After Dr. Basant Puri, a renowned consultant psychiatrist and a senior lecturer at the London’s Imperial College MRI unit finally let the cat out on his findings regarding Omega 3 and the great effects it had on the development and functionality of the brain and its effect on depression, it was followed by many other studies revolving around Omega 3 beneficial effects. One thing that has stood out in all these studies is a confirmation that indeed Omega 3, a very important substance, although lacking prominently in today’s ‘diet’, is the secret component in the development of brain and proper brain functioning.
The idea that Omega 3 has a direct relation with depression and similar mental health illnesses came about as a result of two studies. One was a 1999 Harvard University study that concluded that fish oil was an unrivaled treatment for bipolar. The second study was the one conducted in 1996 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which set out to study the incidence of depression across 10 different countries. In conclusion, it was established that depression incidences were significantly lower in countries whose intake of fish was high.
Omega 3 being Part of A Healthy Diet
Omega 3 is a simple substance commonly found in fatty fish like fresh salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and pilchards. It is therefore advisable that in order to maintain optimal health, an average person should take at least 5g of essential fatty acids, i.e. both Omega 3 and Omega 6. Well, this could not be practical to many people because of busy lifestyles and stuff, hence the recommendations to take them as healthy supplements.
Omega 3 and your Brain
While there are very many benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids reported on different fronts, the greatest breakthrough was reported to have taken place in improving the mental capacity, functioning, and health of an individual. Depression is one condition that has been treated successfully with Omega 3 fatty acids, as has been documented by numerous studies. Equal results have been documented in bipolar and schizophrenia cases. As a result of such studies and successful treatments, there is enough reason to believe that Omega 3 could actually be used to treat other mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, cognitive impairment, and dyslexia among others.
Omega 3 and your Body
The major omega 3 benefits for the body takes place in the heart. According to the American Heart Association, consuming fatty fish at least two times a week will reduce the odds of heart disease complications. While research is still continuing as to the effects the fatty acids will have on the human heart, the findings up to date have concluded that omega 3 fatty acids:-
- Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, a condition that can cause sudden cardiac arrest
- Reduce the levels of triglyceride
- Reduce blood pressure, albeit slightly
- Reduce the occurrence of atherosclerotic plaque
Further, Omega 3 is famous for its anti-inflammatory effects. Judith Horstman wrote an article for Arthritis Today in regards to this and said that there is enough reason to believe that fish oil supplements coupled with omega 3 fatty acids can significantly ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, can prevent the occurrence of Reynaud’s syndrome spasms, and that they can also relieve lupus symptoms.
There is also enough evidence to believe that the significant lack of omega 3 in most diets today is what has mainly contributed to the rise of such factors like
- Cystic fibrosis
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Prostate cancer
Omega 3 Supplements
As any expert nutritionist, dietician or doctors will advice, the surest way to derive the most out of something is to eat it straight from where it comes from. In this case it means that for you to get the most of Omega 3 fatty acid, you should consume significant amounts of fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, soybean oil, and canola oil. Practically, this is not possible for most people given the average diet and typical lifestyle that people are leading today. Further, if one seeks to use omega 3 to fight an existing condition such as depression, the amounts derived from the foods may not be sufficient enough. It is because of these factors that experts recommend omega 3 supplements, those which are potent in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which when coupled with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) work wonders in someone’s immune system, thanks to their potent therapeutic effects.
It is important to keep in mind that because of the recent developments and findings of Omega 3, and all its possible health benefits, most studies on this are still on their preliminary stage and have been based on small tests groups. Further research is ongoing which is expected to provide additional information and insight on how Omega 3 works and the role it plays on the brain’s development and functioning.