Omega 3 and Omega 6: fatty acids at the basis of human intelligence

    Omega 3 and Omega 6: fatty acids at the basis of human intelligence

    Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the key to our brain evolution

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    Omega 3, are the key to our evolutionary success. About 300 thousand years ago, humans have genetically adapted in the course of their evolution mainly due to the fact that they have been able to produce large quantities of Omega-3 e Omega 6, the notes and benefits fatty acids. That adaptation may have been key to it development of the capabilities of our brain.

    A new one has discovered it study conducted by a research team fromUppsala University. The human nervous system and the brain contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and these are essential for its development and functioning. In particular, the experts studied the genes of the two key enzymes, necessary for the production of Omega-3 and Omega-6, the fatty acids of vegetable oils. By analyzing them, they found that humans are the only ones to have genetic variant which leads to an increase in their production. This genetic adaptation linked to the high production of Omega-3 and Omega-6 it is found only in humans, and not in monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas, our distant relatives, for example.

    Similarly, neither are Neanderthals or Denisovans, other extinct species of hominids, they have this genetic variant. In fact, it seems that this change took place about 300 years ago in the evolutionary line that resulted in modern man. This genetic adaptation which led to a more efficient production of Omega-3 and Omega-6 from vegetable oils was probably a important factor for human survival in environments with limited access to fatty acids in the diet.

    "During the development of human beings, previously, when there was a general energy deficit, this variant made it possible for us to satisfy the great need for polyunsaturated fatty acids, necessary for our brain capacities," he explained. Adam Lover of the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology of Uppsala University.

    But according to experts, today we are the exact opposite since with the surplus of nourishment, "this genetic adaptation instead contributes to a greater risk of developing disorders such as cardiovascular disease".

    The study is even more important by virtue of this consideration. Explains Ulf Gyllensten, Uppsala professor of molecular genetic medicine: "This is the first study to show a genetic adaptation of human fat metabolism."

    The research was published on The American Journal of Human Genetics.

    Francesca Mancuso

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