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Fish Oil and Depression

Updated on July 21, 2010

Fish oil is becoming a favorite dietary supplement of many Americans who have been suffering with illness or pain. But can fish oil really cure depression, chronic fatigue or pain? In this article we will discuss how fish oil supplements can affect the body and if they really are a natural cure for depression.

Fish oil supplements are typically found in soft gel capsule form, but can also be purchased in liquid bottles, if you have the stomach for it as it can be quite vial tasting and smelling. The fish oil is typically extracted from the tissue of oily ocean fish like herring, sardines, mackerel, tuna, and cod.  These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are shown to have positive health benefits on the human body. The typical American diet does not consume enough foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, hence the reason to supplement the diet with fish oil.

Clinical research of fish oil and its affect on depression, while on-going, have shown promise. It is believed the omega-3 fatty acid act as a mood stabilizer, similar to the affect of taking anti depressants. A side note of interest is that people in countries that consume more fish, have the lowest depression rates in the entire world.

Not only are omega-3 fatty acids linked to better mental health, they may also have an impact on cardiovascular health and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of some sorts of cancer, including prostate, breast, and colon. Cardiovascular benefits of omega-3’s may include preventing high blood pressure and the regulation of cholesterol in the body.

The omega-3 fatty acid is also considered an anti inflammatory. This anti inflammatory may lead to a relief of pain on joints and other sore areas of the body, similar to the effects of aspirin.

Negative effects of fish oil supplementation on the body are seen as minimal. High doses of fish oil could however be a cause of excessive bleeding, due to blood thinning.  For this reason it is recommended to not exceed three grams of fish oil dally. Before the addition of a fish oil supplement to your diet it is recommended consult a doctor.

While the debate about fish oil and depression will likely continue, the addition of foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial to the human body. These foods include fatty ocean fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

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