Since Dr Basant Puri, a consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer at London's Imperial College MRI unit, released his findings on Omega 3 and its effect on brain function and depression, many studies have been performed regarding beneficial effects this fatty acid. Studies over past two years have consistently confirmed that Omega 3, a substance lacking in today’s “diet” is a key component in brain’s development and proper functioning.
The notion that Omega 3 was linked to depression and other mental illnesses came about based on studies conducted at Harvard University in 1999 on people with bipolar and a 1996 study by Journal of American Medical Association studying prevalence of depression across ten countries. The Harvard study found that fish oil was an effective treatment for bipolar. The study conducted by Journal of American Medical Association was expanded upon in 1998 when it was discovered that depression was lower in countries that consumed higher levels of fish.
Omega 3 As Part Of A Healthy Diet
Omega 3 is a substance found most commonly in fatty fish such as fresh salmon, tuna, mackerel, pilchards and sardines. Over last 100 years western diet has shifted radically to include far less fish and thus Omega 3 fatty acid. During same time depression is estimated to have increased up to 100 fold.
To maintain ideal health, average person should consume five grams daily of essential fatty acids (divided between Omega 3 and Omega 6). As this is not likely to change at any point in near future some recommendations have been laid out for those who choose to take Omega 3 supplements. These recommendations will be listed further below in section titled, “Omega 3 Supplements”.
Omega 3 And The Brain
While benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids can be noticed on many levels, biggest breakthroughs documented have occurred in improved mental functions and health. Omega 3 has been reported to be effective in treatment of depression. Numerous studies have indicated that during double-blind tests, patients suffering from depression who take Omega 3 over a placebo report significant benefits.
Similar results have been reported in treatment of bipolar and schizophrenia. There are theories that Omega 3 could be used to treat other mental conditions such as attention deficit disorder, borderline personality disorder, dyslexia and cognitive impairment however at time of this writing these beliefs are unsubstantiated by anything more than preliminary data.
Omega 3 And The Body
The main reported benefits of Omega 3 for body occur in heart. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice per week in order to reduce likelihood of heart disease.