Dr. Weil shares some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and explains if these omega-3 fatty acids can help treat depression.
Omega-3s are one class of essential fatty acids, meaning that we have to have these in our diet, and these are not so easy to get because there aren’t that many dietary resources of them; the best one being oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, so forth. We need these in adequate amounts every day for optimum health and it’s not just physical health, it’s for mental health.
There are two omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA; both are necessary. DHA is the main constituent of cell membranes in the brain and it looks as if, if you’ve got inadequate omega-3s in the diet and not getting enough DHA, it leaves the brain susceptible to all sorts of problems. And it appears that omega-3 deficiency is a significant cause of depression, and it affects, really, all kinds of depressions--bipolar depression, unipolar depression, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder.
So, making sure that you are getting adequate omega-3 intake is a very important way to both prevent and treat depression.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.