Issue: # 10

November 2010


Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo with HealthCare Insights, LLC



Hello Friends

This is the updated issue of our November Brain Health Newsletter. We’ve added an important commentary on the recent DHA research report, including two current more sophisticated studies (see Omega 3 article) and updated our events list.

As leaves and temperatures fall, many people start to worry about how they are going to keep warm and out of the upcoming snow and start dashing for the comfort foods, forgetting their diet from the summer.  When enjoying these warm, hearty foods don’t forget that they need to be brain healthy too.

As you’re raking the leaves (or maybe jumping into them?) and planning your fall meals, it is time for you to start looking into the benefits of Omega 3’s!  Omega 3’s may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, and help prevent and treat heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, bipolar disorder, and many other health challenges.

And did you know that free range animals and poultry can be a source of the “marine” DHA and EPA Omega 3’s,  just like fish and seafood?

Is your interest spiked for Omega 3’s?  Check out the article below for more information.


The Wonder’s of Omega 3’s
© 2010 Nancy B. Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D


Oh, My…Omegas! 

Omega-3 fatty acids make up a major part of brain and body cells but can only be ingested, not made by our bodies.  Omega-3s are important for building brain cell membranes, dendrites and synapses.  These healthy fats are also anti-inflammatory, and thus helpful for preventing or managing a variety of diseases. Choose fish (3 or more x a week!), seafood, fish oils, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flax seeds, and purslane.


What are Omega-3’s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are “essential fatty acids” -they are necessary for life but since the body cannot make them we must eat them as part of our diet.   Omega-3’s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).  They are named for fact that the first double bond in their fatty acid chain is three carbons atoms away from the methyl end of the molecule. This location of the double bond causes the molecule to “bend” and in turn this shape assures flexibility of our cell membranes of which Omega-3’s are a key component.


What are the Types of Omega-3’s?

There are two major types of Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant form,
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is the marine or “sea” form.  EPA and DHA are found in fish, algae and all seafoods and in grass fed and free range animals and poultry.

It is the marine form, DHA and EPA,  that make up much of our own brains and bodies’  cell membranes and other components, not ALA, the plant form.

The ALA form of omega-3s are formed in the green leaves, specifically the chloroplasts, of plants; hence both grass and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of ALA.

Some of the ALA from our diets can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, but this process becomes drastically less efficient with aging.  Most ALA in humans is “burned” as energy.  Therefore, it is recommended that people aged 65 and older rely mainly on the marine sources of Omega-3’s, but this is true for older and younger people alike. (see next month for food sources).


Why Are Omega-3’s Essential?

DHA + EPA Omega 3’s are essential for healthy functioning of BOTH brain and body, including our thinking, emotions, nerve function, vision, immune system, cardio-vascular system, hormones, joint health, and much, much more.


Omega 3’s and Body Health:

A Harvard SPH website reports:   “DHA and EPA Omega 3’s are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. DHA and EPA are the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  Research suggests Omega-3 fats help prevent heart disease and stroke; may help control some auto-immune diseases such as lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”  Source:

Cardiovascular Health and Omega 3’s

Medical research shows eating fish and fish oils and other Omega 3’s reduce blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease as well as the inflammations known to increase risk of heart attacks.

Eating omega-3 fatty acids in place of saturated fats can help decrease overall triglyceride levels.

Omega-3’s help thin the blood and prevent blood platelets from clotting and sticking to artery walls, which in turn may help decrease the risk for blocked blood vessels and heart attacks.

Omega 3’s help maintain the elasticity of artery walls, and thus prevent the arteries from hardening (atherosclerosis), and ameliorate or even reverse this condition.

All of these factors lead to reduced risk of heart disease.

For all these reasons, the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week.

The retina of the eye is almost pure DHA; thus vision also benefits from sufficient Omega 3’s in the diet.

Other Chronic Diseases:  Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and throughout the brain and body may decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis, and also help regulate blood sugar.  Many physicians recommend consuming more Omega 3’s (and fewer Omega 6’s) for those who have, or wish to prevent, metabolic syndrome (Carpentier 2006).


