Got Lyme?

Sweet Annie, Sweet Stevia: The whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Artemisia annua L. (sweet wormwood, qinhao) has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine. The isolation of artemisinin from Artemisia annua and its worldwide accepted application in malaria therapy is one of the showcase success stories of phytomedicine during the past decades. Artemisinin-type compounds are also active towards other protozoal or viral diseases as well as cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Nowadays, Artemisia annua tea is used as a self-reliant treatment in developing countries. The unsupervised use of Artemisia annua tea has been criticized to foster the development of artemisinin resistance in malaria and cancer due to insufficient artemisinin amounts in the plant as compared to standardized tablets with isolated artemisinin or semisynthetic artemisinin derivatives. However, artemisinin is not the only bioactive compound in Artemisia annua… This indicates that cells resistant to one compound retained sensitivity to another one. These results were also supported by microarray-based mRNA expression profiling showing that molecular determinants of sensitivity and resistance were different between artemisinin and the other phytochemicals investigated.

Sweet Annie

Dried-leaf Artemisia annua: A practical malaria therapeutic for developing countries?

Human trial data showed that when delivered as dried leaves, 40-fold less artemisinin was required to obtain a therapeutic response compared to pure artemisinin.

>Effectiveness of Stevia Rebaudiana Whole Leaf Extract Against the Various Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi in Vitro

When Stevia and the three antibiotics were tested against attached biofilms, Steviasignificantly reduced B. burgdorferi forms. Results from this study suggest that a natural product such as Stevia leaf extract could be considered as an effective agent against B. burgdorferi.

The anti-borreliae efficacy of phytochemicals and micronutrients: an update

Neuropathological evidence indicates that dopaminergic cell death in Parkinson׳s disease (PD) involves impairment of mitochondrial complex I, oxidative stress, microglial activation, and the formation of Lewy bodies. Epidemiological findings suggest that the consumption of berries rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins may reduce PD risk. In this study, we investigated whether extracts rich in anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, or other polyphenols suppress the neurotoxic effects of rotenone in a primary cell culture model of PD. Dopaminergic cell death elicited by rotenone was suppressed by extracts prepared from blueberries, grape seed, hibiscus, blackcurrant, and Chinese mulberry. Extracts rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins exhibited greater neuroprotective activity than extracts rich in other polyphenols, and a number of individual anthocyanins interfered with rotenone neurotoxicity. The blueberry and grape seed extracts rescued rotenone-induced defects in mitochondrial respiration in a dopaminergic cell line, and a purple basal extract attenuated nitrite release from microglial cells stimulated by lipopolysaccharide. These findings suggest that anthocyanin- and proanthocyanidin-rich botanical extracts may alleviate neurodegeneration in PD via enhancement of mitochondrial function.



How doctors cook the books and fry their patients…

The simplistic but flawed methods and logic, the level of denial in conventional medicine has become more obvious in recent years with the use of its own tools to quantify the immense differences between individuals related to epigenetics  and microbiomes unique to each organ and each person. Waving a magic wand called “Science” to cast a spell with the words “Evidence-Based”  or a curse with the words “Anecdotal” or “Quack” does not make their own fault go away. Evidence is everywhere, the critical issue is how to use it.

Rumi voice

3 Peas in a Pod. Proxies + Populations -> p (a measure of confidence or certainty in statistical abnalysis.) Years later many proxies (cholesterol for example) are found to be valid only within severely limited populations and circumstances. Furthermore, the confidence value p is only retroactive for the particular population included in the study. So no matter how large the population (often referred to as N) and no matter how high the calculated value of p for the measured results within that population, the application of that intervention in prescribing treatment or medication to any individual prospectively is uncertain. At best p is a lead, a clue.

An article in a magazine by an MD psychiatrist points out the fallacy in medical fields of so-called scientific methods when the model is the obsolete simplistic science of Newton. Physics and science now encompass Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity with integral and fundamental uncertainties, singularities and non-linearities that were inconceivable in Classical Physics.

“The fault belongs to who speaks it.”-Yunus Emre

The Gambler’s Fallacy is to believe the weight of statistics can be applied to a single incident or individual. (For example, if a gambler has won a big payout on a slot machine he/she will go to another machine to continue playing. Or, if there has been a series of tails the gambler will favor heads in betting if he/she believes the game to be truly random.) The MD’s fallacy in turn is to believe that a study with N=Bigly guarantees or proves something for N=1, that huge studies mean a high level of certainty for any one patient.

