What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids are nutrients absolutely necessary for human health. Since our bodies cannot synthesize omega 3 fatty acids, it is essential that we obtain them from our diets, hence they are commonly called essential fatty acids. The most common source of omega 3 fats is coldwater fatty fish such as salmon, but other sources include seafood, nuts, eggs and fish oil supplements.
There are two major omega 3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA – that have gained considerable attention in recent years because they seem to benefit almost every organ system in our bodies.
Depression and Mental Clarity:
The majority (about 60%) of our brain and nerves are composed of fats, and it is well documented that poor fatty acid status contributes to both the incidence and severity of depression1151.
EPA and DHA are the most predominant omega-3 fatty acids in our brains and consequently, the most biologically relevant when it comes to mental health251. High DHA concentrations, for example, enhance serotonin, a feel-good hormone that gives a sense of well being. Impaired mental focus, disturbed sleep patterns and other common depressive symptoms often respond well to fatty acid supplementation.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (n6:n3) is equally important. Studies show that the more severe the depression, the higher the n6:n3 ratio typically is, but also the more effective fatty acid (or fish oil) supplementation can be.