Omega 3’s and Brain Health:

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for normal brain functioning, growth, and development, not just as indirect effects from improved cardio-vascular and anti-inflammatory function, but also due to their key role in building brain cell membranes, dendrites and synapses. The myelin sheath for nerves is also largely comprised of DHA.

Omega 3’s appear to be particularly critical to cognitive brain functions such as memory, attention, and executive function as well overall behavioral functioning. Omega-3’s (DHA) in fish or fish oil (Hashimoto 2002 2004) and in marine algae (Calon, Cole 2004) protect dramatically against cognitive decline and synaptic deterioration due to Alzheimer’s pathology in AD transgenic mice DHA mediates A-beta production, degradation, tau phosphorylation, glucose uptake, and neurological signal transduction (Lane 2005). Modest DHA/EPA intake significantly slows cognitive decline in elderly men (van Gelder 2007).

DHA is found in reduced amounts in people with Alzheimer’s disease.  One study found that Omega-3 fish oil (2.8 g of BOTH DHA and EPA) alone can slow cognitive decline in persons with very early stage Alzheimer’s disease (Freund-Levi + Cederholm, 2008).  A larger NIH study released in November 2010 (J. Quinn in JAMA) using just DHA (derived from algae) did not slow cognitive decline in people with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease.  However the study may be flawed in that it did not include EPA Omega-3 along with the DHA.  EPA may have an essential companion role related to cognitive function as yet to be elucidated; EPA is thought by other medical researchers and physicians to be essential for treatment of depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder, in both children and adults.  Thus marine Omega-3’s are also recommended by the American Psychiatric Association for mood disorders (Freeman 2006). Check out Eric Reardon’s Article on Omega 3’s.


It is also possible that even more potent results for cognitive health will be found to depend on combining DHA with not only EPA, its companion marine Omega-3,  but also other nutrients such as key anti-oxidants such as the 8-parts of vitamin E, vitamin D, all or most B vitamins, other phytonutrients and/or other constituents of brain neurons.  Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT believes it is the combination of DHA with choline and uridine that may be therapeutic and his patented product, combined with EPA and several vitamins is currently being tested as a medical food drink, in persons with AD in the US and Europe, by Nutricia, a subdivision of Danone (the yogurt) company of the Netherlands.  And BUSM is currently in a Phase 1 trial (led by Sanford Auerbach MD) of another combination of nutrients that puts two plant/spice extract blends together with fish oil (both DHA and EPA) and vitamin D.


 Why are So Many Americans deficient in Omega 3’s Today?

Food and animal scientists believe the major reason Americans are deficient in Omega 3’s today is that our diets and food sources have drastically changed in the last 100-200 years. All our major sources of commercial foods – vegetables, meat, poultry and even fish –  have fewer Omega 3’s and more Omega 6’s than humans consumed for millions of years.  Omega 6’s are another essential fatty acid, necessary for life, but which in excess promote inflammation and other problems.

For example, grass-fed beef used to be a source of Omega 3’s (and vitamin E and several other phytonutrients). Today’s grain fed beef no longer contain Omega 3’s (nor much of the other vegetation derived nutrients) and instead add to the excess consumption of Omega 6’s, especially the most damaging kinds for the brain (such as Arachidonic acid -see Sanchez – Mejia, 2008). The change is so dramatic that 100 years ago we would have called DHA and EPA the animal/marine form!  To compound problems, Americans also eat fewer green leafy vegetables, fish and other high level sources of Omega 3’s and more of foods rich in Omega 6’s, such as corn and corn products (and animals fed mostly corn).


Our ancestors evolved on a diet with a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 of about 1:1 or 4:1. But today Americans’ diet contains a ratio of 20 to 30 to 1.   This is a profound imbalance unprecedented in human history.  Many scientists now believe this imbalance, which creates high level of inflammation throughout the body, together with many other detriments, is a major contribution to higher incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mood and brain disorders, and other health issues.


