Why Omega 3 Supplements Are Important for Brain Function
Recent studies show that what we eat plays just as big a part in the function of our brains as our genetics. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and even ADHD have links to a lack of omega 3 oils. The important omega 3 fatty acids are commonly found in salmon, herring, cod and other cold water fish that have all but disappeared from the Standard American Diet.
How Omega 3 Fatty Acids Affect the Brain
Omega 3 fatty acid, also known as DHA is important for brain function. For two thousand years, fish were known as brain food and with good reason. Fish is rich in DHA, which is also found in high concentration in the brain. DHA helps to the function of cell membranes, which are used to transmit brain signals. Omega 3 fatty acids make the brain membranes more fluid, and this improves communication between brain cells. A lack of Omega 3 can cause a communication short circuit in the brain, causing all sorts of issues.
Our brains are 60 percent fat. One of the most important being Omega 3. Until recently, Omega 3 fatty acids were common in our diets, and as a result diseases like Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, and ADHD either didn’t exist or were extremely rare. Today Americans eat more grain-fed red meat than they did years ago (all meat used to be grass-fed), fish was more affordable and readily available in our great-grandparents day. Processed foods (see dangers of processed foods) and industrialized farms have removed omega 3 from our diets, almost completely.
The Alzheimer’s Link
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a clumps of protein that collect in the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory and Japanese studies have linked them to improved memory and speech in those with Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, Asians have a very low incidence of the disease when they follow a traditional Asian diet which is high in fish and vegetables.
Depressed people have reduced levels of DHA in their red blood cell membranes. Autopsies show lower levels of omega 3’s in the brains of those who suffered from depression when compared to those who didn’t suffer from the disease. Low omega 3’s are found in people who have committed suicide.
Prozac is a highly used serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), one of many in a category of antidepressants.Fifty percent of Prozac users report lessening symptoms of depression or anxiety. Fifty-six percent of those who supplemented with 1,000 mg of Omega 3’s reported favorable results, with no side effects. Eighty-one percent of those who took both Prozac and omega 3’s reported improvement in their mental state.[G5][G6]
In studies where children with ADHD supplemented their diet (ADHD Diet) with omega 3’s and other healthy foods, marked improvement was shown in behavior and the ability to process information. Studies show that children with ADHD have extremely low levels of omega 3’s. All natural gummy supplements are available to five kids an easy way to get their omega 3’s in their diet.
With the rise of brain disorders that can be traced to a lack of omega 3’s in our diet, it’s safe to say that anyone could benefit from supplementing with omega 3’s or adding omega 3 rich foods to their diet. Since most children don’t eat fresh fish, they should certainly supplement their diets with a healthy omega 3 supplement. Read more about importance of omega 3 for children, here.