Fish oil is critical to brain health. Our brains consist of over fifty percent fat and they require healthy fat to be healthy. Unfortunately, the western diet has included far too little of the fat in fish oil. If we do not eat enough of the healthy fat in fish oil, we may battle depression. With research released each week on the use of fish for and depression, consumers need to know: How much fish oil should I take for depression?
In a 2006 article “Healthy Intakes of N-3 and N-6 Fatty Acids,” researchers found that Americans should take 3 1/2 grams of EPA and DHA every day to reduce the probability of heart disease, stroke, and depression. EPA and DHA are long-chain Omega 3 fats found in fish oil. Andrew Stoll, Ph.D., Harvard researcher on Omega 3 and depression recommends 4 grams of EPA every day for those suffering from depression. The recommendation of 4 grams of EPA every day is quite a bit but essential to refill what has been missing in our diet.
EPA and DHA are specific long chain fatty acids found most commonly in fatty fish. That is why fish oil is the preferred source of these fats. To a lesser degree, these fatty acids are found in eggs enriched with Omega 3 and grass fed beef and lamb. There is no EPA in plant-based sources of Omega 3 fats such as flax seed or hemp seed. However these vegetarian forms of fat may be converted by our own bodies into the longer chain EPA. Each of us does not make this conversion efficiently which makes the fat in fish the preferred form.
One possibility for reaching the required amount of 3-4 grams of EPA and DHA every day is to eat more fatty fish. One 3-ounce serving of a seafood such as tuna may have 1-3 grams of EPA and could meet your fish oil daily requirement.
Most people will meet their requirement with a fish oil supplement. While you shop for a supplement, be sure that you read the label carefully. The front of the bottle may list “1000 mg of fish oil.” 1000 mg is one gram of fish oil or Omega 3. Looking more carefully, you may notice that the supplement has only 120 milligrams of EPA. You would need about thirty doses to meet the recommended dose of fish oil for depression. Not only is that product not cost-effective, but it is hard to imagine swallowing that much fish oil. Look at the label in detail and shoot for 4 grams of EPA and DHA from fish oil each day. If it is not clear from looking at the label, do ask for help in a local store. It is important that you take enough of this oil is you are going to see an impact.