The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Health

 

Even though the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are a much talked about topic, many people are still deficient.

In the past, however, omega-3s have been a big part of the diet of our ancestors, much bigger than today, especially marine omega-3s found in fish and other seafood.

Marine omega-3s - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - are important for vital processes in the body.

For example, they’re essential not only for brain development but also for mental health.

Low intake of omega-3s may increase the risk of a plethora of disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Fortunately, there is also a lot of evidence indicating that supplementation with marine omega-3s could significantly reduce this risk and improve existing mental health conditions.

A recently published review of literature on this topic discusses the many roles of marine omega-3s and their benefits on brain health.

What’s Important

Omega-3 type DHA is the most prevalent polyunsaturated fatty acid in the central nervous system, which is why it’s so important for its development.

For this reason, pregnant and nursing women are often advised to consume 300mg/day of DHA so the risk of developmental issues in their infant is avoided.

Supplements are often advised to be used because not many people consume fish regularly.

However, it’s also important to note that the body can make DHA and EPA out of the third type of omega-3s fatty acid - the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

ALA is commonly found in plant sources like walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds, and oils like soybean, and canola.

But, this conversion is not as effective because the human body only converts some of the ALA content.

Some Details

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been found in children and adults who have symptoms of ADHD, like hyperactivity-impulsivity, anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

Several studies have shown that the intake of omega-3s significantly reduced the symptoms, and in some trials, it even improved attention and behavior. [1] [2] [3]

Omega 3s also seem to help with symptoms of dyspraxia in children by improving reading, spelling, and behavior over 3 months of treatment. [4]

When it comes to mental health, there has been towering evidence that omega-3s could help depression and anxiety.

The mechanism behind this is thought to be their anti-inflammatory properties.

Some studies have found that people with depression and social anxiety disorder had lower levels of DHA and EPA in their blood. [5] [6]

In line with this, a higher intake of omega-3s can lower the risk of depression and other mood disorders.

Bottom Line

Taking marine omega-3s, whether through diet or supplements, is always a good idea.

They are immensely important for so many processes in the body, your brain health included, so don’t be shy to stock up and/or consume fish more often.

If you’re interested in taking high-quality omega-3s, we recommend our Antarctic Krill Oil capsules with an optimal balance of DHA and EPA for a solid health boost.


Resource: DiNicolantonio, J.J.; O’Keefe, J.H. The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2333. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082333 

References:
1.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14985685/ 
2.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14669965/
3.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18448859/
4.https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/5/1360
5.https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(10)00247-7/fulltext
6.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X05001112?via%3Dihub
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