Impact of fatty acids on brain circulation, structure and function

Roy A. M. Haast, Amanda J. Kiliaan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The use of dietary intervention has evolved into a promising approach to prevent the onset and progression of brain diseases. The positive relationship between intake of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (?3-LCPUFAs) and decreased onset of disease- and aging-related deterioration of brain health is increasingly endorsed across epidemiological and diet-interventional studies. Promising results are found regarding to the protection of proper brain circulation, structure and functionality in healthy and diseased humans and animal models. These include enhanced cerebral blood flow (CBF), white and gray matter integrity, and improved cognitive functioning, and are possibly mediated through increased neurovascular coupling, neuroprotection and neuronal plasticity, respectively. Contrary, studies investigating diets high in saturated fats provide opposite results, which may eventually lead to irreversible damage. Studies like these are of great importance given the high incidence of obesity caused by the increased and decreased consumption of respectively saturated fats and ?3-LCPUFAs in the Western civilization. This paper will review in vivo research conducted on the effects of ?3-LCPUFAs and saturated fatty acids on integrity (circulation, structure and function) of the young, aging and diseased brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Mediterranean diet
  • High-fat diet
  • Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Cerebral circulation
  • Cerebral structure and cerebral function

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