Omega-3 Deficiency and Depression

Omega-3 fish oil is regularly being publicized as beneficial to your health. It contains an important fat, found abundantly in the fatty tissues of fish. Omega-3 fats have many beneficial effects, ranging from heart disease prevention to anti-inflammatory properties. They are also very important because of intense mental health implications.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a very important nutrient in decreasing the risk of depression. It may also help alleviate the symptoms of bipolar patients and work as a substitute to lithium as a mood stabilizing agent by inhibiting neuronal signals.

Currently in the US and Western Europe, the diet has almost been depleted of omega-3 fatty acids, compared to countries like Japan, which diets are made up of predominately fish. Rates of major depression have increased and the age of sunset has declined in every decade of the last century.

Currently the most accepted source of omega-3 is fish oil, but flaxseed oil is also a superior source. Early tests show it has potential as an alternative to fish oil. Studies have been done with depression patients in which the omega-3 content in fish oil required that they take 30 capsules a day to get the needed amount, which proved to be a very unpleasant task. Flaxseed oil is concentrated enough to require only a few capsules each day. The fish oil capsules also proved unpleasant to the patients in many ways, as the number of capsules was daunting and the fish taste was overpowering to many.

According to other studies – it is clear that omega-3 fats are also necessary for proper brain development during the critical time of early life. Cow's milk and other traditional baby formulas are both low in omega-3 fatty acids. Human breast milk, on the other hand, contains much higher amounts.

Researchers have revealed that the brain effects of omega-3 deficiency last a lifetime. Adults who were given infant formulas and cow's milk have, on average, a 9 to 10 point lower IQ than those who were receiving human breast milk.

Since the lack of breast milk results in a learning handicap, it will also handicap the resistance to depression. Researchers find that growth of the frontal lobe is impaired by omega-3 deficiency. So how do we protect ourselves from a diet low in omega-3? You can take fish oil capsules, but if you really want the best source of omega-3 – you should get it from plant sources.

Here are some plant sources you can get omega-3, Flaxseed, Walnuts, Sesame seeds, Spinach, Strawberries, and California avocado.