Fish oil is a powerful, beneficial natural compound whose effects are still being explored. One of fish oils most beneficial effects is alleviating the symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. In this article we shall look at fish oil and mental health with particular attention to a couple of common disorders.
Some evidence exists that shows omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Studies on children with ADHD have shown they tend to have lower-than-normal levels of Omega-3 EFAs in their red blood cell membranes. Fish Oil: The Natural Inflammatory page 93 (Amazon)
The Facts on ADHD and Fish Oil
- ADHD is a complex behavioral problem caused by neurobiological issues. Recent research has shown that ADHD is often treated just as effectively by omega-3 fatty acid supplements as by Ritalin. This is good news for ADHD kids because Ritalin has several proven negative side effects. While not all children with ADHD respond well to omega-3 fatty acids, many do, and parents with ADHD kids should consider having their children take omega-3 supplements.1
- No one yet understands exactly why omega-3 supplements help people with ADHD. The most likely reason is that omega-3 fatty acids help boost concentration and learning in children. ADHD is positively correlated with difficulty in learning in the classroom. A lot of ADHD kids act out simply because they are frustrated with their performance in the classroom.2
- ADHD is a relatively common problem: about 8 to 12% of school-age kids have it. As the use of fish oil supplements continues to rise, it is likely that the incidence of ADHD in the school population will fall. Though unfortunately ADHD is not going anywhere anytime soon, the use of fish oil supplements parents can make great strides towards reducing its occurrence.3
While ADHD is one of the most common mental problems, bipolar disorder is one of the worst. Considerably fewer people have bipolar disorder than ADHD, but bipolar disorder is strongly linked to both depression and suicide. Fortunately, omega-3's positive effects on bipolar patients are just as powerful as its positive effects on ADHD patients.
Fish Oil and Bipolar Disorder
- A Harvard study conducted on the effects of fish oil on bipolar disorder found that fish oil helped bipolar symptoms much better than a placebo.4
- Bipolar disorder does not respond well to most conventional psychiatric treatments. The discovery that fish oil is effective at treating bipolar disorder could potentially change clinical psychiatry forever.
Fish oil doesn't just help the mentally ill recover -- it helps the mentally healthy stay healthy. Experts recommend that individuals that want to ensure that they stay mentally healthy make sure they spend enough time relaxing each day and try to socialize with others. But relaxation and socialization alone are not enough.
Modern life is extremely stressful and it is not always possible to escape the harmful effects of stress. Fish oil doesn't prevent stress but it seems to help people cope with it better. If you want to be able to cope better with the stress in your life, natural fish oil could be just the thing to help you start feeling better.
Of course, fish oil isn't the only supplement that helps people cope with stress and unwind. However, it is unique because it lacks the side effects that most medications have.
With natural fish oil, you can help make yourself less likely to develop depression and other serious mental illnesses and even help boost your physical health. Few other nutritional supplements come close to providing the benefits of fish oil. All the same, doctoring yourself is never a good idea. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional on matters of your health, mental or physical.