Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults in the US each year .
And while many different treatments are available for anxiety, from therapy to medication, some people understandably remain searching for a more natural way to ease their symptoms.
One treatment that’s been getting a lot of attention lately is omega 3 – a type of essential fatty acid known for its numerous health benefits, including:
- Enhancing cognitive function
- Reducing inflammation
- Supporting healthy cell membranes
Considering its proven brain-boosting effects, it’s no wonder that people are wondering: can omega 3 help with anxiety?
Yes – there’s some evidence to suggest this. One study found that people who took high doses of omega-3 experienced a reduction in anxiety symptoms .
More research is needed to understand the link between omega-three and anxiety, but the preliminary evidence is promising.
Continue reading as we explore whether omega 3 can help with anxiety, delving deeper into the science behind this potential treatment and what it could mean for those struggling with anxiety disorders.
What is Omega-3 and How Does it Affect The Brain?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat the body can’t make on its own, so we have to get it from our diet. There are three main types of omega-3: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).
Getting a decent amount of Omega-3s from your diet alone is possible since these fatty acids are found in abundance in various foods of plant or animal origin, including:
- Canola oil
- Chia seeds
- Fish (salmon, herring, sardines)
However, many people choose to go down the supplement route for its convenience and higher doses of omega-three. Regardless of which method you choose, omega-three has a plethora of benefits for the brain.
The human brain is mainly made up of fat, and omega 3 is a key component of healthy cell membranes. When cell membranes are healthy, they can function properly and communicate effectively – important for learning, memory, and overall brain health.
Omega 3 has also been shown to reduce inflammation, significantly contributing to cognitive decline . Inflammation can damage brain cells and lead to a decline in cognitive function. By reducing inflammation, omega 3 can help to protect the brain and preserve cognitive function.
What Are the Most Common Signs of Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all feel sometimes. It’s a feeling of unease, worry, or fear. We may feel anxious about an upcoming event, such as a job interview, or about something happening in our lives, such as financial problems. Anxiety can also react to a stressful situation, such as being in danger.
For most people, anxiety is a short-lived and normal response to a stressful situation. But for some people, anxiety can be a long-term problem. It can interfere with your daily life and make it hard to cope with everyday situations.
The most common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling tense or restless
- Irritability and anger
- Nervousness and fear
- A general sense of unease
- Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
You may suffer from an anxiety disorder if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms. However, there are many different anxiety disorders, each with unique symptoms.
If you’re worried that you may have an anxiety disorder, talk to your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and provide you with a diagnosis.
Can Anxiety Be Managed Naturally?
The most common approach to anxiety management is through medication. Medication can be an effective treatment for anxiety, but it’s not always the best option. There are many anxiety medications, each with its risks and benefits.
There are also many natural ways to manage anxiety. Some people find lifestyle changes, such as exercise and relaxation techniques, can help to reduce their anxiety. Others may find that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment.
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that can help you identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to your anxiety. CBT can be an effective treatment for many people with anxiety disorders.
If you’re interested in trying CBT, talk to your doctor. They can refer you to a qualified therapist in your area so you can get started on your treatment.
You can also try some self-help techniques to reduce your anxiety. Many books and online resources can help you learn more about anxiety and how to manage it effectively.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Mood Disorders
If you have higher levels of stress hormones, they will increase your feelings of anxiety, and this can make it hard to function effectively. To reduce your anxiety and maintain good moods, eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is important.
If you’re feeling stressed or have a lot on your mind, you can also try taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement. Doing so can help to reduce your anxiety and improve your mood so you can function more effectively.
That’s not to mention the wealth of other benefits that omega-three fatty acids provide, such as improved joint health, heart health, cognitive function, and more.
Omega-three fatty acids are a great option if you’re looking for a natural way to improve your mental health.
What Dose of Omega 3s is Beneficial?
Research shows that getting an absolute minimum of 250-500mg combined EPA and DHA daily can positively affect mood disorders. However, most people will need to take more than this amount to see benefits.
The best way to get omega-three fatty acids is through your diet, which you can achieve easily by eating foods high in omega-3s, taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement, or both.
A dose of at least 1,000mg of combined EPA and DHA daily is a good place to start if you want to improve your mental health.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about omega-three fatty acids or how they can benefit your mental health. They can help you determine the best dose for your needs and provide you with more information on the potential risks and benefits.
Side Effects of Omega 3 and Other Safety Considerations
In some people, omega 3 may cause side effects such as nausea, bad breath, diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. Talk to your doctor about how you might react before taking an omega 3 supplement or fish oil supplement.
For most people, omega-3 supplements are generally safe. However, they can cause unpleasant side effects, such as:
- Upset stomach
- Fishy taste
If you take omega-3 supplements, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product label. Doing so will help to reduce the risk of side effects and ensure you get the most benefit from the supplements.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
If you’re thinking about taking omega-3 supplements, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you decide if they’re right for you and advise you on the best type and dosage.
Tips for Managing Anxiety and Depression
You can do several things to help manage your anxiety and depression, and you don’t just have to stick to one remedy – you can try a combination of different things to see what works best for you.
Some things you can do to manage your anxiety and depression include:
- Get regular exercise: Exercise can help to reduce stress and improve your mood. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating nutritious foods can help improve your mood and give you the energy you need to get through the day.
- Get enough sleep: Getting enough rest can help to improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
- Talk to someone: Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor can help you work through your anxiety and depression.
- Write it down: Writing down your thoughts can help you to understand your anxiety and depression and can be a way to release your feelings.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, can help to reduce stress and improve your mood.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, it’s vital to seek professional help. Talking to a therapist can help you understand and manage your symptoms. They can also provide you with coping and problem-solving skills. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling.
The Bottom Line on Can Omega 3 Help With Anxiety
Despite studies being in their infancy, the evidence so far suggests that omega-three fatty acids can help to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, your doctor can help determine whether omega-three supplements could be right for you.
However, it’s important to note that even if you are taking a supplement high in omega-3 fatty acids, this doesn’t mean it will be sufficient for everyone experiencing anxiety; everyone responds differently to different foods and supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids boast many health benefits, so giving them a try may be worthwhile – especially if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. The worst that can happen is that they don’t help, but the best-case scenario is that you find a natural way to ease your anxiety or depression symptoms. So, why not give them a shot?