Essential fatty acids and the brain: From infancy to aging

S. Yehuda, S. Rabinovitz, D. I. Mostofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The major effects of essential fatty acids (EFA) on brain structure and functions are reviewed. EFA determine the fluidity of neuronal membrane and control the physiological functions of the brain. EFA is also involved in synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters, and in the molecules of the immune system. Since they must be supplied from the diet, a decreased bioavailability is bound to induce major disturbances. While the brain needs a continuous supply during the life span, there are two particularly sensitive periods - infancy and aging. EFA deficiency during infancy delays brain development, and in aging will accelerate deterioration of brain functions. In discussing the role of EFA two issues must be considered - the blood-brain barrier, which determines the bioavailability, and the myelination process, which determines the efficiency of brain and retinal functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-102
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • BBB
  • Brain
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Infancy
  • Membrane fluidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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