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Originally published April 3 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids found to restructure brain matter tied to positive mood and emotions

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

Intake of omega-3 fatty acids is correlated with a better mood and more positive outlook, and may contribute to improving the structure of the areas of the brain associated with emotions, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.

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What you need to know - Conventional View

• Researchers studied 55 healthy adults, questioning them about their omega-3 intake and taking magnetic resonance images of their brains. Higher intake of omega-3s was significantly correlated with a higher volume of brain matter in the areas associated with the regulation of mood and emotion.

• In a prior study, the same researchers had discovered a correlation between blood levels of omega-3s and a positive life outlook. People with lower omega-3 levels were more likely to be impulsive and have a negative outlook. People with higher levels were more likely to have a positive mood and outlook.

• The new study suggests that omega-3s may play a role in the structuring and improvement of mood-regulating areas of the brain.

• Omega-3s are one of the two types of fatty acids; the others are omega-6. Scientists believe that the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake is between 3:1 and 5:1.

• The typical omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the modern, Western diet is between 10:1 and 30:1.

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, author of The 7 Laws of Nutrition

• The typical Western diet is dangerously low in omega-3 fatty acids. The health effects of these severe deficiencies, which include diabetes, breast cancer, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia and heart diseases, are usually diagnosed as independent "diseases" requiring chemical treatment. But in many cases, the root cause of the problem is simply a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids.

Resources you need to know

• Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds ( or, flax seeds, certain fish oils (wild salmon) and various nuts and seeds.

Bottom line

• Studies suggest that a higher intake of omega-3s may lead to a more positive outlook and a better regulation of mood.

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