I am different from most psychologists in having a biochemistry background. With this, I have worked professionally in natural supplement research and education since 1997. One of the most well researched and widely accepted natural supplements for mental health are the omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are fats that our cells need for proper functioning and fats that we need to get through the diet (or supplements). Our brain cells in particular need lots of fat. Brain cell membranes have the highest percentage of fatty acids of any cells in the body. The human brain is 60% fat.
An omega-3 essential fatty acid which our brains need for optimal functioning is DHA. The primary producers of DHA in our world are the algae. Fish eat algae and for this reason become rich in DHA. DHA is also found in grass, and wild or grass-fed meats. Infants receive DHA in their mother’s breast milk (levels dependent on dietary intake by mom).
Listed below are specific dietary sources and the vitamin and mineral cofactors needed for enzymatic conversions in the body. Preformed DHA is an important consideration as there may be limits in EFA metabolism, and the extent of conversion of ALA and EPA to DHA may be small.
It is generally recommended to eat 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week (or 1-2 grams/day of fish oil supplement) for basic wellness. DHA is important biochemical support for both mood and cognition. DHA supplementation has proven to be a safe and effective part of treatment plan for many mental health conditions, including ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia.
omega-3 fatty acids
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) FLAXSEEDS, WALNUTS, HEMP OIL
==> (vitamin B6, Mg, Zn, vit. C, niacin)
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) ALGAE, FISH
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) WILD HERRING, SARDINES, MACKEREL, ANCHOVIES, SALMON, HALIBUT, FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS, ALGAE SUPPLEMENTS, GRASS-FED MEATS, EGGS FROM GRASS-EATING CHICKENS