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Omega-3 Fats and Mental Health

brain health nutrition Aug 03, 2023

Yes, yet another article about the brain. Why? Simply put because I don’t feel that we really emphasize the importance of it enough. So here we are, more to learn, more to absorb and more to implement!

I have mentioned omega-3 fats in the past but to refresh your memory, they are essential fatty acids that play a vital role in the body, especially in the development and function of the brain. The body cannot produce omega-3 fats on its own, so it must obtain them from food or supplements.

Research has shown that omega-3 fats are crucial for brain development, cognitive function, and mental health. Research studies have shown that omega-3 fats may play a role in the prevention and treatment of various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Omega-3 fats are thought to work by reducing inflammation in the brain, which is believed to contribute to the development of many mental health disorders. They also help to maintain the structure and function of brain cell membranes, which are essential for proper brain function. Following more of an anti-inflammatory daily nutrition plan, emphasizing foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout), walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds. Remember, not all omega-3 fats are created equal. The most beneficial forms of omega-3 are EPA and DHA, which are found in fatty fish. While plant-based sources of omega-3 like nuts and seeds are still beneficial, they contain a different form of omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid or ALA), which needs to be converted by the body into EPA and DHA, and this process is not very efficient.

Omega-3 fats can also improve cognitive function, including memory and attention and may help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Several research studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can improve symptoms of depression, especially in individuals with more severe symptoms. They may also reduce symptoms of anxiety in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder.

As you can see, omega-3 fats are powerful fats and are important for brain health and function. Include them as much as you can through foods and aim for at least 2-3 servings per day. If you are finding that to be a difficult task, consider supplementing with a high-quality omega-3 supplement like THIS ONE. Normal dosing ranges per person and I highly recommend consulting a Sport Dietitian to help guide you in the optimal dose based on your health needs and current dietary intake of omega-3 fats.

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