Folic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve cognitive function and prevent depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease-But how and why?

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Low blood folate and raised homocysteine concentrations are associated with poor cognitive function. Folic acid supplementation improves cognitive function. Folic acid enhances the plasma concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA, DHA, and arachidonic acid (AA) are of benefit in dementia and Alzheimer's disease by up-regulating gene expression concerned with neurogenesis, neurotransmission and connectivity, improving endothelial nitric oxide (eNO) generation, enhancing brain acetylcholine levels, and suppressing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. EPA, DHA, and AA also form precursors to anti-inflammatory compounds such as lipoxins, resolvins, and neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) that protect neurons from the cytotoxic action of various noxious stimuli. Furthermore, various neurotrophins and statins enhance the formation of NPD1 and thus, protect neurons from oxidative stress and prevent neuronal apoptosis Folic acid improves eNO generation, enhances plasma levels of EPA/DHA and thus, could augment the formation of NPD1. These results suggest that a combination of EPA, DHA, AA and folic acid could be of significant benefit in dementia, depression, and Alzheimer's disease and improve cognitive function. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • acetylcholine
  • acetylcholine brain level
  • apoptosis
  • arachidonic acid
  • article
  • cognition
  • cytokine production
  • dementia
  • depression
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • folic acid
  • gene expression
  • homocysteine
  • human
  • icosapentaenoic acid
  • inflammation
  • lipoxin
  • nervous system development
  • neuroprotectin D1
  • neuroprotection
  • neurotransmission
  • neurotrophin
  • nitric oxide
  • omega 3 fatty acid
  • omega 6 fatty acid
  • oxidative stress
  • polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • priority journal
  • resolvin
  • unclassified drug
  • vitamin supplementation

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