Mind-Body Interface: Omega 3 Fatty Acids on Mood and Immunity

6/10/2014 – Brandon Schlunt

Everglades University

The connection between mind and body is not like a set of wires plugged into specific sockets, it’s in every cell. Our emotions influence neuropeptides, our perception of events effects our hormones, our immune system produces and receives all of the above, and all of these effect each other and every body system down to the cell through chemical reactions, conditioned behavior and nerve impulses. Think not that this is a closed system, as environmental factors, such as nutrition, are as intimately involved in psychoneuroimmunology as the white blood cells and adrenal glands.

This article drives that point home in a study of Omega-3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their effect, for better or worse, on mood states and immunity. A very logical thought pattern emerges here. If we take what we have learned about stress and it’s capacity to down-regulate immunity and provoke hormone cascades, and the fact that this stress has to be controlled consciously, then it would be negligent to ignore the numerous studies pinning n-3 PUFA’s as essential to cognitive, immune, and nerve function. Further, “DHA deficit is associated with dysfunctions of neuronal membrane stability and transmission of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which might connect to the aetiology of mood and cognitive dysfunction of depression. On the other hand, EPA is important in balancing the immune function and physical health by reducing arachidonic acid (AA, an n-6 PUFA) level on cell membrane and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) synthesis” (Su, 2008).

This expands the discussion of treatment into the physical realm and displays how nutritional factors, particularly n-3 Pufa’s, can offer a powerful tool in controlling one’s own mind-body dialogue. Ironically, it also connects the tangible to the intangible. Sing it with me, geeks… “That’s psychoneuroimmunology”

Click the link below to read the full PDF:

Mind-Body Interface: The Role of n-3 fatty acids in psychoneuroimmunology

Su, K. (2008). Mind-body interface: the role of n-3 fatty acids in psychoneuroimmunology, somatic presentation, and medical illness comorbidity of depression. Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 17 Suppl 1151-157.

An excerpt from one menu’s bonus info that came with the Nutritional Analysis:

• I used Grapeseed oil in the Tikka Masala and Pad Thai. Grapeseed oil boasts one of the highest Vitamin E contents of all of the cooking oils. This means it remains stable while cooking and does not oxidize. Vitamin E does the same thing in our bodies, too. Our skin, delicate fatty acids, cell membranes, and so much more are all made up of fats, and Vitamin E protects them from oxidation/free radical damage, contributing to healthier skin, heart health maintenance and much more. There is one downfall of grapeseed oil. It is very high in omega 6, and very low in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 isn’t bad at all, but it is important to keep a balanced ratio. Therefore, I added ground Chia Seed to both of these recipes as chia boasts a higher omega 3 content than Salmon, and also adds a good amount of fiber. We’re looking out for ya!

• Coconut Milk: I like to use coconut milk for many things, but you may notice that it contributes a significant amount of saturated fat to food. The good news is that unlike red meat and fried foods, coconut milk is a MEDIUM rather than LONG chain fatty acid. Many studies have shown that short and medium chain fatty acids are metabolized much easier in our bodies, and are made available for energy usage instead of being stored in our adipose fat tissue. In addition to this, coconut milk contains a magical substance called Lauric Acid, also found in mother’s milk, which actually seeks out parasites, viruses, bacteria, and mold in the body, penetrates their cell walls and destroys them! So much so that coconut milk has been studied, and used successfully to control chronic viral conditions. You don’t have to be a nutrition geek like me to be blown away by this fact. Food can certainly be medicine.

• Kale Lemonade: Green juices are power-packed with nutrition. Green vegetables have the ability to transform sunshine into the food that all creatures consume. True to their nature, greens produce chlorophyll, which oxygenate your body. This enables us to release stored toxins in the body. Your hemoglobin (that has a similar molecular structure as that of your red blood cells) will get elevated, improving the blood circulation as a result and giving your body a boost of energy. A green juice will cleanse your digestive system, lungs, liver and uterus.

About Chef Brandon

bkaleChef Brandon Schlunt is co-owner of HealthSavor, a Cincinnati Ohio based healthy, organic, gluten-free meal delivery service, created to help busy families, individuals and children eat nutritious meals easily and affordably. Chef Brandon focuses on helping his customers lose weight, lower their blood sugar and feels very honored to have earned the trust of many doctors, students, parents, athletes, and on-the-go businessmen and women all over the city. In his non-existent spare time, Chef B enjoys music, hanging with his daughter and fiance, and continuing his education in nutrition.

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