The “No True Scotsman Fallacy” is to introduce a judgmental qualifying adjective or criterium which the proponent can redefine to suit his own purposes. For example qualifiers such as True or Evidence-Based or Scientific.

Literally, Ayurveda means the science of life. But, the science of life is more than which herb to use or which food to eat for dinner – it’s a new way of thinking altogether.

Everyone needs medical doctors occasionally, but one’s quality of life comes from daily living. In a health context, Ayurveda allows you to easily match a person with what is good for them in a systematic yet highly individual way. Ayurveda recognizes the natural world as the means to basic wellness. Ayurveda offers a methodical model to approach the natural world as medicine in your day to day life, which can be used by all.

Ayurveda is an objective method of analysis like science, but based on qualifying individual experiences and patterns in nature instead of quantifying them, as science does. Instead of summarizing natural events with statistical averages alone, Ayurveda can switch between statistical models and highly individualized models for assessment with ease. It can be used alongside the scientific method in a variety of situations such as recovering from chemotherapy. Ayurveda even seems at ease navigating the highly individualized effects of chemotherapy. A diet of easy to digest foods that takes the person’s body type into account will enable them to rebuild their digestion (and health) more effectively.

Ayurveda recognizes that all of life is a relationship. In breaking down the dynamics of relationships, Ayurveda offers a model for interactions that predicts how your body will respond to contact with your environment. In addition to describing interactions, Ayurveda helps people describe sensations they are having and puts their experiences into a context, so you can see how the pieces fit with the whole.

Evidence-Based medicine in action:

MD: “You tested negative for Lyme Disease.”

Patient: “Given the symptoms wouldn’t it be better risk/cost management to prescribe the usual antibiotics?”

MD: “You don’t have Lyme Disease therefore it is unethical to prescribe antibiotics.”

Patient: “You said I don’t have Lyme, but a negative test does not prove it. What are the percentage false negative and false positive for that test? I read at least 20% for each.”

MD: “The CDC prohibits prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily because of the growing threat of antibiotic resistant infections.”

Patient: “Is that more about the millions of pounds of antibiotics entering the food chain and the environment from agriculture practices?”

On the same topic, Lyme Disease:

A significant contributing challenge is the disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose using lab testing. The bacteria is able to infect your white blood cells. Testing measures the antibodies white cells produce, but infected cells don’t respond appropriately. Antibodies to the disease appear only after your white cells are functioning normally. This means that to get an accurate blood test, you first have to undergo treatment.16 To overcome this challenge, the CDC recommends a two-step testing process.17 

It is also interesting to note that the stevoside extract, by itself, was not found to be an effective antimicrobial agent against B. burgdorferi; nor did it have any effect on resistant cells.  Mass market stevia products, including Coca-cola’s Truvia (ironic branding, considering it does not have the truly therapeutic property of whole stevia), would not, therefore, have the medicinal property associated with the whole herb extract. This speaks, of course, to the well known principle in natural medicine that the activity of the whole can not be reproduced through a part, nor is the therapeutic activity of the whole identical to that of the sum of its parts.



Bad Dogs Need Focus

BDNF-big dogs need food?

Buddha Does Not Flinch! And how to increase your own unflinching “Buddha,” brain derived neurotrophic factor, that is.

What’s on your mind, Facebook asks? BDNF! It is on my mind and in my mind. Yours too, the more the better. BDNF is a trending proxy-a metric for ways to improve mental health and brain function in Baby Boomers.


Exogenous BDNF treatment significantly improved neuromuscular transmission in all groups and NMTF in McAb3-treated rats was no longer different from control or McAb1-treated animals. We conclude that BDNF improves neuromuscular transmission in adult myasthenic rats.

A grab-bag of related info from   >BDNF does to brain cells pretty much what steroids do to muscle cells. It helps them grow – not in physical size, but by helping brain cells to make new connections with each other.

