FISH OIL AND DEPRESSION

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CAN FISH OIL HELP DEPRESSION?

When your blood pumps through your body properly you feel young, alive and healthy.  You sleep peacefully, your cells rejuvenate, and you wake up fresh and energetic – ready to take on any task.  But when it’s in a slug state, like an engine that hasn’t had an oil change in years, your blood traps toxins that build up and reduce the amount of life giving oxygen and nutrients it carries to your body cells.  It weighs you down, keeping you from the activities and people you love.  Eventually your cells begin to wilt and gasp for oxygen as they struggle for survival.  Every part of your body take strain.  Your joints ache, your brain not functioning at optimum level, legs feel heavy, you loose interest in activities, and your heart works overtime.

Doctors say blood flow within a normal brain is uniform.  But in a depressed patient there is little or no blood flow to observe.  Fish oils can improve blood flow.  Certain fish oils contain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA, which not only reduce the risk of heart attack, cancer, or ease the pain of arthritis, but also lubricate the mind.  Omega-3 have an antidepressant effect.  Polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil lowers the risk of depression.  It can reduce inflammation.

WHAT IS OMEGA-3?

Omega-3 is an essential unsaturated fatty acid.  Omega-3s are essential to human health because they cannot be produced in the body and must be consumed in the diet.  If your body lack essential nutrients it is under stress.  A healthy body equals healthy mind, and stressed body equals a stressed mind.  Fats make up 60% of your brain, and without the right fats your brain cannot function at its optimum level.  Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provide enhanced support for your cardiovascular system and your brain.  Cell membranes are partly made up of Omega-3.  Omega-3 affect the cell membrane and changes functioning.  Increasing Omega-3 makes it easier for serotonin ( a chemical that carries messages from one brain cell to another) to pass through cell membranes.  

 SOURCES OF OMEGA-3 

 

The richest sources of Omega-3 include sardines, salmon, white fish, lake trout, mackerel, albacore tuna, anchovies, Chia seeds, hemp seeds, oysters, soybeans, walnuts, flex seeds, cod liver oil, olive oil, and winter squash.  Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soya bean, and sunflower oils are low in Omega-3s.  Most people also use Omega-3 supplements, such as Omega-3 fish oil supplements made from various species of cold water fish, Omega-3 krill oil supplements made from krill oil obtained from tiny marine animals, called krill, that are one of the best sources of Omega-3,  and Omega-3 flex oil supplements, that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  Flex oil is obtained from flaxseeds. 

WHAT IS THE SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF OMEGA-3?

I to 3 grams per day is sufficient.  It is important not to confuse the dosage of fish liver oil (like cod liver oil) with Omega-3 dosage to avoid overdose on Vitamin A or D.  The 1 to 3 grams dosage per day recommended for fish oil is too high if you were to use a fish liver oil, such as cod liver oil.  Omega-3s worsen certain health conditions.  You must therefore consult your health care provider if you suffer from any chronic disease, as Omega-3 have side effects related to some of these diseases.  Doctors use blood test to measure the needed amount of Omega-3s.

A decline in Omega-3 intake can give rise to mental problems. When your brain lacks healthy fats it uses trans-fats (mostly found in takeaways).  These are bad fats, your brain works harder to process these fats, and they are not compatible with your body’s requirements, meaning that your brain’s ability to function and communicate effectively is compromised. Eating food containing trans fats and saturated fats could contribute to depression.

 According to the diet/health hypothesis coronary heart disease (CHD) is, like obesity and diabetes, an inflammatory disorder caused by abnormal carbohydrate metabolism in those eating a diet low in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and high in trans fatty acids and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.  Most people with heart disease also have depression.  Bad fat increases inflammation, and substances secreted by inflammation may interfere with neurotransmitters that affect mood.   

SIDE EFFECTS OF OMEGA-3

While these fats are essential an over consumption may have adverse effects that pose health risks in some individuals.  The side effects of Omega-3 depends on whether you’re suffering from diabetes, heart disease, blood disorder or have concerns over your cholesterol levels.  They also depend on certain medication you are taking, the source of your fish oil or your chosen product, as well as the dosage.  You definitely have to consult your doctor who may adjust your medication accordingly.  

Over consumption may increase the risk of  prostate cancer in men.  It can cause the blood to thin, increasing the risk of easy bruising or excessive bleeding if an injury were to occur.  Over consumption of fish oil supplements that contain mercury may negatively affect the brain development in unborn and  young children.  When fish oil are the main dietary source of Omega-3 it may cause loose stools, bloating, nausea, and minor belching. 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FEEL THE BENEFITS OF FISH OIL FOR DEPRESSION?

There is no straight answer to this question.  Like with any other medication, this varies from one person to another – just like it is with antidepressants, people react differently.  We are unique, effects may be observed from as little as three weeks to about twelve weeks.  Also like any other treatment of depression, this also depends on the type of depression you are suffering from.  It is also important to mention that you cannot solely depend on Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for treatment of depression.  You must consult a professional healthcare provider who can diagnose you and determine the level or kind of depression you suffer from, and recommend treatment.  Major depression is not only treated by medication, a person suffering from major depression also need psychotherapy.

 

8 Comments

  1. What a thorough article Sandikazi, I appreciate all the time and effort that would have gone into getting all this information in one place, thanks a lot. I knew fish oil was good for you but had no idea how good, and how fish oil can aid in depression. I didn’t realize you could have too much of it though, so Im happy to be educated on that. Thanks again for a great article

    1. Hi Marvin, 

      Thank you for stopping by.  I highly appreciate your time and comments.

      All the best.

      Sandikazi

  2. Yes, I agree,

    Fish oils are wonderful for the mind, but even better steamed fish!  Even the people in the Far East like the Japanese understand that the kind of food you eat is the kind of person you become.

    Fish on the whole are calm and poised.  So are Japanese people who eat plenty of seafood and sushimi – which I like…

    Actually, to cure any low moods I have, I find that protein – whether from eggs, fish or chicken and avocado, is wonderful for an improved state of mind.

    Exercise and keeping hydrated with living water, is also important.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Stella,

      Thank you for stopping by,  I highly appreciate your time.

      All the best.

  3. Fish oils are known to be used for conditions related to heart and blood system. From what I have read, it can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For those who are taking it as a supplement, it is most likely that they can prevent other health problems such as stroke, chest pain and clogged arteries. However this is the first time I was informed that it should be taken with proper dosage. I thought, since it is a supplement, a person can take 1 capsule a day. So thank you for this information.

    I think it is best to have this as a supplement with doctor’s supervision of course. People age and taking supplement that can make brains healthier is necessary. Depression is evident in mental and physical health condition. There are further researches regarding this are still being studied. Most research would state that fish oils is really a good source to treat depression. Thanks for this health related article!

    1. Hi Missus,

      Thank you for stopping by. I highly appreciate your time and comments.  

      All the best.

  4. Hello

    Very interesting article on our health

    Many benefits of Omega – 3

    I am from Greece, the fish is eaten almost every day, but a supplement with good quality Omega-3 would be a must for the daily supplement

    Many of the positives you mention for many ailments, my mother-in-law has problems with sugar and her doctor recommends Omega-3 diet, and I’m glad you mentioned in your article that overeating can have adverse effects health in some people

    Thank you for that

    I wish you the best!

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for stopping by.  I highly appreciate your time and comments. Greece is a beautiful country, I would like to visit one day.  Stay healthy with Omega-3.

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