Omega 3 fatty acids are generally considered beneficial and safe. They have a host of health benefits, including maintaining healthy cardiovascular function, eye health, nerve function as well as promoting cognition. One of the primary reasons why omega-3 fatty acids are advocated by nutritionists and holistic practitioners is that the typical American diet is very low in these specific types of fatty acids, which come from sources such as fish, nuts and seeds (especially hemp seeds and walnuts).
The American diet is very high in another type of fatty acid, omega-6
The typical American diet is very high in another type of fatty acid, omega-6. Omega-6 fatty acids are important as well, however, what is crucial is to have the omega-6 fatty acids balanced with omega-3s in a proper ratio. Sources vary on what this ratio ideally should be – somewhere between 3:1 to 6:1. Commonly, this ratio is seen as 20:1 or higher. The omega-6 fatty acids at this high of a ratio promote inflammation, which is why omega-6s are considered “pro-inflammatory” and omega-3s are “anti-inflammatory.” It is likely that much of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids come about due to their anti-inflammatory effects through balancing this fatty acid ratio.
New study further supports the use of omega-3 fatty acids in depression
A new study has just further supported the use of omega-3 fatty acids in depression, something which has been studied before.
108 participants suffering from cognitive depression were assigned to take either a omega-3 supplement (2 grams per day) or a placebo
108 participants suffering from cognitive depression – sadness versus fatigue – were assigned to take either a omega-3 supplement (2 grams per day) or a placebo. Blood tests indicated that in test participants who complied to taking the supplements their omega-3 index increased to over 7% in three-months. Social functioning and depression scores also significantly improved.
Authors pointed out that omega-3 fatty acids used in the prevention of depression is likely a better place to start
The study was not strongly conclusive that omega-3 supplementation should be advocated in the treatment of depression, however the authors pointed out that omega-3 fatty acids used in the prevention of depression is likely a better place to start. The dosing used in the study was also pointed out to be a relatively low dose for a therapeutic intervention, but a typical dose for a daily nutrition plan which aims to improve fatty acid balance and prevent chronic illness, including depression.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.