These anti-inflammatory fatty acids are critical to brain health throughout our lives. During pregnancy, omega-3s help foster fetal brain development, contributing to neurotransmitter signaling and the growth of nervous tissue. In adults, omega-3 deficiencies are linked to a range of mental health issues, including depression, ADHD, dementia, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
These fatty acids are found in foods such as cold-water fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, but it can be hard to reach optimum levels unless you’re eating fatty fish (such as salmon or sardines) at least twice a week.
Accordingly, integrative psychiatrist Henry Emmons, MD, believes most of us benefit from supplements that contain several fatty acids from the omega-3 family: alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Of these, DHA and EPA are the most easily metabolized forms of omega-3.
How to Supplement: Seek out a quality fish-oil formula with high concentrations of EPA and DHA (for vegetarians, algal oil is a good option). Adult men need around 1.6 grams of omega-3 daily; adult women need about 1.1 grams.
(For a guide to understanding omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and how they influence your health see “The Omega Balance.”)
This was excerpted from “8 Key Supplements to Boost Your Mental Health — Naturally” which was published in Experience Life.
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