The goal of the Memory Preservation Nutrition® is to improve the ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s in the diet through multiple strategies including eating more foods rich in ALA, DHA and EPA, as well as fewer foods rich in Omega 6’s.

Read next month’s issue for “Oh, My Omega 3’s” Part II – featuring FOOD SOURCES AND SUPPLEMENTS  containing Omega 3’s.

Go to website for Omega 3 rich recipes and the references for this article


Read next month’s issue for food sources and supplements containing Omega 3’s. Go to our website for Omega 3 rich recipes and the references for this article.


Website experiencing technical difficulties which makes it slow to upload information and you have to personally refresh the website or shopping cart in order to see in the cart what you have chosen to purchase.  The site is secure and your purchase will be recorded correctly by paypal; but if all this is just too cumbersome, just email Dr. Emerson Lombardo directly and tell her what you are interested in purchasing or asking questions about and she’ll get back to you by email or otherwise.

Save 20% on any nutritional supplements ordered on-line in November and December 2010
Go to our website:

Offer Expires: December 31st, 2010


Omega 3 Rich Recipes!
Interest peaked in Omega 3’s?

Here are 3 Recipes that feature foods that contain Omega 3’s.  Each recipe is delicious and hopefully something you have not tried before and will excite your taste buds.


There is a link underneath each recipe name that will take you directly to the website which host’s these recipes as well as others!

MPN Seafood Cooked with Salsa

MPN Nancy’s Nut Pate

MPN Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon Burger with Yogurt Sauce


Public invited to presentations by Dr. Emerson Lombardo on Nov 18th, and Dec 2nd, 8th, and 16th 2010 and Feb 15th, 17th and 22nd 2011.
See Dr. Emerson Lombardo in Person!

November 18th, 2010: Current Issues in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
This MASS-ALFA event will be held in Hopkinton, MA at the Hopkinton Country Club, 204 Saddle Hill Rd, Hopkinton, MA 01478. This event runs from 9:00am-3:30pm with 4 speakers, Nancy will be speaking after lunch. Contact MASS-ALFA at to register for this event.

December 2nd, 2010: Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be head in Dorchester, MA at The Standish Village, 1190 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02124. Open to the public, CEU”s will be offered free to nurses and social workers. This event runs from 4:00-5:30pm. Brain healthy refreshments will be held.  Check out the events page at

December 8th, 2010: Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Methuen, MA at Methuen Village, 4 Gleason St, Methuen, MA 01844. This event runs from 5:30-7:00pm with lite refreshments being served.  Check out the events page at

December 16th, 2010: “Brain Healthy Eating” featured at Lunch and Learn, Concord Council on Aging.
This free event is open to the public and will be held at Harvey Wheeler Community Center, 1276 Main St, Concord MA 01742. RSVP to Concord COA (978) 318-3020.  This event starts at 12 noon. Check out the event page at

Feb 15th, 2011: Food for Thought
This free event will be held in Danvers, MA at Putnam Farms in Danvers, 9 Summer Street, Danvers MA, 01923. This event runs from 5:00-7:00pm.  Brain healthy refreshments will be available at 5:00pm with presentation starting at 5:30pm. Check out the events page at

Feb 17th, 2011: Brain Healthy Nutrition
This free event is part of the regular meeting of the Healthcare Disparities Coalition which will be held in Roxbury, MA at the Twelfth Baptist Church, 150 Warren St, Roxbury MA 02119. This event starts at 11:00am. Visitors welcome. Please RSVP with Richard Roy 617-296-0849 at  Check out the events page at

Feb 22nd, 2011: Highlights of Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Burlington, MA Atria Longmeadow Place, 42 Mall St, Burlington, MA 01803.  This event starts at 3:00pm sharp where Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will be a featured speaker. Please RSVP to Hilary Viola at Check out the events page at


Nancy is available to answer all questions via e-mail.

Look for my monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact me for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at



Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

© 2010 HCI

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