Seeing the word “Lipids”, may make you think “fats.”
Yeah I know.
Lipids are actually a large group of molecules such as fats, phospholipids, glycerides and sterols and function mainly as a structural component in the cell membrane aiding in the normal functioning of the cell and in energy storage. (Lütjohannand Meichsner et al. 2012, 65–78).
Also you (might not) know that any change in lipid levels in the central nervous system in the brain can cause neuro-degeneration which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
When talking about Alzheimer’s we focus mainly on phospholipids which are found in the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane.
Amyloid-beta (Aβ or Abeta) are protein pieces found in the fatty membranes of nerve cells in the brain. They clump together to form plaques and it is a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease (Alz.org. n.d.) Aβ tends to bind to the phospholipids resulting in a change to the biophysical properties of the bilayer and this disrupts the membrane.
When Alzheimer’s patients are studied, they are found to have decreased levels of phospholipids in their brain tissue mainly in the frontal and parietal cortex. This reduction within the brain impacts the cell viability and the stability and permeability of the cell membrane leading to cell death or dysfunction.
For Alzeimer’s facts, check out this cool infographic from http://www.behance.net/gallery/Alzheimers-Infographic/2961663
Oh wait, there’s more…
Lipids & Obesity?
heh… Who would’ve thought -_-‘
A diet that is overly rich in saturated fatty acids is quite unhealthy for the individual consuming such substances.
This is due to the fact that the energy content of the food being consumed (due to the strong C-C single bonds existing between these fatty acids that make up the lipids contained in the food), is much greater than the energy that is actually required by the body. And so, because it would take a high amount of energy in order to break these bonds (that cannot be supplied by the body), the lipids are stored as excess fat deposits and overtime the individual becomes overweight (obese).
Dangers of Obesity
-Coronary heart disease- fatty deposits or plaque deposits coagulate in the arteries of the heart and cause blockage thereby limiting the amount of oxygen-rich blood supplied to the heart muscles which can lead to angina (chest pain) and eventually the individual suffers from a heart attack or stroke if the arteries supplying blood to the heart is completely blocked off.
– High Blood pressure- when there is a constant rise in pressure of the blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels which eventually damages the body.
-Type 2 diabetes- the blood glucose level becomes higher than the normal level (> 90mg/100cm3 of blood) and remains this way due to either the absence of insulin (which would usually act on regulating this glucose level back to normal) or due to the failure to respond properly to insulin itself. Diabetes type 2 has several issues and body malfunctioning conditions that are associated with the disease.
-Abnormal blood fats
-Obesity hypoventilation Syndrome
Alz.org. “What Is Alzheimer’s?.” n.d.. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp (accessed 23 March 2014).
Lütjohann, Dieter, Sabrina Meichsner and Hanna Pettersson. “Lipids in Alzheimer’s disease and their potential for therapy.” Clinical Lipidology 7, no. 1 (2012): 65–78.
Nhlbi.nih.gov. “What Are the Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity? – NHLBI, NIH.” n.d.. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks.html (accessed 20 March 2014).
Contributors: Thalia, Chris, Roi (editor)