• There is a paucity of DHA in the land food chain and these sources also contain competing fats such as linoleic acid of the ω-6 family. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the fact that the brain first evolved in the sea 500 million years ago using DHA for its signaling structures and our brains today still depend on the same chemistry. In the marine food chain, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) coexists with the iodine and other trace elements vital for the development and function of the brain, whereas there is a paucity of iodine in the land food web. Because of diet, some 2 billion people are currently at risk of iodine deficiency and the consequent risk of mental retardation in the young. On the other hand, arachidonic acid (AA) being a second major component of the brain is largely of land origin but it is also available preformed in warm water sea and freshwater foods. However, of the two fatty acids, DHA is the most difficult to synthesize and hence limiting.
  • The first point of contact between the environment and the cell is the plasma membrane, we have here the explanation for the response of the cell and the genome to the environment.
  • When the data on the human genome was published, Craig Venter, the leader of the U.S. Human Genome project declared that there was not enough diversity to explain biological behavior.
  • With the evidence today that the lipids do indeed influence gene expression, it may well be that they had a greater influence on these evolutionary events than they have been given credit for. Remarkably, DNA can be extracted from long dead animals. However, that is not true of the highly unsaturated lipids that die rapidly with the death of the host. Thus, controversial as it may sound, lipids may be more of a life force than DNA.
  • For the first 2.5 billion years of life, photosynthesis converted sunlight into proteins and carbohydrates. At the beginning of animal evolution, DHA provided the basic membrane backbone of new photoreceptors that converted photons into electricity. The electrical and ionic consequences would have laid the foundation for the evolution of the nervous system and the brain.
  • It is as though DHA is the master of DNA.

Nutritional Armor in Evolution: Docosahexaenoic Acid as a Determinant of Neural, Evolution and Hominid Brain Development