Brain Foods

Brain Foods

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What are synapses and how is DHA related to them?

What are synapses and how is DHA related to them?

 


Synapses are where individual neurons connect with other neurons, where they talk to each other, transmitting and receiving chemical signals, called neural transmitters. Colloquially, when we say nerves are firing, we are actually referring to the chemical information exchange occurring at the synapses. Each neuron can have thousands, even tens of thousands of synaptic connections with other neurons. In fact, every new experience, memory, or skill we have results in the formation of new connections. Some researchers suggest that the more synaptic connections you have, the better your mind is able to function.

Interestingly, DHA is more concentrated in the membranes at the synapses than any other place in the body. Its unique shape and size is needed for neurons to successfully exchange neurotransmitters. If the brain does not have enough DHA to meet the need, it will use in its place an omega-6 fatty acid, DPA. However, DPA does not nearly fit as nicely as DHA, and the communication between neurons at the synapses may therefore suffer.

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