Research shows strong evidence that patients with mood disorders exhibit low blood omega-3 levels which are associated with an increased risk for the initial development of depression and mental health in response to inflammation.
Omega-3 testing for mental health should be as common as cholesterol testing for cardio vascular disease.
Dr. Robert K. McNamara from the Department of psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati explains “Analogous to routine cholesterol testing, routine testing for omega-3 deficiency is currently feasible within the context psychiatric clinical practice.”
So why is knowing your omega-3 levels from fish and fish oil so important for your happiness, mood and mental health?
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory molecules. They resolve and stop depression and disease causing inflammation.
The omega-6s commonly found in processed, modern foods are proinflammatory and cause inflammation to continue indefinitely. This is a problem because the brain is the fattiest organ in the body.
If your diet and blood is full of omega-6s, your brain is full of inflammation.
Research shows inflamed brains tend to be depressed brains.
“Another pivotal point is that increased inflammation not only occurs in depression but also in multiple other psychiatric diseases including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia.”
– Dr. Andrew H. Miller, MD
Serious mental health disorders such as bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia have also been associated with red blood cell deficits in omega-3 levels. Bi-polar patients receiving omega-3 supplements experienced a 50% improvement in symptoms during a 2005 study.
Standard FDA approved bipolar and other mood stabilizers such as lithium, TegretolTM, EpilimTM, and LamictalTM all reduced the turnover and metabolism of the inflammatory omega-6 AA.
The Omega Blood Score tells you what your omega-6 AA and omega-3 DHA levels are.
Medical students who received an omega-3 supplement had their anxiety decreased 20%. A double blind clinical trial found fish oil in support of usual treatment for major depressive disorder significantly reduced patients levels of depression.
Similar results have been found in patients with depression where increases in peripheral blood concentrations of the inflammation biomarker CRP were correlated with decreases in connectivity within motivation and reward circuits. These decreases in connectivity were associated with anhedonia which is the inability to feel pleasure.
DHA is a critical omega-3 in the brain that increases connectivity. The images below show the level of brain connectivity in a monkey fed a diet deficient in DHA or sufficient in DHA.
There is less brain connectivity when there is inflammatory omega-6s and CRP in the brain. When you have enough DHA there is increased brain connectivity and decreased CRP. This may explain why omega-3s improve mental health symptoms and help people feel pleasure.
You can learn you actual omega-3 and 6 levels using the Omega Blood Score. Sufficient omega-3 levels may contribute to an improvement in your happiness and mental health.
If you have increased levels of omega-6s such as AA this gives you a strategy and target to lower.
You can order an Omega Blood Score test here.