>BDNF enables brain cells to grow and form new connections, so that the brain can absorb new information. DHA boosted the concentration of BDNF, and yes, this increase was larger when combined with exercise.
“The protective effects associated with elevations in brain carnosine appear to be related to a protection of BDNF expression in the hippocampus”, the researchers concluded. “The precise mechanism of how elevated carnosine concentrations support BDNF expression requires additional research. This appears to be the first study known to demonstrate a potential role of bèta-alanine as a dietary supplement for the treatment or prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

rumi noah

Paradoxically, perhaps, nicotine increases BDNF. >Although nicotine has been shown to improve cognitive function in various studies, the mechanisms underlying acute nicotine treatment-induced neuroprotection remain incompletely understood.

Considering the multifactorial nature of the biochemical links between physical activity and neurophysiology it is likely that there are many pharmacological mechanisms by which the beneficial actions of exercise can be effectively reproduced using chemical agents. Most studies to date have focused on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a signaling target for the enhancement of neuronal function by exercise.

Understanding the molecular targets for exercise-induced regulation of neuroplasticity may lead to the development of novel therapeutic treatments for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.


>Based on our current findings, we anticipate that fucoxanthin might exhibit
great therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by acting on multiple targets,including inhibiting AChE and increasing BDNF expression.   file:///root/Downloads/marinedrugs-14-00067.pdf

More grab-bags or call them tool boxes:

Linking brain and gut health:

Butyrate, neuroepigenetics and the gut microbiome: Can a high fiber diet improve brain health?

Microsoft Word - Butyrate Review Final Revisions_V2.docx

More on the same subjects:


Coffee Fruit, Caffeine, Nicotine, WTH?

The cigarette smokers’ Paradox

Separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff:

BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor, is good.

Telomerase is good. *(See telomeres, telomerase, aging and disease note below)

Nicotine is good… since nicotine is known to increase blood levels of BDNF(53)


Tobacco Plants, Nicotiana

*>Age is the highest risk factor for some of the most prevalent human diseases, including cancer. Telomere shortening is thought to play a central role in the aging process in humans. The link between telomeres and aging is highlighted by the fact that genetic diseases causing telomerase deficiency are associated with premature aging and increased risk of cancer. Telomeres are crucial for genome stability: they prevent chromosome ends from engaging in illegitimate repair and ensure their maintenance by recruiting the enzyme telomerase, a reverse transcriptase that elongates telomeres (de Lange, 2005).

There has long been a question or so-called paradox related to the high levels of known toxins in cigarette smoke. As bad as cigarette smoking is for health, you might expect it to be much, much worse!

WTH! “Past and current smokers were less likely to develop cognitive impairment during a 10-year follow-up than were those who had never smoked. The present study suggests that smoking may be protective for cognitive function.”

But I will stick to rubbing fresh tobacco leaf juice on my skin for my nicotine fix…

Nevertheless, the present work suggests that procyanidins may have the ability to increase plasma BDNF levels and, perhaps, to a larger extent than caffeine itself. This is particularly interesting considering that recent research show that procyanidin oligomers play a role in neuroprotection from excitotoxic injury(50).

BDNF-dependent telomerase activity has been shown to promote neuron survival in developing hippocampal neurons(51). Increased BDNF expression and telomerase activity after brain injury suggest that telomerase may play a role in BDNF-mediated neuroprotection. Furthermore, BDNF has been shown to up-regulate telomerase expression and activity in spinal motor neurons(52). These neurons, treated with BDNF, are more resistant to ex-cytotoxic injury, presumably from increased cellular resistance to apoptosis. It is interesting to speculate that WCFC possibly may also exert an anti-apoptotic effect through telomerase by increased BDNF activity.

WCFC was tested under experimental conditions reducing impact of possible confounding effects; for example, non-smokers were not included in the present study, since nicotine is known to increase blood levels of BDNF(53). All subjects remained in the clinical site during the duration of the study to avoid any shifts in blood level of BDNF due to exercise and physical activity(34).

The final reference in the article above:

The relationship between cigarette smoking and cognitive impairment is not a simple one. Some studies have demonstrated that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for cognitive impairment in the elderly, whereas other studies have shown cigarette smoking to be protective against dementia.

The possible “hinge factor” could be nicotine.

500 years ago, as Monardes wrote in “Joyfull News out of the New Found World,” tobacco among other “discovered” medicinal plants was considered to be a cure-all, a panacea.

