Can Omega-3’s be a natural solution to depression and anxiety?
Depression is one of the world’s most common diseases. Depression is a brain disease that affects mood and causes feelings of sadness.
Symptoms of depression include anxiety, lethargy, irritation, or guilt, difficulty concentrating, lack of interest in daily activities, and loss of pleasure from hobbies.
It can be a debilitating condition that makes it difficult to function in society.
The good news is that more and more solutions for depression have been coming out in recent years with the increasing commonality of the disease.
Today, we will analyze what causes depression and anxiety and then look at the properties and studies that break down what Omega 3’s are and their relation to these diseases.
- 1 What is the relationship between depression and anxiety?
- 2 How are depression and anxiety currently treated?
- 3 What are Omega-3 fatty acids?
- 4 What kind of Omega-3 do you need?
- 5 The Science behind Omega-3s and depression
- 6 How much Omega-3 do I need to see effects?
- 7 Where can I get Omega-3s?
- 8 Conclusion:
- 9 FAQ
- 10 Is there mercury in fish?
- 11 What is the difference between Omega 3 and Omega 6?
- 12 What are the benefits of Omega 3?
- 13 What are the side effects of taking omega 3 supplements?
What is the relationship between depression and anxiety?
Depression and anxiety often occur at the same time.
The reason why depression sometimes co-occurs with anxiety is still a mystery to researchers, but three main theories attempt to explain it:
First, depression may cause anxiety. Typically those who suffer from depression have low self-confidence and constantly fear the accomplishment of goals. This can lead them into anxious states of mind where they worry obsessively about all sorts of things because of their lack of confidence.
Second, anxiety can lead to depression. Those suffering from extreme stress or constant panic attacks might experience symptoms similar to those found in clinical depression (such as fatigue). When confronted with an overload of stress hormones like cortisol, the brain can be thrown out of whack and feel symptoms similar to depression.
Third, it could be that both are caused by a third factor, such as an imbalance in neurotransmitters or hormones like serotonin.
How are depression and anxiety currently treated?
The most common approaches for treating depression and anxiety are antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants.
However, many people don’t want to rely on medication as their only source of treatment due to the side effects that can come with them.
Here are some common alternative ways to cope with anxiety disorders and depression:
Exercise and physical activity
Exercise is a great way to relieve your body of excess stress that builds up during the day.
It’s also been shown to improve and even prevent depression symptoms, especially in obese or overweight, since being more physically active can help reduce weight gain, which is often a side effect of antidepressant medications.
Meditation and mindfulness practices
These types of therapies help you be more aware of your feelings and better cope with them.
Mindfulness programs help train the mind to become less reactive to negative thoughts or emotions and instead calmly observe them without judgment, which helps people feel more at ease. Yoga is another excellent way to increase mindfulness through physical activity as well.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (cbt)
This form of therapy focuses on identifying and changing problematic thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses. It teaches you how to think more positively to feel better about yourself (i.e., “I’m dumb for failing this test”), which can help reduce the severity of negative moods like anxiety or depression.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
This is a form of therapy where small electric currents are passed through the brain to produce controlled seizures that affect mood. It has been found helpful for those with severe depression or who need relief fast, but it’s not ideal since there can be side effects and memory loss after each treatment session.
Other psychotherapy methods
The national institute of mental health reports that there are many other types of therapies and psychotherapies out there. Some of those include:
• Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
• Family therapy
• Group therapy
• Marital/couples’ counseling
• Psychodynamic therapy
There are many natural ways to combat depression and anxiety disorder while in a clinical or professional setting.
Speak to a health care professional who knows your background and history when trying to decide which method is best for you
Natural supplements and vitamins
Many natural supplements have shown a positive impact in combating depression and anxiety-like fish oil, chamomile tea, St. John’s wort, etc.
The supplement that has been gaining a lot of traction lately is Omega 3 fatty acids, and for a good reason.
Omega-three fatty acids (omega-threes) are an essential type of fat that our bodies can’t make on their own, so we need to get these from food sources or supplements. There have been many studies showing how omega-threes can positively impact anxiety and depression symptoms as well.
What are Omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3s are a group of essential fatty acids that have critical functions in the body and may provide a variety of health advantages.
You must obtain them from your diet or via supplements because your body cannot create them independently.
There are three types of Omega-fatty acids that we need to be healthy:
ALA stands for Alpha-linolenic Acid. This is a plant-based omega fat, which can only be found in plants like flaxseed and walnuts.
EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid comes from marine sources such as fish oil and krill oil.
DHA or Docosahexaenoic Acid is the most important because this omega-fatty acid has been linked with brain health, mood improvement, blood pressure regulation, improved vision, among other benefits
What kind of Omega-3 do you need?
Two types of Omega-threes that are recommended for your daily consumption are EPA’s and DHA’s.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is found in fish oil supplements, while DHA is usually derived from algae or yeast. Which one should you be taking? It’s best to get both because they have different health benefits that target specific symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
The objective is to find the proper balance of EPA and DHA in your diet.
A great way to identify your DHA and EPA levels is is to take a blood test from a company like Zinzino.
The Science behind Omega-3s and depression
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be manufactured in the body by most animals. However, via diet, they can acquire shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acids like α-linolenic acid, which has 18 carbon and three double bonds and then convert them to eicosapentaenoic acid.
This allows omega-3 fatty acids to alter cell signaling and the cellular membrane structure, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids can function as antidepressants.
This was tested by He et al. through trials on mice.
The power of Omega 3s comes from its ability to regulate neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals within our brains that keep us feeling happy and healthy.
These neurotransmitters, like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA, play an essential role in regulating mood, so they need to be at the proper levels for you to feel your best.
How much Omega-3 do I need to see effects?
As of 2016, the American Heart Association recommends that adults consume about 250 milligrams a day.
Omega-fatty acids are most commonly found in fish and other seafood like shellfish and krill oil.
It is also possible to find Omega-fatty acids naturally in flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds, or hemp hearts.
A lack of these essential nutrients can lead to mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, and low energy levels. These are all common symptoms for depression sufferers to experience daily, so it might be worth looking into an omega supplement if you feel this describes your current mental state.
Where can I get Omega-3s?
While it is possible to get these essential fatty acids naturally from foods, such as flaxseed oil or walnuts, supplements would be the easiest way to get them.
There are many different brands out there, and choosing one might seem overwhelming at first. Still, you should always ensure that they have a seal of approval for quality by trusted organizations and health professionals.
If you are looking for my favorite Omega 3 fatty acid supplement, I suggest looking at Zinzino’s product line.
Zinzino uses fish oil sourced from northern waters to guarantee the highest purity levels, and LegitScript has also awarded them a seal of quality. This organization checks for legal and ethical business practices.
There are many different ways to combat anxiety and depression disorders. However, as more research is constantly being performed, natural remedies such as Omega 3s show promising results.
However, it is important to not simply rely on taking a supplement and ensure lifestyle changes, medications, or other solutions are implemented in conjunction with the omegas.
One of the best ways to get your daily dose of omega fatty acids is to eat healthy foods or through trusted supplements. If you feel like you might be deficient in Omega 3s, then I recommend Zinzino’s supplements and doing some research into other sources of the essential fatty acid as well!
Please keep in mind that this post has been written for informational purposes only, and it does not replace professional medical advice or treatment. Always speak to your doctor about a new medication. Do not attempt any change in dosage yourself without consulting them if you are already under treatment for anxiety or any other medical condition.
What causes anxiety?
What are the common signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety disorder?
What is music therapy?
Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions.
There’s even been some research that shows music therapy can help treat depression and anxiety symptoms in those with autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other mental illnesses.
What are the different anxiety disorders?
There are several types of anxiety disorders, some more common than others.
Here are some of the most common forms of anxiety:
GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder
What are the different types of depression?
There are two main types of depression:
Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent depressive disorder or PDD
Is there mercury in fish?
While it is possible to find mercury in fish, ensuring that you consume your Omega 3’s from a reliable source is essential. Using supplements can be a great way to limit the risk of mercury exposure if this is something you are concerned about.
What is the difference between Omega 3 and Omega 6?
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning our bodies do not produce it naturally and need it from outside sources. Omega 6 on the other hand is a polyunsaturated fat that is not considered as important to have such high levels of.
What are the benefits of Omega 3?
Ranging from improved cardiovascular health to better brain function, there are many benefits associated with ensuring you get enough omega 3’s in your diet.
What are the side effects of taking omega 3 supplements?
Taking any supplement can cause unwanted side effects if too much or too little is consumed. Getting advice from medical professionals and keeping track of how you feel while taking them can help limit these negative outcomes.