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Fish Oil: Fish Oil fights Depression

Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

Clinical depression is a disabling condition in which life becomes a hopeless, joyless morass. One loses pleasure in things that once brought enjoyment and any motivation for the future, even for the next day, evaporates.  Depression should be taken as seriously as the diagnosis of cancer or a heart attack.

Omega-3 in fish

Many studies have confirmed that getting optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids is essential in fighting depression. The richest dietary source of two essential omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA and DHA is in cold water fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon and mackerel. Population studies have shown that the more fish a country eats the lower is the incidence of depression. Of special interest was the finding that Japan with its high consumption of fish, has the lowest rate of depression while New Zealand has the world’s highest rate – some 50 times higher than Japan. In Greenland, the Eskimos, who consume about 7 to 14 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids, experience virtually no depression even though their living conditions must be the most depressing in the world – they only see the sun for an hour or two a day in the winter months!

Good fish bad fish

Since we have contaminated the world's oceans with mercury, dioxins and PCBs, eating large amounts of fish to obtain EPA and DHA is no longer recommended. For this reason it is advisable to rather take a high quality fish oil daily, either as a liquid or in capsule form, to experience the amazing benefits that these omega-3 fats provide. I do not recommend salmon oil capsules since these days most of the salmon is farmed and often fed vegetable matter which causes their oils to also contain the inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. Daily supplements of pharmaceutical grade fish oils (NOT cod liver oil) have been found to improve symptoms of depression even in patients taking antidepressants. In addition, fish oils have been shown to improve memory and concentration and help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Bipolar disorder

Previously known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating periods of abnormally elevated mood (mania) and depressive episodes, with periods of normal mood in between. Trials done on patients with this disorder, using high doses of 5 g of fish oil daily, have achieved amazing results in 6 months or less with some experiencing a reduction in depression of 50% or more after just one month.
Sixty percent of our brain is composed of fat, half of which is DHA. Our body can't make it, and if we don't supply it, it stands to reason that we may suffer neurological complications.

Postnatal depression

There is much evidence that omega-3 deficiency may play a role in postpartum depression as well. The developing foetus and newborn require high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and receive them through the placenta and breast milk, respectively, putting the mother at risk of depletion. Low levels of omega-3 in her brain and body may put her at risk for depression and possibly other disorders, making supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding highly recommendable.

Pharmaceutical grade

However the purity of the oil is of utmost importance. I am so passionate about fish oil that I was determined to source the best and I have been importing pharmaceutical grade fish oil from Canada for a number of years now. Each batch of  See Yourself WellTM  fish oil achieves a five star rating by IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards). Only anchovies fished from the South Pacific seas are used, as these contain fewer contaminants than the larger fish such as salmon and tuna. The oil is molecularly distilled to remove all traces of contaminants.

For a list of research articles documenting how fish oil can help with depression visit:



Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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