Bonus Marilyn Monroe sighting!




Third Brother Angus

I was thinking what kind of herbal tea to hydrate sprouting and malting seeds like broccoli, wheat, fenugreek, mung beans and desi chick peas to encourage growth and prevent mold. Malting, that means growing long enough to increase the phyto-nutrients to optimum concentration, usually 3-4 days and less than half inch sprout. Growing longer is a multiple liability, diluting the healthiest products of early germination for the sake of chlorophyll in emerging leaves: not the best reason to grow sprouts. You want chlorophyll? Eat spinach, spirulina, chlorella, etc. You want glucosinolates or whatever the major attraction in broccoli sprouts? Harvest them at 3-4 days max.

Large quantities of inducers of enzymes that protect against carcinogens can be delivered in the diet by small quantities of young crucifer sprouts (e.g., 3-day-old broccoli sprouts) that contain as much inducer activity as 10–100 times larger quantities of mature vegetables. Moreover, the inducer activity arises primarily from glucoraphanin (the glucosinolate of sulforaphane) and such sprouts contain relatively low quantities of indole glucosinolates, which are potential tumor promoters.

Preliminary experiments indicated that inducer potencies (expressed per g of plant) of extracts of young sprouts of arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cress, daikon, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, and watercress ranged from 10 to 100 times those of mature field-grown plants. Similarly, in sprouts of eight broccoli cultivars, grown without exogenous nutrients, the inducer activity (nearly all of which arose from glucosinolates) per unit plant weight declined initially in an exponential manner from a maximum in the seed (Fig. (Fig.3)3) and continued to decline thereafter, approaching the values in mature broccoli heads after about 15 days (data not shown), whereas the total inducer activity per plant remained constant. The inducer activity fell from 1.8 million units/g of seeds to 180,000 units/g fr. wt. at 9 days, largely due to an increase in plant weight from seeds (3.3 mg) to 9-day-old sprouts (60 mg). Apparently no significant net synthesis of glucosinolates occurred under these conditions.

…A 100-g serving of mature broccoli would, therefore, provide 108 μmol of methylsulfinylalkyl glucosinolates and 229 μmol of indole glucosinolates, whereas consumption of an equivalent quantity of methylsulfinylalkyl glucosinolates via a much smaller serving of sprouts (5 g) would result in the consumption of only 11.2 μmol of indole glucosinolates.


I already use willow bark, oak bark, horsetail. I only rinse sprouting seeds the first time, shaking the closed jar with enough water to cover the seeds thereby knocking loose any coating or harmful dust or spores on their surface then filling the container and draining all that readily comes off. After that it is hermetic, “hermetic sprouting,” in re-purposed pint glass salsa jars. Frequent rinsing involves a trade-off with a delicate balance of more risks than advantages, often causing mold because by keeping the seeds constantly wet with frequent exposure to spores floating in the air especially during the warm seasons. My method involves an optimum minimum necessary but sufficient hydration of the sprouting seeds.


Then I was thinking about a quote from the Turkish TV series Yunus Emre: “If there were three brothers, Cain would have the other one do it.”

Trinity, threesome, trifecta, hat trick!

Glycerol is a triol, three valent alcohol. Shouldn’t it have anti-fungal and anti-mold activity? Bingo!

In a dual culture assay, the degree of inhibition of the molds was strongly enhanced by an increase in glycerol concentrations, while the yeast was less affected. In broth cultures, decreased pH in glycerol medium was probably responsible for the complete inhibition of the indicator fungi. NMR spectra of the glycerol conversion confirmed that propionic acid was the dominant metabolite. Based on the results obtained, the increased antifungal effect seen by glycerol addition to cultures of propionibacteria is due to the production of propionic acid and pH reduction of the medium.

Tangentially, a study supplementing cows’ diet with glycerol found bottom line benefits for production.

Supplementing cattle diets with crude glycerin and soybean oil can boost the nutritional quality of beef and block saturated fatty acid generation, research shows. The researchers found a link between the additions and a less bio-hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids, as well as better duodenal flow of fatty acids, resulting in “an immediate improvement on the fatty acid (FA) profile of meat and milk.”

