Omega-3’s and depression

CNN Health posted an article today about Omega 3’s and depression.

The question is: does taking omega 3 supplements help fight depression.

CNN’s answer is: maybe.

I agree, as there are many, many layers to treating depression. However taking an omega-3 supplement (and eating a diet rich in omega-3’s) surely can’t hurt.

Omega 3 fatty acids, as many of you know, are are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The most commonly known of these fatty acids are DHA and EPA. These substances are super beneficial to your overall health, particularly when it comes to reducing inflammation and enhancing cognitive (brain) function. Hence the reason why EPA and DHA have been studied for the treatment of depression. But, I’d like to point out that the scientific research conducted on depression and omega 3’s was through vitamin supplementation of EPA and DHA. Not through the introduction of foods naturally rich in these substances.

In my opinion, its better to eat foods that are rich in EPA and DHA all on their own rather than just depending soley on a supplement to provide you with these essential nutrients. EPA and DHA naturally occur in certain foods like sardines, salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts. So, eat them because as the CNN report points out, “some studies show that countries that consume more fish high in omega-3s have lower rates of depression.”

The takehome: the source of the EPA and DHA is imperative to its therapeutic effect on your health and your body. If you are taking a generic “fish oil” or “omega-3” supplement that is from farm raised fish (and potentially contains mercury and other toxins) the health benefits are going to be nil in comparison to eating a healthy portion of wild salmon and organic walnuts. However, taking a capsule containing EPA and DHA is smart to do in addition to eating foods naturally rich in these substances, the brands I recommend are: Green Pastures, Carlson’s, Nordic Naturals (with Green Pastures being my top choice).

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