Omega 3’s for Anxiety ?!

This is kind of cool and reinforces what I wrote a couple of posts ago on Omega 3’s, dated August 10th.

I recently saw this article by Dr. Andrew Weil and it’s about the benefits of Omega 3’s and fish oil. Although this may seem like a repeat of what I already wrote, it’s actually an addition. I addressed inflammation in my earlier post, but not anxiety.

Regarding an effective way to treat anxiety, doesn’t it seem like a better choice to make lifestyle changes and consume a substance through what you eat, or by taking a natural supplement, rather than going on high powered drugs that can cause side effects?

The way that anti-anxiety medications work is by slowing down your brain activity. Hello!! How long do you think it’s a good idea to keep THAT up? I bet Homer Simpson’s on them. D’oh!

Some common side effects of anti-anxiety meds or tranquilizers:

  • Drowsiness, lack of energy
  • Clumsiness, slow reflexes
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Depression
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Impaired thinking and judgment
  • Memory loss, forgetfulness
  • Nausea, stomach upset
  • Blurred or double vision  

In addition to the above, and this is important, these kinds of meds tend to be addictive.

Maybe one may need to go on anti-anxiety meds for a short term to get through a really terrible rough spot, but it’s not going to help if this need for medication is a reflection of a chronic inability to deal with life stresses. After all, life is full of stresses and it’s not likely to get less so as we get older. (Sorry).

The first thing any of us should think about is what are diet and lifestyle changes or additions we can make to help us feel better naturally… and then we should try to keep it up so we’ve got our own protective armor on all the time.

At the end of his article, Dr. Weil mentions EPA and DHA, which if you read my post on Omega 3’s, you now know what they are and why they’re important.

So…. if you’re feeling stressed, anxious and wiped out….and want to be sure you’re fighting inflammation at the same time…maybe you should consider staying away from anxiety medications, Red Bull and the quadruple shots of espresso (you know who you are!) and ask yourself if you’re eating quality cold water fish, taking your fish oil supplement, exercising (so important), staying away from too much caffeine and junk food and getting enough rest. Even if you can’t get enough sleep, laying down and just being quiet for 1/2 hour in the afternoon can help.

I went through a recent 10 day phase (for lack of a better thing to call it) where I couldn’t sleep and was kind of stressed out. Guess what? I WAS drinking too much caffeine (felt like I needed it), having too many glasses of wine at night, not exercising, and I kept forgetting to take my fish oil and a few other supportive supplements. So don’t think I’m judging…. we all do this sometimes.

My son told me recently about someone he knows who is having a terrible time sleeping and finally went to the doctor who prescribed some kind of tranquilizer, which helped a little, but not enough.  As he was saying this, my son noticed he was drinking 5 Hour Energy and a Vodka with Red Bull. Apparently he has a case of Red Bull in his office too, and drinks it on a regular basis. My son asked him if he thought that maybe that could be contributing to the guy’s inability to sleep. The thought had never occurred to the guy.

Really, sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. The visual I get with this is that of a rider on a horse, with the rider whipping the horse to keep running, even as the horse is exhausted. Except in this case, we’re both the rider and the horse, and we’re whipping ourselves to keep going.

I know, we often don’t have a choice but to keep going…. but can’t we find some better ways to support ourselves than by totally messing with our adrenal glands, our blood sugar, and the natural rhythms of our bodies?

If this gets you all up in arms and you’re going to defend your precious Red Bull to me, go back and read my post dated April 15th titled “Goodbyes, Stress and Your Adrenal Glands” and then hold a mirror up to your face. (I’m mean, aren’t I?)

Also, you might want to check out the video I posted last November 8th titled “Sad, but True”. It’s funny, and I like the Billy Joel song, but there’s a real serious message there… bottom line, we’re addicted to drugs, overly dependent on doctors, and don’t know how to care for ourselves very well. We don’t take responsibility.

Soooo….

if you haven’t found a good quality fish oil, I mentioned before that I think that Carlson’s Lemon Flavored Cod Liver Oil tastes just fine and is a good, readily available source. That line has capsules as well if you just can’t bring yourself to take a teaspoonful.

See below for Dr. Weil’s comments…

Omega 3’s Reduce Anxiety, Inflammation… by Dr. Andrew Weil

Fish oil from salmon and other cold-water species is a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, and according to a new study, can help reduce both inflammation and anxiety. A research team from Ohio State University reported that daily doses of omega-3 supplements, providing about four to five times the amount of fish oil found in a daily serving of salmon, reduced anxiety among a group of medical students. The original aim of the study was to determine whether omega-3s would bring about a reduction in stress levels, but due to a change in the medical school curriculum, the 68 students participating weren’t as stressed out during their exam period as had been expected. Earlier studies by the same investigators had shown that stress related to exams lowered students’ immune status. In the new study, the team found that the 34 students who received the omega-3s were 20 percent less anxious than were the 34 who were given a placebo. The investigators also saw a 14 percent reduction in inflammation-promoting compounds called cytokines in the students who took omega-3s. Inflammation can foster diseases ranging from arthritis to cancer and heart disease. The researchers noted that if taking omega-3s brings about positive changes in young med school students, seniors and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more. The study was published online on July 19, 2011 by the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

My take? We’ve known for some time that omega-3s help tone down inflammation, and may help reduce the risk and symptoms of a number of disorders influenced by inflammation. We also know that people with memory loss, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may benefit from omega-3s, so it makes sense that these fats would also help reduce anxiety. To get adequate omega-3s, I recommend eating oily fleshed, wild-caught, cold water fish two to three times per week. If you use fish oil capsules, take two grams daily of a brand that contains both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

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This entry was posted in A Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle, Exercise, Foundations of Health, Pharmaceuticals and Supplements, Self-sufficiency (You Can Do It!), Videos. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Omega 3’s for Anxiety ?!

  1. Lisa Chick says:

    Love this! My sister recommended the orange-flavored carlsen’s fish oil to me, and I think it’s even less fishy than the lemon…

  2. Although I kind of like the Carlson’s Lemon flavored, I also have a brand of emulsified fish oil that tastes like lemon meringue..Lisa! I’m seriously not kidding! I could see people having it as dessert. hahahaha. It has xylitol in it, which is supposed to be a safe artificial sweetener.
    I’ll give the orange flavored a try….

  3. Megan says:

    What an informative and interesting article, Sue. I’ll have to put your good advice to work. For now, I better go…it’s past my bedtime, and my coffee’s cold!

  4. haha Megan. No more quadruple espressos for you!??

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