As far as diet is concerned, there are good fats and bad fats. The fats we put into our bodies are of particular importance because of their effect upon brain functioning. Again, some fats have a very positive effect upon the brain, whilst others have a damaging effect.
Fats of great benefit to the brain include OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID – such fats are vital to good mental functioning (in fact, the composition of the brain is 60% fat).
An intake of the correct fats enables the brain to manufacture its cells effectively – the specific type of fats required are called LIPID FATTY ACIDS. A lack of these has a detrimental effect on brain function. The type of fat required by the brain cannot be manufactured by the body so needs to be taken in by the diet. Food sources for the fat include:
– vegetable oils
– sesame oils
– green leafy vegetables
Lack of OMEGA-3 leads to neurons (cells in the brain) not working properly; at worst, it can even mean some neurons will die.
This type of fat can be damaging to the brain. It can lead to brain cell membranes becoming rigid – this undesirable occurrence, in effect, means that communication between the brain cells becomes inefficient; the brain, therefore, develops problems transmitting information between these cells.
RESEARCH SHOWING BENEFITS TO BRAIN FUNCTION OF GOOD INTAKE OF OMEGA-3:
Research has shown that as intake of OMEGA-3 goes up (within limits, obviously), so too does the quantity of the neurotransmitter known as SEROTONIN available in the brain. This is of great benefit as SEROTONIN helps to keep our mood CALM, STABLE, and POSITIVE. Research has also shown that OMEGA-3 improves the effective functioning of another neurotransmitter in the brain known as DOPAMINE – this helps us to REGULATE OUR MOOD AND EMOTIONS.
EVIDENCE THAT OMEGA 3 AND CAN REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF BPD:
Research (Karaszewska) published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that marine omega-3 fatty acids may help with some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, particularly dysfunctional behaviour and dysregulation of emotions. The research took on the form of a meta-analysis (a meta-analysis is a statistical analysis of several that address the same hypothesis). It was found that taking omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduces the overall symptoms of borderline personality disorder and seemed to be especially effective in reducing symptoms of impulsivity and dysregulation of emotions.
Research conducted by Bellino found that the addition of omega 3, (EPA), 1200 mg/day and omega 3 (DHA) 800 mg per day reduced levels of self-harm, anger and impulsivity in a group of BPD sufferers.
Other evidence for the usefulness of omega 3 to sufferers of BPD includes research carried out by Zanarini and Frankenberg which showed that an 8-week course of omega 3 (EPA), 1000 mg per day helped to reduce symptoms of depression and aggression in a group of females who had been given a diagnosis of BPD.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).