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Mental illness is prevalent in virtually every community in the US, and is believed to affect most families. It seems obvious that mental illness at its very worst was behind Monday’s horrible shooting at Virginia Tech. But many of us have loved ones dear to our hearts with chronic, long- or short-term issues, whether or not they’ve been diagnosed with a form of mental illness. For many families, one or more of those forms of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia affect the majority of members.

A television commercial for one of the newer depression medications states that 70% of people in the US taking prescription meds for depression report that they still experience significant depression symptoms. These numbers don’t really bode so well for the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry.

There is sufficient evidence that eating fish frequently, two or three times a week, and consuming the right balance of omega fats gives us a much greater chance of preventing many types of mental illness and improving depressive and manic states. Researchers have found that people that consume fish only occasionally have a greater chance of experiencing the various forms of mental illness than those who eat fish often and those people with no fish consumption have the greatest chances of a mental and emotional imbalance.

There are other important nutritional needs for a healthy functioning brain and nervous system, too, but the minerals and B vitamins, etc mean little when the omega 3 fats that help to maintain the physical integrity of the cells are missing. As with all matters of optimal health, we should eat a wide variety of the whole foods that our ancestors ate.

Numerous studies show that simply adding a high grade fish oil supplement, with or without the appropriate medication, may improve symptoms, including memory and help prevent a relapse. An article from WebMD, Fish Oil Eases Depression, shows us some fascinating info that we should all be aware of for prevention and supporting those loved ones that find themselves feeling blue, manic or otherwise out of emotional balance.

McLean’s Hospital, a well respected psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts has done some cutting edge research on fish oils and improved mental health. Many more studies are currently underway for depression, bi-polar and other mental health conditions. The early results are very promising. Participants in some of the studies showing positive results have used considerably more pharmaceutical high grade fish oil than is suggested on the label of products on our health food store shelves or purchased from holistic healthcare providers.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any type of mental illness and your medication isn’t doing all that you and your doctor desire, speak to her/him (or a naturopath, osteopath or other alternative healthcare provider) about adding fish oil to your program. S/he can help you determine an amount that may be most helpful for the individual’s needs.

One recent meta-study looked at eighteen previously published studies concluded that there was insufficient evidence that fish oil was helpful with depression. Some of these studies are indeed reputable, while others are too small or considered otherwise unreliable.

Studies often lean toward a specific result, even at some of the respected research facilities, depending on who has funded the study and what their objective in doing so might be. As a result, we sometimes find studies using a lesser grade of product, a lower quantity than is needed to produce results or other flaws in methodology.

Isolating EPA (eicosa-pentaenoic acid, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish) or DHA (doeosahexaenoic acid, the other omega-3) may be less effective than using a more complex fish oil product. The research of those people who eat fish often, even large fish prone to higher concentrations of heavy metals, show less mental illness, attention issues and other brain and nervous system disorders. Once again, this points to the idea that the whole is greater than an isolated number of its parts.

If you’re looking for one of the fish oil products considered superior, clean, pure, potent, etc. first please check out my favorite one made by New Chapter from wild, ethically caught Alaskan salmon, WholeMega. This product is amazing for a number of reasons, and it contains the naturally occurring Vitamin D3 and various antioxidants. Other quality fish oil products on the market include Nordic Naturals, Carlson Laboratories, New Chapter Supercritical DHA 100 and Renew Life’s Oil Smart and Fish Smart. If your fish oil tastes ‘fishy’, it is likely rancid. If it’s not on this short list, it is likely of questionable quality, and therefore will probably not provide the desired results. Remember that Quality is Everything!

More soon on this very important topic real soon.

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2 Responses to “Help for Mental Illness is Available Naturally”

  1. on 24 Apr 2007 at 10:31 pm Aaron

    I also recommend Vital Omegas – an RX-grade fish oil that causes zero repeating/upset/burping. Really high quality.

  2. on 25 Apr 2007 at 8:42 am Cindy Hebbard

    Thank you, Aaron. I was not aware of this amazing product. I have just researched them enough to realize that they too provide an excellent fish oil product. There are not many high quality fish oil products out there for folks, so it’s refreshing to have another to suggest! Be well

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