Anxiety is the largest neurological disorder in the United States with nearly 20 percent of Americans suffering from it and it is also linked to other mental disorders, such as depression. Doctors usually prescribe pharmaceutical interventions to treat psychological disorders, but many patients are worried about the side effects, dependence, and cost. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) present in fish oils could be the solution to this concern. They are present in brain membranes and may “interfere with and possibly control several neurobiological processes, such as neurotransmitter systems, neuroplasticity, and inflammation." There is a wide range of health benefits tied to omega-3 PUFAs and more is becoming unveiled with further research.
Past studies have tested Omega-3s potential to help in the treatment of psychiatric conditions and found a relationship between PUFA levels and anxiety. One study found that people with anxiety disorders have lower levels of circulating omega-3 PUFAs. Another study showed that omega-3 supplements reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students during exams. A researcher states to Medical News Today, “This review indicates that omega-3 PUFAs might help to reduce the symptoms of clinical anxiety. Further well-designed studies are needed in populations in whom anxiety is the main symptom." The positive effects of omega-3 consumption were particularly significant for people who had clinical diagnoses of psychiatric conditions. Before omega-3s are brought into wider use, the researchers feel that more research should is needed to determine exactly how these fatty acids might impact psychiatric symptoms.
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