Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids which are considered to be very beneficial for health. While a host of studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to enhance brain health, recent findings have suggested that these fatty acids play a vital role in management of anxiety and depression.
Omega 3 fatty acid is loaded with essential fatty acids namely linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. These fatty acids are essential for the body since they are required for the body to perform efficiently and these fatty acids are not formed within the body and can be obtained only from our diet.
Various clinical studies have been conducted in this domain, to ascertain the role of omega 3 in management of depression, anxiety and a host of other mental problems.
As per the Psycho-pharmacology Laboratory at the Harvard Medical School, the deficiency of Omega 3 in diet tends to affect the ability of the brain to perform normal functions.
Various reports have suggested that docosahexaenoic acid, an essential fatty acid found in Omega 3, have a important role to play in the development of the brain and its deficiency (during pregnancy) can result in poor brain development in children.
Similarly other studies have shown that eicosapentaenoic acid has positive effect on brain health and plays a vital role in enhancing memory, concentration, mood and learning functions.
Can Omega 3 Cause Depression?
While deficiency of Omega 3 is considered to play a pivotal role in management of depression, the actual cause of depression or mental ailments is associated with the imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids.
Imbalance between the two types of essential fatty acids is the primary cause of depression, anxiety and host of other mental health ailments. Research studies have shown that Omega 6 is pro-inflammatory while Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and a balance needs to be struck between the two to ensure healthy brain function.
It should be remembered that even if Omega 3 levels in the blood are adequate, it is the imbalance between omega 3 and omega 6 which is the primary cause for depression.
Omega 3 Fish Oil Benefits Depression And Anxiety
Omega 3 is considered to be beneficial in the management of depression. Scientist suggest that by adding fish to our diet or by taking fish supplements, we can be adequately supplied with omega 3 fatty acids, which not only prevent depression but can manage a host of other symptoms including sadness, grief, irritability, anxiety and other mood related disorders.
In a research published in Archives of General Psychiatry in 1999, it was observed that large doses of fish oil helped in alleviation of symptoms of severe forms of bipolar disorders, which could not be treated with conventional medicine.
Further, it was observed that these supplements also prevented the occurrence of relapse of mania in this study sample. This is one of the reasons why specialists often recommend fish oil supplements to manage a wide range of mental conditions including anxiety and depression.