Omega-3 fatty acids may help treat mental disorders


Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well-known. However, a recent study by a Japanese university on polyunsaturated fats present in omega-3 fatty acids being a potential treatment for mental illnesses has given a new hope to the United States, where approximately 9 percent people suffer from feelings of hopelessness and despondency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opines that major depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15 and 44. The strong link between dietary lack of omega-3 fatty acids and major depressive orders may provide the backdrop to further studies on effect of nutrition on various symptoms of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids – commonly found in nuts, seeds and fish oil supplements – are not only vital for the proper functioning of body, but have also been found to deliver benefits concerning brain formation in an unborn child.

A study published in EurekAlert on January 14, 2016 revealed that researchers at Tohoku University’s School of Medicine have found an explanation for the correlation between eating fish during pregnancy and the health of the baby’s brain. The research group, led by Professor Noriko Osumi, conducted an experiment on pregnant mice. They noticed that when female mice were fed an omega-6-rich/omega-3-poor diet, their offspring were born with smaller brains and showed abnormal emotional behavior in adulthood. The offspring also showed higher anxiety levels, even though they were raised on nutritionally optimized diets from an early lactation period.

Another study by a team of international researchers, which was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, suggested that a booster intake of Omega-3 fatty acids for a brief period might give protection from the onset of certain kinds of depression apart from imparting cognitive and psychiatric benefits. Treatment recommendations provided by the American Psychiatric Association regarding use of omega-3 fatty acids for fighting depression and improving cognition bear testament to its effectiveness.

In the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stresses on the benefits of a diet rich in seafood — cold water fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are major sources of omega-3 fats — as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes, all to lower your risk of age-related mental conditions (like Alzheimer’s) as well as psychological issues, like depression.

Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) told Life Extension magazine in 2007, “The strongest evidence was found for managing major depressive symptoms, with the effect of omega-3s being at least as great, if not greater than, antidepressant medications. Deficient intakes of these powerful fatty acids may increase risk for mental distress.”

The same year, Brian M. Ross, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Chemistry and Public Health at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine of Lakehead University, told Life Extension, “Combining the results of a series of clinical trials clearly shows that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, in particular the long- chain varieties EPA and DHA, helps reduce the symptoms associated with clinical depression. Other provocative data suggest that boosting omega-3 fatty acid intake increases attention and reduces aggression, probably by enhancing cognitive processes.”

Douglas London, M.D., Research Associate in Psychiatry at the Psychopharmacological Research Laboratory of McLean Hospital and medical faculty at Harvard Medical School said, “Lack of available omega-3s affects brain function and is associated with cognitive and emotional disorders. There is growing evidence that a significant proportion of the US population is at risk for omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.”

Various experiments and researches stress on the proportion between the intake of omega-3 and the volume of gray matter in the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain that controls emotions and moods in individuals.

If you or your loved one is looking for natural ways to get rid of depressive moods or related disorders, you may call the 247 Mental Health Helpline at 855-653-8178 or chat online with our experts for further information. Help is sure to come your way.

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