Here is one more reason why fish, seeds and nuts should be a part of your diet. New research conducted at Queen Mary, University of London, shows that omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to not only treat nerves that have been damaged as a result of an accident or impact, but also play a significant role in preventing that nerve damage from happening in the first place. (1)
Neural damage is often the cause of muscle paralysis, weakness, pain, reduced motor ability and loss of coordination to some extent. Those who do recover from injury of the nerves recover slowly and the percentage of such persons who recover completely is low.
In the same study, experiments conducted on rats showed that when nerve damage did occur, those rats which were given omega-3 had a speedier recovery than those who were not given omega 3 in the days that led up to the injury and recovery event.
Omega-3 fatty acid, also known as alpha linolenic acid, is an essential fatty acid, which means that it is not manufactured by the body but has to be taken in through food as a part of our diet. Usually seawater fish and plants, and nuts and seeds that have oil content in them, contain some percentage of omega-3 fatty acid.
Good examples of fish high in omega-3 fatty acid are shrimps, salmon, sardines, tuna and halibut. Nuts like walnuts, butternuts, peanuts, hazelnuts are also good sources, and seeds such as flaxseed and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
The study focused on the prevention, damage and treatment of peripheral nerves of rats. Peripheral nerves are those which transmit messages/signals between the central nervous system (brain and spine) and the rest of our bodies.
The scientists observed isolated nerve cells in rats and then stimulated a nerve by injury. This injury was achieved by stretching the nerve cells or depriving them of oxygen supply through blood circulation). It was seen that though both methods of simulating nerve damage killed neural cells in significant numbers, those which were enriched with omega-3 fatty acid had additional protection and usually the nerve cells were not killed.
In addition to peripheral nerves, the researchers also studied sciatic nerves of the rats. Those rats who were protected by high levels of omega-3 fatty acid had speedier recovery and their chances of regaining 100 percent functionality was greater. It also reduced their chances of muscle-wasting that sometimes follows in the area around the nerve damage.
According to Adina Michael-Titus, Professor of Neuroscience at Barts and the research lead, “Our previous research has shown that these fatty acids could have beneficial effects in a number of neurological conditions. This new study suggests that they could also have a role in treating peripheral nerve injuries. More work is needed but our research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids can protect damaged nerve cells, which is a critical first step in a successful neurological recovery.” (2)
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Prevent and Treat Nerve Damage, Research Suggests; Science Daily News; February 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111103856.htm
2. Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent and treat nerve damage, research suggests; QUeen Mary University of London Media Centre; February 2012; http://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/61746.html
Technical report of the study may be viewed at:
1. Improved Outcome after Peripheral Nerve Injury in Mice with Increased Levels of Endogenous Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids; The Journal Of Neuroscience; February 2012; http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/2/563.abstract?sid=da29eda5-754c-48c0-b274-1daff1fa25c5
INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. ALL INFORMATION GIVEN IS TO BE CHECKED WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE IMPLEMENTING OR TAKING THEM AS STANDARD OR VERIFIED.
Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1) and the upcoming Women’s Complete Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House India).
She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites.
She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com
Reviewed March 8, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith