Depression is a general condition affecting about 3.8% of the world's population. Approximately two hundred and eighty million people undergo depression. As depression is a common illness, and People of the world consume an abundance of fish and fish oils, researchers have studied for over ten years the effects of fish on depression and have proven it. Fish and marine algae are the typical sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids, known as omega-3 oil, are polyunsaturated fatty acids PUFA, as their chemical structure exhibits more than one double bond.Omega-3 fatty acids are essential substances that benefit the metabolism and human physiology; when taken in or administered into the system, they help the metabolism and human physiology. They play a significant role in reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and depression as well. They are obtained only through diet or supplements as Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids fail to synthesize in our bodies.
What Are the Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are in three following forms.
Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA
Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA
Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA.
What Are the Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Alpha-linolenic acid, ADA, is found in plants and plant-based oils. Familiar sources of Alpha-linolenic acid are the following.
EPA and DHA are found in algae and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids get accumulate in fish as they eat marine algae. The sources are fish, fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and algae oil.
What Includes The Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
- Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke.
Omega-3 fatty acids relatively lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. They also reduce the heart rate and the risks of certain circulatory malfunctions like varicose veins. But they do not possess any changes in abnormal heart rhythm or heart failures. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids lower the triglycerides level in the blood and hence prevent the person from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered immune nutrients and are used for nutritional therapy in cancer patients. In addition, combining chemotherapy and omega-3 fatty acids with palliative care cures cancer.
Researchers have identified that diet and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids reduced the grades of depression, but there is still a bias in publication.
As omega-3 fatty acids help in inflammation and emphasize the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs, they can be an asthma depleter.
Fish-based supplements limit stiffness and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids also benefit children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, by enhancing their learning and comprehension. They also aid in the vision and neurologic development of neonates. Eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA and Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA Help against inflammation by lowering the inflammation markers such as interleukin-6 or IL-6, tumor necrosis factor or TNF A, and C-reactive protein. Neurologic conditions like Alzheimer's disease, dementia, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
What Is the Daily Requirement of Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
According to U.S Food and Drug Administration(FDA), consuming omega-3 fatty acids not more than 3g is safe. 3000 to 5000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day appears safe.
What Are the Complications or Side Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Short-term adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, stomach discomfort, or joint pain.
Long-term PUFAs may increase cancer risk due to their oxidation products or added vitamin E.
Tell the medical practitioner about your medications. Omega 3 fatty acids, when combined with blood thinners such as anticoagulants and antiplatelets, cause bleeding.
Now, take a peek at depression and how omega-3 fatty acids helps fight it.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a common mood disorder in which a person undergoes constant feelings of sadness, accompanied by guilt, lethargy, and seldom irritability. Data shows that hundreds of millions worldwide suffer from depression, a leading cause of disability.
The symptoms of depression are mentioned below.
Mood swings as mild, moderate, and severe
Difficulty in concentrating
Less amusement in life
Loss of interest and pleasure
Medications like antidepressants, SSRIs, and anxiolytics are usually prescribed by your medical practitioner. However, due to the recent high prevalence of depression, for over ten years, medical researchers have been studying the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids on depression and other mental and behavioral disorders. Though some conflicts are going on, they are pursuing further research to prove more.
What Dosage Is Beneficial for Depression?
For depression, the dose of omega-3 fatty acids ranges between one gram and ten gram per day. Therefore, the most prescribed dose is one to two grams daily, a combination of EPA and DHA. In patients with bipolar disorder, omega-3 fatty acids should be cautiously taken with a prescribed mood stabilizer.
How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Fight Depression?
As we all know, the primary function of omega-3 fatty acids is to regulate one's metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids alter the cell structure of each cell membrane. So, they easily carry through cell membranes of the brain and can interact with mood-related molecules, so they act as antidepressants. They also possess some anti-inflammatory actions which may relieve depression. Higher consumption of seafood, a source of omega-3 fatty acids by lactating mothers, leads to higher DHA levels in the mother's milk. This increased DHA level further helps to lower the prevalence of postpartum depression.
With Scientific Evidence,
Many traditional and clinical experiments are going on to clarify the effectiveness of PUFAs over depression and mental illness. More than 30 clinical trial-based studies were done.
Several studies with scientific shreds of evidence are given below.
In 2009, scientists used EPA to treat three types of depression: recurrent depression in children, adults and bipolar depression. Studies revealed that EPA helped to improve depression rather than a placebo.
In 2004, the National Institute of Health proved that the combination of DHA and EPA provided some relief from the symptoms of depression with minor depression, major depression, postpartum depression, and suicidal ideation.
Scientists of Maudsley Biomedical Research Center, being in the National Institute of Medical Research, manifested the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids over depression.
He et al. made spatial learning on neurogenesis with a transgenic mouse. The study reviewed that more DHA generates while omega-six fatty acids are converted to omega-three fatty acids, which helps in learning and memory.
A study by Maes et al. with 34 primary depression patients and 14 ordinary healthy people was done for their omega-3 and omega-6 levels. This trial demonstrates that major depression results from significantly lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Mamalakis et al. study shows that mild depression patients had lower DHA levels in the adipose tissue(body fat) than a healthy person. These last two points illustrate that enhanced levels of omega-3 fatty acids alter the function of neurons and drop the rate of depression.
Up-to-day research is evident that omega-3 fatty acids through diet or supplements, in combination with other treatments, show benefits over depression. Still, some clear-cut research is going on to well portray the effects and show whether they apply to all. Though omega-3 fatty acids have numerous advantages, kindly consult your physician before taking them, as they could modify other medical conditions and drugs.
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