(Natural News) When you think of ways to deal with depression, what comes to mind? For many people, the answer is antidepressants. However, their scary side effects are enough to put a lot of people off, so many others try natural treatments like yoga and meditation. One way of addressing depression that may not come to mind is eating more fish, but after you learn more about what researchers have discovered, you’ll see why this could end up being one of the best routes to take.
You might have heard that omega-3 fatty acids are good at reducing inflammation, but did you know that they can also help with depression? Research has increasingly been pointing to inflammation as a cause of depression, and now it looks like omega-3s can address both issues in one fell swoop.
A recent study carried out in Japan discovered a significant correlation between symptoms of depression and lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a person’s bloodstream. It’s a significant finding when you consider how widespread depression is these days, affecting roughly 6.7 percent of American adults.
In the study, researches evaluated more than 2,100 people aged 40 and older using a standard 20-question depression assessment test. They tested their blood for various fatty acids, and they discovered that those with the lowest levels of omega 3s had the highest depression risk. The converse was also true, with those who had higher omega 3 levels noting a risk of depressive symptoms that was as much as 43 percent lower.
Their findings become even more interesting when broken down by fatty acid type. High levels of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, reduced depression risk by 42 percent, while having higher levels of EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, lowered depression risk by 36 percent. Both compounds are omega 3s.
It’s also worth noting that omega 3 supplements were found to boost the efficacy of the antidepressant drug citalopram. Of course, most people would rather avoid antidepressants entirely, but for those who can’t for whatever reason, adding omega 3 supplements can still make a big difference. Another study revealed that a dietary ratio imbalance of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids was connected to a higher risk of depression.
It’s not just depression that omega 3s can help with. These fatty acids can also reduce your risk of dementia, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, and they offer benefits to your cardiovascular and metabolic system as well.
Where can you get omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids can come from animal and plant food sources alike. The top plant sources are chia, flax, walnuts and hemp seeds. Thankfully, these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. For example, flax can be stirred into yogurt and chia can be added into oatmeal or overnight oats.
When it comes to animal sources, you’re spoiled for choice. Lots of cold-water fatty fish species are great sources of these fatty acids. For example, sardines, salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel are all great choices.
You can also get supplements in the form of fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and algal oil, although it’s important to check that you are getting it from a trustworthy source that tests for impurities. However, getting it from food sources should be your first choice if possible.
There is no official standard when it comes to omega 3 intake, and expert opinions vary. Most recommend a minimum of somewhere between 250 and 500 milligrams of DHA and EPA combined per day, but higher amounts can be recommended for certain conditions.
If you’re struggling with depression and you don’t want to take on the potential side effects of antidepressants, increasing your omega 3 intake could prove to be an effective way to combat the blues without putting your life in danger.
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