The importance of omega-3 fatty acids for physical health, especially heart health, is now well recognized. But did you know that fish also has mental health benefits? New studies are looking at the connections between the omega 3 acids and positive effects on mental health issues like: anxiety and depression. Let’s take a closer look at the possible connections between making fish a regular part of your diet and the impact on mental health issues.

US Mental Health Statistics

Salmon and Asparagus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 10% of Americans are battling some type of depression. Forty percent of those have major depression.1 Another 2.6% of Americans are living with bipolar disorder, and 1.1% have schizophrenia. Many different research studies suggests depression rates have risen as our intake of omega-3s has fallen over the past 50 to 100 years. Here are two reports on the promising possibilities of fish and mental health benefits.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Lowers Anxiety and Inflammation

Psychology Today published a report showing that Omega 3 fatty acids play a huge role in brain health and neurocommunication. In a randomized controlled trial they examined how Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students. Epidemiological data and observational studies have shown higher fish or DHA and EPA intake is associated with lower incidence of depressive disorders, both in non-psychiatrically ill and psychiatrically ill populations.

Promising Evidence of Fish Treating Depression

Mental Health America reports that the “prevalence of depression in a society is inversely related to that society’s consumption of fish: the more that people eat fish, the healthier the population, both physically and mentally.”  But studies are split when it comes to proving a definitive link between an individual’s consumption of omega-3s and lowered depression. All of the eight sources that discuss omega-3s acknowledge that there is promising evidence for omega-3s in the treatment of depression. More study will hopefully show the connection.