What’s known is that one of the biggest differences which distinguishes us humans from most primates, are the higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in our brains. It’s these long chain polyunsaturated fats, which plays a key role in advanced logical thinking.
What omega-3 does is plays a vital role when it comes to the connectivity of the cell membranes, this to the other cells in the body, which increases the signaling between the cells. What a deficiency in omega-3 has shown, is a potential increase in mental health issues.
As a result, there’s been directed research to determine whether omega-3 could actually assist in improving mental issues such as moodiness, autism, or dementia. Some claim that it’s beneficial, while others insist there’s no effect.
Elemental Forms Of Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids when in supplemental form can be broken down into several molecules. They are ALA, EPA, and DHA. ALA is the precursor molecule that’s converted into EPA and DHA, this once inside the body.
It’s conversion rate however is thought to be around 20% percent, which means once consuming plenty of ALA which can be found in chia or flax seeds, what you’ll end up with are excessive amounts of omega-3 in the body, which may not be useful for the brain.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are known to be extremely delicate and can become easily rancid, this once exposed to oxygen, so having excess omega-3 might be pointless, and may even be detrimental.
EPA and DHA are the more sought after omega-3 fatty acids, which are most commonly found in fish oil. DHA is the primary fatty acid that’s found in the human brain.
EPA And DHA From Fish Oil
Where wild fish get their high content of EPA and DHA, is from consuming algae and ocean plankton, along with other sources. What this leads to is the belief that it contains more omega-3, this when compared to farm fed fish, which are usually fed corn or soy.
What some studies show however, is that the content of omega-3 in wild or farm raised fish are equivalently similar, this especially if the fish is on a corn diet.
What doing so results in the farmed fish generally being more plump, while growing quicker than the wild fish will.
Both EPA And DHA Needed
What’s found is that when it comes to omega-3 supplementation, that although DHA is the key omega-3 which benefits the brain, DHA supplementation alone is found to be ineffective.
It’s found that what it needs is EPA to be present, and in amounts which are at least two times higher than the DHA, for it to have any effect for better brain health.
For this reason, what’s not recommended is just taking the singular DHA algae products on the market, as by itself, it’s found useless without the EPA activator.
So what’s recommended is reading the labels carefully as EPA is needed to stimulate the more valuable DHA into the brain, as both needs to be present to have effect. The best source is consuming the actual fish, as it contains the right amounts.
Long Term Effects Of Omega-3
This based on a long-term study which was focused on what effects taking omega-3 supplementation had on the brain, this over a period of several years.
What it used was 1.25 grams of omega-3 supplements, 750 mg EPA and 480 mg DHA, this on adults who were showing signs of high risk psychotic disorders, specifically schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
After an extended period of time, just 10% percent of the omega-3 group developed some type of psychotic disorder, while 40% percent of the same group who were given a placebo, developed some type of mental disorder.
What the study also showed was there was mounting evidence on the theory that there’s a “critical” period, this when it comes to developing certain psychotic disorders.
Once the brain during the early adult years is protected from certain detrimental vices, and then possibly supplemented with omega-3, the risk of developing schizophrenia for those who are vulnerable, can perhaps be somewhat averted.
The Effects Of Omega-3
Generally, it appears that once someone progresses to dementia, that omega-3 may have little effect or benefit, as it might be too little too late.
But when it comes to other mental issues, and especially for the potential prevention of certain psychotic disorders, taking omega-3 supplementation for a period of time, can prove to be helpful.
This especially if one is a young adult, who may be experiencing or has a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It may prove well worth the time to take omega-3 supplements, this provided it has the proper amounts of ALA, EPA, and DHA.
The best source remains eating fish that’s fresh as possible. Fish such as anchovies, sardines, salmon, or skipjack tuna, are recommended the most, this provided that they’re free of contaminants such as PCP and mercury.
Pain Relief From Inflammation
It’s also known that any type of pain that’s associated with inflammation, that taking omega-3 fish oil supplements can potentially play a healing role, this when it comes to suppressing excess inflammation in the body.
Whats found is that it might be the deficiency of this supplement, is the reason why some will suffer from inflammation pain. What taking fish oil can potentially do is decrease the inflammation, which then naturally reliefs the pain.
An easy test to know whether your body’s inflammatory system is too active, is the next time you get a paper cut, the initial pain should go away quickly.
If it remains reddened, while you still feel a sting an hour later, then you might benefit from taking more omega-3 fish oil.