What are omega 3s and why should I be interested?
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because the body requires them. They are required for the body to work properly. Omega 3s are not made in the body so they must be supplied through the diet. Although there others, the two main types of Omega 3s are DHA and EPA.
When I started taking omega 3 fatty acids for anxiety, I noticed that I began to feel slightly more relaxed and at ease throughout the day. I came across others who reported similar experiences. While anecdotal evidence can be personally reassuring a fair question remains: is there any research supporting omega 3 for anxiety?
Indeed some of the sites that I visit frequently are quite informative on the subject.
Dr. Weil, M.D. discusses how research is showing that omega 3 fatty acids “regulate inflammation, and may help reduce the risk and symptoms of a variety of disorders influenced by inflammation, including heart attack, stroke, several forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. People with high cholesterol, diabetes, symptoms of PMS, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), insulin resistance, or rheumatoid arthritis may also benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.”
I also visited WebMD and a section of the Psychology Today website which documented additional research showing that omega-3 fatty acids show some anti-anxiety effects along with helping depression.
So you can see that there may be benefits for physical and mental health. However many people resist the notion of consuming more fat…
If you are concerned about fat in this case don’t be: essential fatty acids are a good type of fat and truly are ESSENTIAL for our bodies. And the majority of people are not consuming enough of them! This is concerning because a wide range of brain problems might result from inadequate levels.
I’m not suggesting omega 3 for anxiety as a cure-all; rather omega 3 fatty acids are an essential thing for your body. So it seems reasonable that not getting enough of them could have negative effects on the brain. It makes sense that anyone suffering anxiety and panic attacks would want to ensure that they consume adequate levels of omega 3 for anxiety.
The great news is that getting the right amount of omega 3 for anxiety is easier than ever. The most frequently recommended form of omega 3 is fish oil, as opposed to other sources of omega 3 fatty acids, such as flax oil and flax seed, etc. Experts say that these types of omega 3 from fish oil have better health benefits than other types.
The reason that I prefer fish oil for anxiety is because the omega 3 essential fatty acids in fish oil are in a form already broken down and ready for direct use by the body. Whereas flax oil and other types of Omega 3 essential fatty acids first need to be broken down by the body before being utilized. Additionally, and most importantly, not everyone can break down these other forms of omega 3.
Now…you’ve probably heard all the talk about mercury in fish. Well if you are getting high doses of fish oil, the last thing you want is to be getting high doses of mercury! So it’s great that omega 3 fatty can help with anxiety, but what about mercury, you may be asking.
Bottom line on omega 3 for anxiety:
You can obtain pharmaceutical grade fish oil without being concerned about mercury because “pharmaceutical grade” means the fish oil has gone through a purification process which removes the many impurities that are found in the ocean, such as mercury.
So pick up a bottle of pharmaceutical grade fish oil at your local health food store and instead of having to worry about mercury, focus on helping your anxiety.
Reference (Omega 3 for Anxiety)
1. Psychology Today. Retrieved August 27, 2012, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201111/fish-oil-and-anxiety
2. Dr. Weil.com retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03050/Fish-Oil-Omega-3-Dr-Weil.html
3. WebMD. Helps Depression so mood benefits are possible, retrieved August 28, 2012, from