Do You Know Nutrition: Is a bigger brain better?

By Phylis Canion
Aug. 28, 2012 at 3:28 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

Is there any truth that the size of your brain indicates your intellect? Is there a difference in size between men and women? Is there such a thing as brain food like coconut?

The size of your brain, in men and women, is purely a function of genetics, not an indication of your intellect according to Michael F. Roizen, M.D.

Approximately 80 percent of your brain is actually water and is made up of 100 billion, yes billion, neurons. A typical neuron possesses a cell body and chemical signaling via synapses. The average weight of the brain is three pounds, two percent of the total body weight, with 85 percent of that weight being the cerebrum.

Now, about the brain food. Almost everything we consume will directly or indirectly affect the brain. A recent study from UCLA indicates that a healthy lifestyle, including diet, can strengthen synapses in the brain and provide cognitive benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function. Docosahexaenoic acid, one of the omega-3's we get from eating fish, is the most abundant acid in cell membranes in the brain.

Coconut oil is considered one of the best fuels for healthy brain function. Next to mother's milk, coconut oil is nature's richest source of medium chain triglycerides (MCT's). MCT's are not processed by the body in the same manner as long chain triglycerides. While fat metabolism depends on bile salts, MCT's bypass bile metabolism and go directly to the liver, where they are converted into ketones.

The liver immediately releases the ketones into the bloodstream, where they are directly transported to the brain to be used as fuel. That is why ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or any neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and multiple sclerosis, according to Mary Newport, M.D. Coconut oil can be taken orally, added to food or applied to the skin.

Thought for the week: We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.

The next free nutrition class is Sept. 10 at Organic Emporium. Call today to reserve your seat at 361-576-2100.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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