Abstract

Thus, protein is hardly the engine that drove the dramatic encephalization of the human brain over the course of the Plio-Pleistocene. A number of nutritionists, ­recognizing this fact, have focused instead on an omega-3 fatty acid (often written 22:6n-3 or 22:6ω-3) known as DHA (an abbreviation for docosahexaenoic acid), a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) that forms a critical component of the central nervous system (Al et al. 2000; Arterburn et al. 2006; Bakewell et al. 2006; Bourre 2006; Brenna 2002; Brenna et al. 2007; Broadhurst et al. 2002; Burdge 2006; Burdge and Calder 2005; Burdge and Wootton 2002; Burdge et al. 2006; Carlson and Kingston 2007a, b; Carnielli et al. 2007; Childs et al. 2008; Clandinin 1999; Cordain et al. 2001; Crawford et al. 1993, 1999, 2001; Cunnane and Crawford 2003; Cunnane et al. 2007; Goyens et al. 2006; Green and Yavin 1993, 1996, 1998; Haggarty 2002, 2004; Herrera et al. 2006; Hibbeln et al. 2006; Innis 2000a, b, 2005, 2007a, b; Jensen et al. 2000; Langdon 2006; Lefkowitz et al. 2005; Muskiet et al. 2004, 2006; Peng et al. 2007; Rioux et al. 2008; Robson 2004; Rosell et al. 2005; Sauenvald et al. 2000; Simopoulos 2001; Singh 2005; Su et al. 2000; Williams and Burdge 2006). The essence of the “DHA model” is that humans are very inefficient at biosynthesizing DHA de novo from its precursor, a-linolenic acid, in quantities sufficient to supply the needs of the developing fetus and ­newborn infant. Instead, the mother must obtain preformed DHA through the foods in her diet.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum of AnthropologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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