Pharmacology in Health Foods: Effects of Arachidonic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid on the Age-Related Decline in Brain and Cardiovascular System Function
Journal of Pharmacological Sciences
Arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are major constituents of cell membranes and play important roles in preserving physiological and psychological function. Recently, data from several studies have indicated that impairments in long-term potentiation (LTP), the process underlying plasticity in synaptic connections, are associated with a decrease in membrane ARA and DHA in aged rats; and treatment of aged rats with either of these polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reverses
... (PUFAs) reverses age-related decrease in LTP and the decrease in membrane fatty acid concentration. This review focuses on our recent findings concerning the effects of ARA and DHA on the age-related decline in the function of the brain and cardiovascular system. ARA supplementation decreased P300 latency and increased P300 amplitude of event-related potentials in healthy elderly men. Cognitive impairments in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and patients with organic brain lesions were significantly improved with ARA and DHA supplementation. ARA and DHA supplementation also increased coronary flow velocity reserve in elderly individuals; this suggests beneficial effects of PUFAs on coronary microcirculation. In conclusion, ARA and DHA may be beneficial in preventing and/or improving age-related declines in brain and cardiovascular system function.