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat. These are fats that have been transformed into a solid full of a destructive form of fat called trans-fatty acid. These fats form globs, not just in your blood vessels but directly in your cells as well, including your brain cells. Unfortunately, they cause massive destruction within the cell by disrupting normal cellular activity.
The best brain fat of all is fish oil. Pharmaceutical grade fish oil. It feeds the brain the ultimate fat, omega 3 essential fatty acid. This fat is what insulates the neuron and speeds transmission of messages and signals. It combats depression, enhances learning and memory and plays a major role in regeneration and recreation of brain structures. It also helps with concentration and focus.
So, to ensure maximum brain efficiency take your fish oil daily!
copyright 2011 @ Meza Health Systems, Inc.