Omegas 3 6 & 9 are all important for mental health. Most people get too much of certain omega’s and not enough of the others.
Omega imbalances have been associated with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder ADHD and dementia.
One of the most important omegas for mental functioning and brain health are the omega 3’s. But be advised not everyone suffering a mental condition is suited for this type of fatty acid diet.
Omega 3’s are fatty acids that are found in foods. The most common source of fatty acids are fish – mackerel, salmon etc. You can find them in dietary supplement form as fish oil supplements. You can also find omega 3’s in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil supplements.
There are three main omega 3 fatty acids. They are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are found in fish oil, while ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.
Some ALA can get broken down into EPA and DHA.
People who get more omega 3’s, tend to have a slower decline in brain function in old age. Omega 3 fatty acids may also help improve memory in older people.
You need all of these omega 3’s daily for optimal mental health. You do not need to over due it, 250 mg – 500 mg is appropriate for the average person. This is more preventative especially for conditions like depression, ADHD and to prevent mental decline. If you already have an onset of conditions, you may benefit from a higher dosage.
There are also marine sources of Omega 3 from algae oil. This is a go to for vegertarians and vegan as it provides more value of omega’s than the leading plant ALA’s.
Omega 6 is good for your overall health as long as it’s in good proportion to your other omega’s. You can find it in foods like soybean’s, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
Evening primrose oil also contains omega-6 essential fatty acid. This is called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It is believed to be the active ingredient in this oil. Evening primrose oil has been studied in a wide variety of conditions including mental health conditions.
Omega 6 can be beneficial for those suffering with pyrrole disorder as well.
A side note is that people with pyrrole disorder tend to worsen if given fish oils, or any EPA and DHA. This is
because of poor processing of arachidonic acid.
Oleic acid is the most common omega-9 fatty acid and it is the most common monounsaturated fatty acid found in most diets. Some foods that contain omega 9’s are olive oil and avocado oil. Our bodies can produce omega 9’s naturally on their own, so supplementation may not be necessary.