The effects are thought to be related to changes in rumen microbial activity. Increased propionate vs. butyrate and lactate generation is associated with healthy cows vs. more favorable butyrate increase in humans. Endogenous butyrate is considered to be the preferred energy source for colonocytes in humans and dogs. What is best for poultry?




Puts A Double-Whammy On Cancer

(In the words of the article below)

What the goddess of Aspirin, Guanyin, and horse nuggets have in common.

The bottom line at the top, summarizing easily adopted, simple, prevention, therapy, and treatments, especially for dreaded colorectal cancers: NAD+, Niacin, Butyrate, Psyllium, Flax, seem to work together in parallel or complementary fashion. Butyrate is not something you can or would want to buy. Metabolism produces butyrate and analogues as “ketones” for energy when fasting or on a low carbohydrate diet. “Ketogenic diets.” Butyrate and diacetyl, a similar four carbon molecule, at low levels contribute to desirable flavors in cottage cheese, beer and other fermented foods. Butyrate is named for butter where it was first identified in the form of tributyrin, the triglyceride ester, a molecule of glycerol with three butyrates attached.

“The dose makes the poison.”-Paracelsus

Don’t freak out! Butyric acid is the smell of vomit (retrograde intestinal action in emesis/vomiting demonstrates its importance and relatively high presence in the gut) but because butyrate exists in the form of triglyceride in foods only a small amount is present as free fatty acid. And “ketones,” the healthy levels from fasting and ketogenic diets are an order of magnitude lower ~one tenth the amounts resulting from diabetic ketoacidosis.

It’s not the germ, it’s the host/terrain/milieu!-Bernard vs. Pasteur

In the book, The Stress of Life (Mc Graw-Hill, 1956), Dr. Hans Selye, the foremost authority on stress and its effect on the human system, writes: “Let me point out here parenthetically that Pasteur was sharply criticized by many of his enemies for failing to recognize the importance of the terrain (the soil in which disease develops). They said he was too one-sidely preoccupied with the apparent cause of disease: the microbe itself. There were, in fact, many debates about this between Pasteur and his great contemporary, Claude Bernard: the former insisted on the importance of the disease-producer, the latter on that of the body’s own equilibrium. Yet Pasteur’s work on immunity induced with serums and vaccines shows that he recognized the importance of the soil. In any event, it is rather significant that Pasteur attached so much importance to this point that on his deathbed he said to Professor A. Renon who looked after him: “Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.”)

Stress is like a lever, and current physiological and mental state, the terrain, establish the position of the fulcrum for better and worse, determining how much functional advantage or disadvantage stress has in the final result. Eustress is the level of stress that stimulates growth and health. Distress is excess stress with net harmful effects. The factor determining whether stress is good or bad may often be the mental state of the subject at the outset of the trial.

The first article below focuses on the immediate source of butyrate, that produced by bacteria in the gut from dietary fiber. The most studied amplifier of butyrate gut levels is psyllium husk which seems to increase production by itself and leveraging other fiber, as well as the microbe populations that generate butyrate. Not to exclude the possibility of other foods or fibers with similar or even greater effects. But the market for constipation relief has driven research, and the collateral heart health benefits discovered from psyllium husk products like Metamucil have partly determined the targets and results.

Psyllium husk is the seed coat of plantain/plantago species, the common garden weed. The pure seed coat has a bland slightly bitter taste. In gluten-free baked foods, breads and dough the bitterness contributes a desirable flavor replacing something lost when wheat is excluded.

Psyllium and ground flax can be added to porridge or pancakes or bread without compromising taste. In dishes using ginger or pumpkin pie/chai tea/gingerbread spices it’s a slam dunk. Organic whole flax seed has good storage life until ground. Buy one or several electric coffee grinders, typically ~$15 new, to use for grinding flax and many herbs and spices. Psyllium seed husk does not need pulverizing to be effective, flax does.
Researchers report in the April issue of Cancer Research that the GPR109A receptor is activated by butyrate, a metabolite produced by fiber-eating bacteria in the colon. The receptor puts a double-whammy on cancer by sending signals that trigger cell death, or apoptosis, and shutting down a protein that causes inflammation, a precursor to cancer.

More about flax:

Whole rye may have effects similar to flax, sharing at least one common constituent which produces enterolactone or enterodiols.

What is the role of grapefruit in ketogenic diets?

