Omega-3 Fatty Acids as Anti-Inflammatory Psychotropic Agents

Omega-3 fatty acids share a common mechanism of action with many current pharmacological psychotropic agents that are used to treat depression. In this regard, omega-3 fatty acids can be thought of as anti-inflammatory psychotropic agents. This means that they can affect the function of the brain, because they act as anti-inflammatory agents that alter neurochemical pathways in the central nervous system. This could be the mechanism of action of some of the most modern pharmacological antidepressant drugs including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This role in the brain, explains the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in mental health. Evidence suggests that there is also an increase in neuroplasticity with consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Populations and individuals with high intakes of fish have lower risks of developing mood disorders, and this may be because the oils from cold water fish are high in omega-3 fats. Increasing fish intake can therefore be pivotal in optimising mental health.

omega-3 fatty acids depression anxiety

When it is said that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to mental health care should be taken to emphasis that they will only be beneficial if a deficiency of dietary omega-3 fatty acids exists. In reality, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids to cause beneficial changes in mental health is as a result of correcting a deficiency that exists. Those that benefit from omega-3 fatty acids are therefore experiencing detrimental mental health effects from an unbalanced diet and the omega-3 fatty acids are taking them back to a situation of health. Many people are unaware they have a deficient intake of such an important nutrient. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

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Su, K. P., Matsuoka, Y. and Pae, C. U. 2015. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in prevention of mood and anxiety disorders. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. 13(2): 129

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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