OMEGA-3 LUL Fatty Acids
The Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy, polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) part of any healthy diet. The two significant components of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Fatty acids are the building blocks that our body uses to make hormones, increase vitamin absorption, and promote healthy cholesterol, energy production, mood (1), immune system, and more.
Fats are essential, meaning they must be obtained through diet because the body cannot synthesize them independently. Because it must be consumed, your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Omega-3s will vary based on what you eat. The most common source is fish (fish oils, anyone?!), like salmon, trout, and mackerel. If fish isn't a regular part of your diet, consider taking a fish oil supplement.
Fish isn't the only source, though. Nuts and seeds (e.g., chia, hemp, flax seeds, walnuts), eggs (from grass and other plant-fed chickens), soybeans, and flaxseed oil. Those with a vegan or vegetarian diet that wish to supplement with omega-3s can find micro-algae products that are widely available. The cycle: algae are what krill consume, and krill are then eaten by larger fish, etc., which is commonly found in healthy diets, becomes the source of omega-3s for many.
Make sure to review the amount of essential fatty acids a product has. Just because it's a fish oil product doesn't mean it has the right amount equivalent to your dietary needs. The FDA recommends no more than 3G per day and no more than 2G from nutritional supplements. A reminder that supplementation is based on your diet.
In closing, I want to talk a little more about the relationship between depression/brain fog and Omega 3s. My diet is a little strict, so I rely on supps entirely to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA). There are plenty of instances where I'll forget to take them or didn't order more, etc. It's very noticeable for me as I find myself in a depressive mood with poor memory recall. This corrects itself shortly after I get back on track.
To show how fast things can work, let's take a look at a study that took 20 unipolar patients with recurring depression and put them on a daily dosing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) regimen. Significant changes of lowered depression were noticed by the third week. There were also a group of twelve bipolar adults, eight of which had "achieved a 50% or greater reduction in Hamilton depression (Ham-D) scores within 1 month." (3)
I talk about taking care of the little things often. This is certainly one of them. If you're struggling out there mentally or physically, you should see your physician. Keep in mind there are things you can take care of (ensuring healthy diet, exercise, etc) that may seem trivial, but they *can* have a a profound impact on your mood, level of focus, memory, etc.
This information is for your knowledge and will not replace advice or directives from your physician. Omega-3s can interfere or interact with your medications; therefore, never use supplements without approval from your healthcare provider.
(1) U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Insitute of Health; "Efficacy of Omega-3 in Depression: A Meta-Analysis," August 2019
(2) U.S. Food and Drug Administration; "FDA Announces Qualified Health Claims for Omega-3 Fatty Acids;" September 2004
(3) National Library of Medicine; "Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Depression; A Review of Three Studies;" Summer 2009