Mood Disorders And Omega 3 Fatty Acids


Omega 3 is a kind of fatty acid that is normally found in fish oil and some specific kinds of marine algae. Normally, it has been seen that in countries where people eat lots of fish depression is almost a rare phenomenon. This is the reason why scientists have been investigating if fish oils are capable of preventing and treating depression as well as other mood-related disorders or not. It has been seen that a couple of Omega 3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – are known to have the maximum level of potential as far as helping people with mood-related disorders is concerned.

How Is Omega 3 Able To Improve Depression?

There are various mechanisms of action that have been proposed in this regard. As an example, it can be said that Omega 3s are capable of traveling through the brain cell membranes with considerate ease. They find it really easy to interact with the various molecules within the brain that may be related to mood. They also are capable of performing anti-inflammatory actions that are capable of helping you alleviate depression. To date, at least 30 clinical trials have been performed where various Omega 3 preparations have been tested in people who tend to suffer from depression.

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In most of these studies, Omega 3 was used as an excess therapy for people who were already using antidepressants that had been prescribed to them. In these cases, the subjects were either not being benefited by the medicines or the benefit was less than what was expected. The number of studies that have looked only at Omega 3 is lesser. Normally, in these clinical trials, the researchers either used only EPA or combined it with DHA. An analysis of all these studies would suggest that Omega 3 happens to be effective in such cases.

However, the findings were not really unanimous as such because the doses tended to vary as did the ratios of DHA and EPA. At times, there were issues with the design of the studies as well. The preparations that tended to be most effective in this case were ones where EPA made up 60 percent of the DHA. Normally, the latter may not be regarded as such an effective antidepressant. It still is capable of providing a shield against fatal activities such as suicide. In a study done recently, it has been seen that EPA can be an effective form of treatment for depressed people who have a high degree of inflammatory activities as well as excess weight.

It has also been seen in these tests that adolescents and children who suffer from depression tend to be benefited by consuming Omega 3 supplements. At present studies are also being done in order to determine if a combination of vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation is capable of stopping depression from happening in older adults who happen to be healthy. The study is also looking at whether Omega 3 supplements themselves can have such an effect or not.

How Helpful Is Omega 3 In Other mental issues?

There have been a number of studies that have looked at how helpful Omega 3 can be in treating in other types of mental issues. These studies have looked at issues such as postpartum depression and the good thing is that the results have been quite encouraging. As far as bipolar disorder or manic depression is concerned Omega 3 can prove to be highly effective in the depressed phase of the ailment rather than during its manic phase.

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In fact, it is said that Omega 3 can prevent and lessen the effect of a number of psychiatric issues such as-

  • schizophrenia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • borderline personality disorder
  • attention deficit disorder

However, there is no compelling evidence for doctors to suggest consuming Omega 3 in these cases.

What Dosage Is Beneficial In These Cases?

If you are suffering from depression then it would be a good idea to consume anywhere between 1 gram a day to 10 gram. However, most of the studies we talked about over here used between 1 gram and 2 grams a day. This is something that some doctors follow as well.

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