FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
This review provides a summary of the interactions between key long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (derived from diet) and the 'endocannabinoid' system, with particular reference to brain development and function, and protection from brain disorders.
Both the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood (EPA and DHA) and the long-chain omega-6 found in meat, eggs and dairy products (arachidonic acid - AA, or ARA) are substrates or 'raw materials' for the production of 'endogenous' cannabinoids - i.e. ones that are made within the body and brain.
Modern, western-type diets are relatively deficient in omega-3, while providing an excess of omega-6 fats. This serious imbalance would be expected to have effects on the balance of endocannabinoids, which like omega-3 and omega-6, also affect numerous aspects of brain development and function. Research has already shown that this imbalance in early life can permanently abolish normal endocannabinoid signalling and raise the risks for anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. See:
This excellent new review explains the basic relationships between omega-3, omega-6 and key endocannabinoids - highlighting the complexities of their interplay. It explains how the balance between these substances can affect the development of new brain cells (neurogenesis), the making of new connections between brain and nerve cells (synaptogenesis - the basis of all learning and memory) and the protection of brain cells from damage, with particular reference to their roles in promoting or controlling inflammation.