Animals fed a mix of DHA (an omega-3 fat from oily fish), choline (found in meats, nuts and eggs, and also made in the body) and uridine (usually contained in breast milk or made in the body but not found in food) performed better in maze tests than controls (animals not fed the mix), according to results published in the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) journal. The MIT researchers assert that the benefits of the combination are due to the restoration of synapses - the gaps where information is passed between brain cells (neurons). These play a critical role in learning and memory. All three components of the mix are precursors to the fatty molecules (phospoholipids) that make up cell membranes, including the membranes of brain cells, which form the synapses. Indeed, the animals (gerbils) given the mix also had higher levels of phospoholipids in their brains than the controls. The potential of this nutrient mix for prevention of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases is now being explored.
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Dietary uridine enhances the improvement in learning and memory produced by administering DHA to gerbils, S Holguin et al., FASEB J, 2008 Jul 7 [Epub ahead of print]