Benefits of Fish Oil for Depression

Why is fish oil recommended for depression? Fish oil is a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, that promote cognitive and behavioral functions of the brain. Read on to know why depression is treated with fish oil...
PsycholoGenie Staff
The problem of depression is a common one, and treating this problem is a wide concern for medical professionals. These days, depression symptoms are commonly noticed in elderly men and women, young adults, and even in children. Studies show that not only excessive stress but nutritional deficiency is one of the main causes of depression. A healthy diet and regular exercises that help maintain hormonal balance, can definitely help prevent depression. Foods that fight depression include omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B, D and E, minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and selenium, carbohydrates, water, etc. Fish oil is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. Information on fish oil health benefits will help you understand why fish oil is recommended for depression.

Fish Oil Health Benefits

In 1998, a study report about insufficient levels of omega 3 acids in red blood cells of a patient with depression was published in the 'Journal of Affective Disorders'. Another study report was published in 1999 in the 'Archives of General Psychiatry', saying that patients with depression, when treated with fish oil, showed significant improvement. Various experts have stated that people who cut off fat from their diet while trying to lose weight, mostly suffer from depression.

Fish oil is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids or healthy fat, which is necessary for strengthening the cell membranes and for increasing cell permeability. Fish or fish oil contains essential nutrients, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), that help boost the function of the brain. Various studies have proven that insufficient amount of EPA and DHA in the body can lead to mental disorders like schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. These diseases result in lack of confidence, social withdrawal, and depression. Regular consumption of fish oil helps improve concentration, creativity, and memory.

Our brain consists of 60% fat. Lack of fat in the body can lead to several health complications. You need to provide a minimum level of healthy fat to your body for proper functioning of all systems. Fish oil supplements can raise the blood levels of EPA and DHA (healthy fats), and can thus help fight the symptoms of depression. Doctors therefore prescribe fish oil for depression. Omega 3 acids in fish oil stimulate the production of serotonin, the hormone which makes you feel happy. Thus, a person with sufficient omega 3 acids can deal with emotional issues more effectively.

It is believed that lack of vitamin D can lead to depression. Cod liver oil contains a good amount of vitamin D, which helps fight depression. Regular consumption of fish oil helps boost your energy levels; as it improves your overall health in several ways. You can then perform intensive exercises and can lose weight. It has been observed that obesity and depression go hand in hand. Omega 3 acids promote normal cholesterol levels, and thus help prevent obesity. As fish oil promotes weight loss, it helps prevent depression too.

Fish oil carries anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil health benefits include reduced symptoms of chronic diseases like arthritis, ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal inflammation problems, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. It lowers the risk for various types of cancers. People with chronic diseases often face the problem of depression. Lowering the symptoms of these diseases helps prevent depression.

Most women suffer from severe mood swings and depression before or during menstruation. Fish oil helps reduce pelvic pain, menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome, including mood swings and depression. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil help prevent the harmful effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions. Fish, shellfish, fish oil, etc., contain zinc, an essential element which helps fight depression. Zinc deficiency is one of the main causes of depression. Consumption of fish oil can help overcome zinc deficiency. Infertility is also one of the main causes of depression. Consumption of fish oil improves the sperm count in men. It thus helps fight depression indirectly, and in numerous ways. A doctor might prescribe fish oil supplements along with other anti-depressant medicines while treating depression symptoms.

Fish oil works great for depression, but excessive consumption of fish oil supplements can prove to be harmful for the health. Overdose of fish oil can cause internal bleeding and strokes. Mild side effects of fish oil include stomach upset, nausea, heartburn, fishy aftertaste, etc. Overdose of omega 3 acids may lower the blood pressure. So if you want to get rid of depression symptoms, and if you want to opt for fish oil for depression and anxiety, you should consult a physician and follow his instructions sincerely.