List of some foods and dietary supplements with alleged or extrapolated anti-cancer effects: NAD+, Niacin, Beta-Alanine, Flax, Rye, endogenous butyrate production increased by psyllium, butyrate in butter…

Whole real foods… what is not real or natural about psyllium, the seed husk of plantain? (Plantago species, not banana-like plantain) That Metamucil is the commercialized version with added sugar or artificial sweetener and/or orange flavor does not detract from the pure herbal food which has been used for centuries and likely millennia. A copy of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal date 1563 lists the seed as useful for several conditions. The seeds are and have been used for food and medicine going back to ancient times. The husk or seed coat of many seeds has food and medicine value but often discarded. Buckwheat hulls are added back into the flour for flavor and color but it’s now recognized that they increase the nutritional/health value.

As mentioned above, psyllium has been found in studies to increase butyrate production in the gut. It does not require much to have an effect. A heaping teaspoon of psyllium will quickly turn a glass of water into gel. Perhaps in part the dietary fiber effects are due to the increase in viscosity of digesta, entraining other foods that are usually otherwise digested higher up in the GI tract, turning digestible carbs into resistant carbs.

Dietary fiber is a broad classification that does not tell you much by itself. Soluble, insoluble, fermentable, non-fermentable? Specific varieties of polysacharides, beta glucans, have been studied and classified according to the locations of the glucose-glucose linkages and their health/immune support effects.

The dose makes the poison, wrote the “Father of Toxicology,” Paracelsus. The dose makes the medicine. The dose makes the difference. But only by interacting with the individual host, terrain, milieu. For example, glucose, the common blood sugar, is a reactive aldehyde. Even at moderate levels the reactions with proteins that cause glycosylation or Maillard browning on the crust of bread also cause proteins in the body to be denatured and inactivated. However, at moderate levels metabolism can detoxify and dispose of these. That is what hemoglobin A1c tests are about with diabetics. To say “moderate” is using the No True Scotsman logical fallacy. If there are bad effects then the levels are not moderate. Moderate or not moderate depends on the host.

Chemical reactions go in both directions. OH + H > H2O  Water is fairly stable and the potential energy of the H-OH bond drives the reaction strongly toward H2O. But not totally! That is what equilibrium constants, the mass action principle and pH tell you. So too with ketone and ketone bodies, hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. Acetoacetate becomes acetone spontaneously in the body but the ratio of acetone to the “ketone bodies” is low but not negligible. So too with the esterification/hydrolysis reaction glycerol + butyric acid = tributyrin.

>The heart preferentially utilizes fatty acids as fuel under normal physiologic conditions. However, under ketotic conditions, the heart can effectively utilize ketone bodies for this purpose.[9]

The brain gets a portion of its fuel requirements from ketone bodies when glucose is less available than normal (e.g., during fasting, strenuousexercise, low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet and in neonates). In the event of a low glucose concentration in the blood, most other tissues have alternative fuel sources besides ketone bodies and glucose (such as fatty acids), but the brain has an obligatory requirement for some glucose.[10]After the diet has been changed to lower blood glucose utilization for 3 days, the brain gets 25% of its energy from ketone bodies.[11] After about 4 days, this goes up to 70%[12] (during the initial stages the brain does not burn ketones, since they are an important substrate for lipid synthesis in the brain). Furthermore, ketones produced from omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cognitive deterioration in old age.[13] 

The process of ketosis is currently being investigated for efficacy in ameliorating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[15]  Brain DHA level seems to be an important regulator of brain glucose uptake, possibly by affecting the activity of some but not all the glucose transporters. DHA synthesis from either α-linolenic acid (ALA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is very low in humans begging the question of whether these DHA precursors are likely to be helpful in maintaining cognition during aging. We speculate that ALA and EPA may well have useful supporting roles in maintaining brain function during aging but not by their conversion to DHA. ALA is an efficient ketogenic fatty acid, while EPA promotes fatty acid oxidation. By helping to produce ketone bodies, the effects of ALA and EPA could well be useful in strategies intended to use ketones to bypass problems of impaired glucose access to the brain during aging. Hence, it may be time to consider whether the main omega-3 fatty acids have distinct but complementary roles in brain function.

Note konjac root used in Japan for shirataki noodles.