In mammals, brain function, particularly neuronal activity, has high energy needs. When glucose is supplemented by alternative oxidative substrates under different physiological conditions, these fuels do not fully replace the functions fulfilled by glucose. Thus, it is of major importance that the brain is almost continuously supplied with glucose from the circulation. Numerous studies describe the decrease in brain glucose metabolism during healthy or pathological ageing, but little is known about the mechanisms that cause such impairment. Although it appears difficult to determine the exact role of brain glucose hypometabolism during healthy ageing or during age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, uninterrupted glucose supply to the brain is still of major importance for proper brain function. Interestingly, a body of evidence suggests that dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might play significant roles in brain glucose regulation. Thus, the goal of the present review is to summarize this evidence and address the role of n-3 PUFAs in brain energy metabolism. Taken together, these data suggest that ensuring an adequate dietary supply of n-3 PUFAs could constitute an essential aspect of a promising strategy to promote optimal brain function during both healthy and pathological ageing.
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