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
JAN 05, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
JAN 05, 2021
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
Researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have used epigenetic modulators to reduce stress-induc ...
FEB 06, 2021
Neuroscience
Chronic Depression Linked to Reduced Support Cell Function in Brain
FEB 06, 2021
Chronic Depression Linked to Reduced Support Cell Function in Brain
Researchers from Canada have found that people with chronic depression who ultimately commit suicide have significantly ...
FEB 12, 2021
Neuroscience
How Cannabis Affects Entrepreneurial Skills
FEB 12, 2021
How Cannabis Affects Entrepreneurial Skills
Entrepreneurs are often known for their blue sky thinking, but when idea creation happens by entrepreneurs who are also ...
FEB 20, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Activity Predicts Onset of PTSD
FEB 20, 2021
Brain Activity Predicts Onset of PTSD
Why is it that some people develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a stressful event, while othe ...
MAR 30, 2021
Neuroscience
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
MAR 30, 2021
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
Researchers have found that activity in the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) following exposure to negative ...
MAY 03, 2021
Neuroscience
Researchers Use Live Human Neurons to Map How the Brain Works
MAY 03, 2021
Researchers Use Live Human Neurons to Map How the Brain Works
In a new study, researchers have identified previously unknown attributes of human neurons after being given rare access ...
Loading Comments...