Depression will affect one of five of us at some point in our lives. Low moods, low energy and an inability to feel “happy”. While taking action may be the last thing you feel like doing during this period of depression, there are plenty other steps you can take to lift your mood. Let’s first start with our most important part of our everyday lives, our diet.
HOW CAN A DIET RICH IN FISH OIL HELP WITH DEPRESSION?
While no food will instantly cure depression, scientific evidence shows that supplementing your diet with Omega 3s and Vitamin D is effective in aiding depression, whether or not you decide to take antidepressants. Our Extra Virgin Fish Oil from Northern Norway contains the most important fatty acids for brain function, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are components of cell membranes and have powerful anti-inflammatory functions not only for the brain but also within the body. To work out the link between Omega 3 fish oil and depression, we need to look at the role it plays in the brain. Just as our bones need calcium, our brain relies on the DHA in Omega 3 to form all of its structural material. In fact, it’s one of the basic building blocks of the entire nervous system. Cell membranes and neurons are made up of fatty acids and they are also crucial for keeping brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin moving along smoothly. But our bodies cannot produce this fat on their own. We can get it only from very specific parts of our diets, such as oily fish and fish oil supplements.
CAN THE BODY MAKE EPA AND DHA LIKE OTHER NUTRIENTS?
The body can make EPA and DHA out of another omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). However, the body converts less than 10% of the amount of ALA consumed into EPA and DHA. Leaving the body deficient. ALA is found in allot of healthy food sources, such as nuts and seeds. For example, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. This is why it is recommended to take Fish oil directly on a daily basis, especially if you don’t eat much fish or like fish at all. Most people do not consume the recommended amounts of fish, and this is the main reason why many people likely fall short of getting enough EPA and DHA in their diets. The brain needs both to function properly and you can only get them from the food you eat. DHA primarily plays a role in developing neurons, while EPA is crucial for chemical signaling between brain cells and can influence levels of feel-good serotonin.
VITAMIN D'S CONNECTION TO DEPRESSION
Studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. Researchers behind a 2013 meta-analysis noticed that study participants with depression also had low Vitamin D levels. The same analysis found that, statistically, people with low Vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression. In 2010 the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 7,970 non-insitutionalized Americans from age 15-39 at a signigicantly higher risk of depression if they were Vitamin D deficient. A similar study in the Netherlands showed similar results with adults from age 65 to 95. Researchers believe that because Vitamin D is important to brain function, insufficient nutrient levels may play a role in depression and other mental illnesses. An earlier 2005 study identified Vitamin D receptors in the same areas of the brain associated with depression.
Several studies show a significant relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and late-life depression in northern latitudes. In further assessment of an older population-based cohort living at northern latitudes, a moderate inverse relationship between Vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms was observed among both genders. Older men with low Vitamin D levels were twice as likely to be depressed at the time of the assessment compared with similarly aged men whose Vitamin D blood levels were adequate, even after controlling for factors such as hypertension and diabetes, which may contribute to depression as well.
HOW MUCH OF FISH OIL DO WE NEED?
While there are no official guidelines when it comes to the correct fish oil dosage for depression and anxiety, studies have shown that high doses of Omega 3, from 200 to 2,200mg per day, can reduce symptoms of depression. And if you were looking to raise your mood, a supplement with higher amounts of EPA than DHA may be best.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS FOR DEPRESSION?
The best fish oil supplements for depression are ones that are made using oily fish. While there are plant-based sources of the Omega 3 ALA, research shows your body doesn’t efficiently convert ALA into EPA or DHA. Our Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil has raw and real Omega 3s and is packed with unprocessed nonsynthetic Vitamin D3. At Rosita Real Foods™ we do things differently. Our Extra Virgin Fish Oil is obtained from sustainably harvested fish living in the wild, pure waters of the ancient Norwegian Fjords. The handcrafted extraction process we use is an age-old method that has roots all the way back to the Viking era. Rosita Real Foods™ cod liver oil is totally unrefined, unprocessed, never heated and never exposed to chemicals. It is the freshest, rawest and most authentic cod liver oil that we know, supplying ‘wild & raw’ nutrients at the levels nature intended. A genuine raw superfood! Our cod liver oil is also free of hazardous levels of contaminants.