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Missouri Medicine


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as docosahexaneoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaneoic acid (EPA), play a critical role in a variety of neuronal functions, including facilitating neuronal growth and differentiation, increasing the density of the neuritic network, modulating cell membrane fluidity, regulating intracellular signaling and gene expression, and exhibiting antioxidant characteristics. Dietary DHA is selectively enriched and actively retained in the central nervous system, mainly in synaptic membranes, dendrites, and photoreceptors. In this review, we highlight the myriad roles of PUFAs in brain function and human health. Diets rich in DHA are inversely proportional to cognitive decline and incidence of neurodegenerative disorders. Conversely, diets deficient in DHA impair the proper development of brain and the visual system in children and increase risk of brain disorders in the elderly. Finally, DHA and EPA have been shown to reduce inflammation and may prove to be beneficial in reducing the severity of the SARS-COVID infection.

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COVID-19, docosahexaneoic acid, eicosapentaneoic acid