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The link between omega 3 and mental health

Did you know omega 3 levels can directly impact the risk of developing mental health issues? 💦 I came across this longitudinal study recently, which looked at omega 3 levels, omega 6 levels, and risk of mental illness in over 3800 teenagers/ young adults 💦It found that 17 year olds with low DHA levels (a type of omega 3) were over 40% more likely to develop psychosis by age 24 💦A low ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 at age 24 was also linked with a higher rate of anxiety disorder, depression, and schizophrenia 💦Previous studies have shown that low omega 3 levels are linked with many other conditions including adhd, autism, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and even alzheimers 💦Omega 3 and omega 6 fats are both a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), but omega 3 are considered 'anti inflammatory' while omega 6 are :pro inflammatory' 💦They are both essential, but the ratio is important - Western diets often have an omega 6:omega 3 ratio of around 12:1, when it should be closer to 4:1. A high ratio is thought to promote inflammation, which is linked to poor mental and neurological health 💦Omega contains both EPA and DHA. DHA is part of neuronal (brain) cell walls, is involved in chemical signalling, immune modulation, protection from oxidative damage, and promotes brain and synapse growth. 💦The best way to get a healthy omega 3:omega 6 ratio, is to increase food sources of omega 3,and limit dietary omega 6 intake 💦Good plant sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, hemp seeds, linseed, and walnut (these contain ALA, which the body converts to DHA). Marine algae supplements are also a good renewable source. Many people cannot adequately convert ALA to enough DHA though, so I usually suggest if you do not eat fish, then a marine algae DHA supplement is a good idea If you eat fish, then aim for 2-3 servings/week of oily fish (this is high in omega 3) 💦The main sources of omega 6 are processed seed oils ie grapeseed, sunflower, corn, soybean, walnut oil. These are often found in most processed foods. Avoiding high omega 6 oils and highly processed foods is the best way to reduce levels. Olive oil is fine 💦By increasing omega 3 intake, and reducing omega 6, you can achieve a much healthier balance, with wide-ranging benefits to health :-) How to get enough omega 3 on a plant based diet : Original paper here

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