A few words of introduction. EFAs omega 3, 6, 9 and several others of lesser importance are sometimes called an additional vitamin, vitamin F. The body can not synthesize them on its own, so we are in a way forced to provide them with food. In the case of omega 6 it is not a big problem, we even eat too much of it. It is worse with omega 3.
At the beginning, a moment of reflection. In Japan, for about 120 million inhabitants, there are almost 40 000 people over 100 years old, which gives almost 1 centenarian per 1000 inhabitants. In most European countries, there is one per 25 000 inhabitants. In Japan, during the Great Depression, those people who are now 100 years and older ate mainly raw fish and other foods that are very rich in omega 3 acids.
Omega 3 acids and our well-being
These substances play a particularly important role in the brain – it simply is made of fat. If omega 3 is lacking, some areas stop being regenerated and simply disappear. This is especially true for those responsible for mood, which is why there is such a strong correlation between omega deficiency and depression. Therapy requires rebuilding them, which takes long, long months or even years.
There are no particularly characteristic symptoms to say “oh, I don’t have enough omega 3!”. Theoretically, a proper test can be performed, but it costs thousands (cheaper tests offered somewhere do not really show anything). What is more, even such an expensive test is a new technology and is burdened with a high risk of error. Sometimes symptoms such as dry eye syndrome, constant sore throat, joint pain or chronic inflammation appear. Most often, however, we just “feel worse in general” and often the first really visible symptom, but which we do not associate with nutrition, is heart disease or cancer.
Omega 3 fatty acids are very, very slowly built into cell membranes. In one study, it took 2 years for the results to normalize. On the other hand, this same fact means that the effects will linger for a very long time after treatment is completed. In one study, their protective effect lasted for years after supplementation ended!
Omega 3 as a treatment for anxiety
A meta-analysis of clinical trials to date has shown their effectiveness in treating anxiety, but only when used in high enough doses:
In the treatment of neurosis and depression, supplements containing EPA should be used, which means in practice tablets from the pharmacy. Flaxseed oil unfortunately will not work on the brain. Effective doses in clinical trials are about 2000 mg of EPA per day, you need to convert this to the tablets you have, this means that you will have to ingest up to a dozen a day. They should not be taken in one serving, it is better to divide them into several.
In order to accelerate the rebuilding of damaged brain fragments, you can additionally use a source of choline, the best is soy lecithin, in the amount of 10-20 grams per day. The ideal would be to add uridine monophosphate. You should take 250 mg per day, preferably dissolved under the tongue, which greatly increases assimilability. Choline should not be supplemented for more than a few months.
A small comment on omega 6 fatty acids, although not related to neuroses, but can improve health. There is a specific problem with them, a blockage of the metabolic pathway by which our body synthesizes omega 6 gamma linolenic acid from ordinary omega 6 linolenic acid. One reason for this is excess fat in the food – basically all saturated fats (mainly animal fats) block this metabolic pathway. Other causes include insufficient vitamin C, zinc or magnesium in the diet, aging, chronic infections.
All of this can be avoided by taking omega 6 in a form that does not require metabolism: pure gamma linolenic acid, or GLA. This sometimes results in dramatic improvements in health; in one study, patients with terminal prostate cancer extended their lives threefold after starting gigadose GLA supplementation, and strong improvements in health occur in virtually all chronic infections. GLA taken in normal doses does not block the metabolism of omega 3. It can be purchased in health food stores and is called “cold-pressed evening primrose oil”, borage oil can be used as well.
For GLA supplementation, I would advise choosing larger doses than recommended by the manufacturer. Usually less than 0.2 grams / day is recommended (the package that is now in front of me has this amount in 6 tablets), but if you want to have rapid improvement, I would suggest increasing the dosage 2-3 times. In multiple sclerosis, doses of more than 1 gram / day (1 gram of GLA, or 20 grams of oil if it contains 5% GLA) are recommended, which is more than 6 times the amount recommended on packages of popular drugs. This means drinking several tablespoons of oil from the bottle per day (10 to 20 ml to be exact). Probably no one will take my word for it when I say that thanks to supplementation in 40% of cases multiple sclerosis was either stopped or even regressed, nevertheless this was the result of a study that was officially conducted: