MAY 26, 2015 7:33 PM PDT

Really Good Fat: LPC Fat Critical to Brain Health

WRITTEN BY: Will Hector
There's good fat, and then there's really good fat.

Two separate studies have pointed to the key role played by the fat LPC in maintaining healthy brain functioning. The studies each showed that if not enough LPCs get through to support the brain, the effects can range from disease to death.
Mutated Mfsd2a gene causes risk for brain impairment (right) or death.
LPC, the abbreviation for Lysophosphatidylcholine, describes a class of chemical compounds that may also be referred to as lysoPCs or lysolecithins. These fats are transported to the brain by the carrier protein Mfsd2a.

Mfsd2a, which is expressed in blood vessels that form the blood-brain barrier, was identified last year to be the major transporter for DHA uptake into brain. DHA is a common omega-3 fatty acid known to be critical to healthy cognitive function and brain growth. It turns out Mfsd2a also is the transport mechanism for LPCs, as the newly published studies revealed.

Each of the new studies centered around families with mutations in the protein Mfsd2a. Once such study focused on children in families with microcephaly, or reduced head size that often leads to abnormal brain development and developmental issues. In these children, the Mfsd2a transport function was fully inhibited, meaning not enough LPCs were getting to the brain. The children died between the ages of one and six. It's the first time a genetic disease has been linked with LPC transport, and firmly establishes a correlation between LPCs and brain growth and health.

The other study involved a family with microcephaly. In this case, the Mfsd2a mutation reduced but did not completely eliminate transport of LPCs. The result was that family members incurred cognitive disabilities, speech difficulties, and impaired control of limbs, but not death.

David Silver of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore co-authored the two studies showing the link between LPCs and brain function. Silver's 2014 study paved the way for the current findings. In that study, he showed that mice engineered without Mfds2a didn't transport LPCs and formed microcephaly. Since DHA deficiency doesn't cause microcephaly, this proved LPCs need to be shuttled into the brain and also implicated LPCs in brain growth and function.

Silver described the importance of the new research, which demonstrated for the first time the critical role of LPC fats in human brain functioning and growth: "Our work confirms the essential role of LPCs in brain development and function in humans, and indicates that brain uptake of LPCs during fetal development and in adult life is important. Now we are studying the functions of LPCs in the brain, and the implications for application are very exciting. We might be able to develop therapeutics in the future that could prevent and treat neurological disorders, and improve brain growth and function. We may even be able to target better brain nutrition for babies, mothers, and the aged."

The studies support the evidence favoring fatty acids and nutritional oils in a healthy diet, and will hopefully contribute to restoring some of the public appetite for certain fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, pinolenic acid, and conjugated linoleic acid.

Follow Will Hector on Twitter: @WriterWithHeart

(Sources: Science.NaturalNews.com; Science Daily; Mayo Clinic)
About the Author
  • Will Hector practices psychotherapy at Heart in Balance Counseling Center in Oakland, California. He has substantial training in Attachment Theory, Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Psycho-Physical Therapy, and Formative Psychology. To learn more about his practice, click here: http://www.heartinbalancetherapy.com/will-hector.html
You May Also Like
FEB 26, 2020
Neuroscience
FEB 26, 2020
Why Alzheimer's may be a Sleep Disorder
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia in which amyloid-beta protein builds up in the brain, killing off surrou ...
APR 07, 2020
Neuroscience
APR 07, 2020
Do Right-Left Brain Connections Influence Intelligence?
After Albert Einstein died, his brain underwent an autopsy. In particular, it was found that he had an abnormally thick ...
APR 21, 2020
Neuroscience
APR 21, 2020
Considerations for Lab Managers in Choosing a Microplate Reader
In today's high-tech, digitized laboratory environments, nobody pays very much attention to the humble plastic micro ...
MAY 04, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAY 04, 2020
Can Cannabis Improve Chronic Insomnia?
Around 30% of Americans have insomnia. A serious problem, researchers have found that cannabis products may be able to h ...
MAY 15, 2020
Neuroscience
MAY 15, 2020
Parents Change Each Other's Brain Activity When with Children
Researchers from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have found that parents’ brains respond differently to ...
JUN 02, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JUN 02, 2020
Ancient Israelites Used Cannabis to Experience God
Researchers have found evidence that ancient worshipers in Israel may have used cannabis to experience God over 2800 yea ...
Loading Comments...