There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are related to mental health, including that they may tentatively be useful as an add-on for the treatment of depression associated with bipolar disorder. Significant benefits due to EPA supplementation were only seen, however, when treating depressive symptoms and not manic symptoms suggesting a link between omega-3 and depressive mood. There is also preliminary evidence that EPA supplementation is helpful in cases of depression. The link between omega-3 and depression has been attributed to the fact that many of the products of the omega-3 synthesis pathway play key roles in regulating inflammation such as prostaglandin E3 which have been linked to depression. This link to inflammation regulation has been supported in both in vitro and in vivo studies as well as in meta-analysis studies. The exact mechanism in which omega-3 acts upon the inflammatory system is still controversial as it was commonly believed to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
When it comes to fat, there's one type you don’t want to cut back on: omega-3 fatty acids. Two crucial ones -- EPA and DHA -- are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits.
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