Brain phosphatide synthesis requires three circulating compounds: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), uridine, and choline.

Oral administration of these phosphatide precursors to experimental animals increases the levels of phosphatides and synaptic proteins in the brain and per brain cell as well as the numbers of dendritic spines on hippocampal neurons.

Arachidonic acid fails to reproduce these effects of DHA. If similar increases occur in human brain, administration of these compounds to patients with diseases that cause loss of brain synapses, such as Alzheimer's disease, could be beneficial.