The Simple Supplement That Stops Anxiety in its Tracks
Mental health awareness is on the rise and it’s about time! Mood disorders like anxiety are increasing with our busy and stressful lives. Even if you don’t experience anxiety yourself, it’s likely that someone you know and love does. If you are one of the estimated 40 million Americans who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, I hope you know that you are not alone! Anxiety can be an isolating and difficult challenge to manage. The good news is that there are several natural and healthy ways to conquer your anxiety and get back on top.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil supplements contain extracts of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA and DHA) from fish such sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and salmon. It has been recommended widely for cardiovascular, dermatological, and neurological health. It comes in either liquid or capsule form. Not all supplements are created equally, so read on to learn more about how to choose the best supplement.
How Does Fish Oil Prevent Anxiety?
- Balances Neurotransmitters Fish oil improves brain balance by allowing serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) to be absorbed and used more readily. Increased inflammation leads to poor serotonin production. EPA reduces inflammation, allowing more serotonin to be present. DHA allows for more active serotonin receptors, increasing serotonin absorption. Together, these two fatty acids present in fish oil improve the serotonin balance in the brain and lead to less stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Improves Cognition Studies have shown that low levels of DHA can cause small brain size, poor memory, and reduced cognitive abilities. While DHA is readily available in fish, many of us don’t eat nearly enough fish to get adequate levels. In addition to increasing your intake of quality fish, make sure you are getting enough of this crucial essential fatty acid by adding a high quality fish oil supplement to your daily routine.
- Decreases Inflammation Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA, are famous for reducing inflammation. Inflammation is helpful when we are ill or injured, but chronic inflammation causes many health issues including cardiovascular conditions, cancer, and mood disorders. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which decreases inflammation throughout the body. Mood balance is improved while the entire body benefits from the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil.
Choosing a Fish Oil Supplement
- Natural fish oils: These are the easiest to absorb and are about 30% omega-3s and high in vitamins A, D, and sometimes K2. This version is derived mostly from salmon, sardines, and cod liver and often found in liquid form. You can find the brand I like the best below.
- Krill oil: Krill oil is derived from small shrimp-like animals high in omega-3s and the antioxidant astaxanthin. Krill oil is resistant to oxidation and, because krill have a very short lifespan, they accumulate few toxins and don’t require purification. This is another great option and krill oil most often has the correct balance of EPA and DHA.
- Processed fish oils: In processed supplements, the fish oil is purified to remove mercury and PCB’s, and the fats are turned into an ethyl-ester form. This may concentrate the omega-3s, but the ethyl-ester form can be harder to absorb. These are my least favorite choice for patients, so I usually transition patients onto a higher quality supplement if they are using processed fish oil.
Incorporate Fish Oil into Your Wellness Routine
- Dosing: In my practice, I recommend 1-2 grams daily for most of my patients. Start with 1 gram (1000 mg) per day for one week, then increase your dose to 2 grams the following week and thereafter.
- Add Acupuncture: Fish oil supplements are a great way to start to manage your anxiety. But the best results come from a well-rounded approach. I see the most improvement in patients when they pair regular acupuncture treatments with a quality fish oil supplement and improved diet.
- Rework Lifestyle: No action plan of mine would be complete without a little “homework!” Mental health is a huge deal – it takes dedication and self-love to get it just right. Supplements and wellness treatments are amazing, but without the support everyday at home, it’s easy to lose the great momentum we achieve in the clinic. My advice? Develop an anti-anxiety lifestyle plan that works for you. There are a ton of ways you could go about this. Schedule 20 minutes of nighttime yoga in before bed every night, wake up 10 minutes earlier to meditate every morning, make time for a gentle walk after dinner, plan one hour of dedicated “me-time” per week, seek out counseling, or join a support group. Whatever habits you know that help ease your anxiety, make those a daily/weekly priority. If you need help determining a plan of action that suits you, I am more than happy to help you navigate this!
Peace Out (And a Bonus!)
To make life a little easier for you, I’d like to share my favorite fish oil supplement with you. I choose Apex Energetics OmegaCo3 Fish Oil because of it’s amazing quality and expert composition of omega-3 to omega-6. To jumpstart your path to an anxiety-free life, I’d like to offer you 15% off your fish oil order with the code: FISHOILROCKS. You can contact me HERE to order your first bottle.
I’d also like to invite you to schedule an appointment in the office so we can really tackle this anxiety for good. Reach out here to see how acupuncture can fast-track the healing process. Living with anxiety is no tea party – it’s time to replenish yourself to ease your mind.
Hi! I'm Angela
Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Integrative Wellness Consultant and Mood-Gut expert.
I want to hear from you:
Have you tried Fish Oils for anxiety? Did you try any of the tips above? Please let us know! Leave a comment below.