Eating fish on a regular basis has been linked to better heart health and a lower risk of heart-related diseases. That is why doctors recommend that most people consume fish, which is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, twice a week. However, whereas the cardiovascular benefits of increased omega-3 intake are widely established, nothing is known about the potential mental health impacts.
According to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, omega-3 may alter mood, personality, and behavior. The findings, presented at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Meeting, reveal that those with lower blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are more likely to have mild or severe depression, a pessimistic perspective, and be more impulsive.
The researchers examined the quantities of omega-3 fatty acids in the subjects’ blood and compared this information to their results on three depression, impulsivity, and personality exams. The level of omega-3 in the blood reflects the amount of this fatty acid consumed through diet. Participants maintained their usual food patterns throughout the trial.
While prior studies have connected low omega-3 levels to clinically important disorders such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder, this study is the first to uncover these links in healthy adults, according to researcher Sarah Conklin. “This study paves the way for future research into the effects of increasing omega-3 intake, whether through foods like omega-3-rich salmon or fish oil supplements, on people’s mood,” she noted.