Omega 3 Fish Oil and Mood

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Omega 3 Fish Oil and Mood

Diet and mood are intimately interconnected. After all, our guts are also known as our second brain. The guts and brain are formed from the same tissue during embryonic development. In addition, there is a network of nerves and neurotransmitters lining the guts and has direct linkages to the brain. Feelings and moods can have direct effects on digestive function, and foods we eat can have mood and mind-altering properties. Given the extent to which omega-3 fats are involved with cognitive function, it also makes sense that there would be an important link between fish oils, brain chemistry and mood.

The abilities of omega-3 fatty acids from fish to promote a positive outlook have been confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.20 It was found that men and women over 60 years old with lower long-term intakes of fish oils exhibited more negative emotions than were expressed by others who regularly consumed more fish oils (as fish or as supplements). This result echoes the interesting finding reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry, which showed that across the globe, the likelihood of good mental health and a positive attitude toward life increases with increasing fish (and fish oil) intake.21

Fish oil isn’t just for adults. It also seems to enhance mood in children. According to research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the intake of fish oil in the form of approximately 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA taken daily in a trial lasting for 16 weeks showed significant improvements in mood at eight weeks, continuing on through the end of the study at 16 weeks.22 It certainly seems that fish is good mood food.

Tomorrow’s topic: What the Experts Say about Omega 3 Fish Oil

19. 20. Tiemeier H, van Tuijl HR, Hofman A, Kiliaan AJ, Breteler MM. Plasma fatty acid composition and depression are associated in the elderly: The Rotterdam Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:40-46.
21. Peet M. International variations in the outcome of schizophrenia and the prevalence of depression in relation to national dietary practices: An ecological analysis. Br J Psychiatry 2004;184:404-408.
22. Nemets H, Nemets B, Apter A, Bracha Z, Belmaker RH. Omega-3 treatment of childhood depression: a controlled, double-blind pilot study. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163(6):1098-100.

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