Hey! Fathead!!

“Hey! Fathead!!”

If you ever get spoken to in this fashion you can smile and thank them! (That will likely give you a strange look) 🙂

This is because approximately 60 percent of your brain matter consists of fat. Calling you a fat head likely means you have a bigger brain than the person calling you names.

The good fats that are in your brain matter also creates all the cell membranes in your body! If your diet is loaded with bad fats, your brain can only make low-quality nerve cell membranes that don’t function well; if your diet provides the essential, good fats, your brain cells can manufacture higher-quality nerve cell membranes and influence positively your nerve cells’ ability to function at their peak capacity. (Magnesium also plays a critical role in nerve cell development and optimal functioning.)

Thus, it’s important to choose foods that offer the Essential Fatty Acids your body and brain need. Dietary decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with optimal functional maturation of the retina and visual cortex, with visual acuity and mental development seemingly improved by extra DHA retinal cells – in other words, DHA, an Essential Fatty Acid, can help make you more intelligent. Unfortunately, even good fats are a very concentrated source of energy, providing more than double the amount of calories in one gram of carbohydrate or protein, which is why it’s important to choose the healthy fats and to eat them in moderation.

While doing the research for this article i discovered an interesting example of the confusion some people can have with certain statistics and why it is important to understand exactly what a fact is saying so as to accurately understand it.

Consider the three true statements:

  1. The brain is 75% water.
  2. The brain is at least 60% fat.
  3. The brain has grey matter which is roughly 50% of it’s content, containing around 86 billion neurons, with the remaining 50% being white matter, consisting largely of axons.

So, the brain is made up of 75% water, 60% fat, 50% neurons and 50% axons!! making up all 235% of our brains!

The clue to solving this muddle is in recognising that each ‘percentage’ is referring to different aspects of our brain. While the brain is made up of 86 billion neuron cells, most of which are located in the 50% of our brain’s cellular structure called ‘grey’ matter, a neuron has a part of it’s cell known as the axon and these extend from each cell nucleus down into our brain’s white matter (human brain neurons can be quite long – up to a metre or more in some cases, but the majority are in the range of millimetres to centimetres in length). So that is 100% of the brain’s neuron cells, which are comprised largely of essential fatty acids (which contain fat – i.e. oxydised hydrocarbons – hence the name!) Fat cells are also present in our brains to provide a supporting structure and to help ‘cushion’ the neurons from damage from sudden, violent movements which can damage cells that are encased in a solid, inflexible, hard skull. That cover’s the 60% fat in the content of our brain’s cells.

But our brain is surrounded within our skull by cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), which is 99% water. Also the individual cells of which our brain is comprised, are also surrounded by fluid which is around 70% water. In addition, each cell contains cellular fluid. Cells are composed of water, inorganic ions, and carbon-containing (organic) molecules. Water is the most abundant molecule in cells, accounting for 70% or more of total cell mass. And that covers the ‘other’ 75%! 😉

Refs: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329590