Omega-3 and mental health


Mental wellbeing (how a person feels and how well him/her can cope with day-to-day life) is a key component of optimal health, while mental disorders (which affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior) may have consequences on someone’s ability to relate to others and to function each day.

Among the factors affecting the mental health (genetics, stress, diet, sedentary lifestyle, drugs, and other environmental factors), dietary factors are important: deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin B6 and B12, niacin and vitamin D are related with problems in brain function; on the contrary, dietary patterns including these elements are known to be effective strategies to prevent mental disorders.

Omega-3’s action on brain (and retina) is both structural and functional, and the mechanisms underlying their beneficial effects include regulations of: integrity and fluidity of cell membrane, axons and dendrites growth (projections of the neuron that propagate the stimulation from one neuron to other neurons), neurotransmitters, neuronal survival, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. That’s nothing!

In general, 1 g daily intake of EPA and DHA is recommended.




Lim SY, Kim EJ, Kim A et al. Nutritional Factors Affecting Mental Health. Clin Nutr Res. 2016 Jul;5(3):143-52. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2016.5.3.143. Epub 2016 Jul 26.