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Fish Oil and Anxiety

I am a naturopathic physician with nearly 20 years of experience developing breakthrough nutritional products.I also have extensive television and radio experience and have lectured widely to health professionals, the military and the public on all aspects of natural health.

Dr Myers, an expert who holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine

Stephen Fry in my surgery during the making of the BBC TV program

Me with Lord Bragg, accepting my "Champion of the Year" award

After graduating, I was recognised as being the 'best young neurosurgeon in Britain'

Stress from ordinary life seems inevitable with the way society functions. Jobs seem to have more responsibilities with less time in which to complete them. That said, anxiety from this kind of living is to be expected, but for some, it’s an everyday occurrence – regardless of their job situation. For those that have to deal with anxiety, each day can seem like a burden and a mountainous task to overcome. But that does not mean the situation is hopeless in any way.

What is Anxiety?

People define anxiety in many ways. For some, it’s an emotional response to stress that manifests itself with feelings of sadness, frustration and anger. These responses can cause the person suffering to lash out at others to be unable to communicate in a productive manner. These behaviours cause the person to create a cycle in which their stress leads to these reactions and those reactions lead to stress. For others, anxiety is more of a physical reaction to stressors. Those with panic disorders or anxiety disorders can have panic or anxiety attacks in which the body responds to stress by over-producing adrenaline, which then causes the body’s functions to speed up. In classic fight or flight response, the body can exhibit symptoms like heart palpitations and sweating as well as difficulties with breathing as well as chest pain. Others report a sensation of being out of control of their bodies, which others claim that they feel a sense of impending doom.

However it is defined and experienced, anxiety creates a cycle of troubles for the person affected. Once the person is affected, they begin to worry about becoming anxious again, which only increases their chances of becoming anxious again. To help stop this cycle, a person can do a number of things to help.

Help for Anxiety

Since anxiety is different for everyone, the ways in which it is treated also vary. For example, those that have mild anxiety disorders might simply need to adjust their diet and exercise more to help calm the body down. Those with severe anxiety might be instructed to take a prescription medication to help calm the body’s physical responses down, while others might need to attend therapy to help them learn to deal with situations in which they become anxious.

The problem today is that with all of the billions of dollars spent on the creation and research on anxiety medication, the price of being calm has risen dramatically. A bottle of the latest anti-anxiety medication can cost hundreds of dollars – hundreds of dollars that many people don’t have. To help combat this problem and to possibly tap into the body’s own natural ability to heal itself, the use of supplements like fish oil are being considered.

Why Use Fish Oil?

According to studies done at Harvard Medical by Dr. Stoll, it’s become increasingly apparent that nutrition does affect the way that brain works. Because the essential fatty acids in fish oil help the body transmit messages to the brain, it makes sense that if the nervous system were functioning more efficiently, it might be able to counteract the stimuli that are causing the anxiety reaction.

The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil are also being studied extensively to see how they might affect a person suffering from anxiety. If the body is unable to produce those high levels of adrenaline, the person will not feel as anxious and be able to stop the cycle of up and down with their stressful feelings.

How to Add Fish Oil to Your Life

If you are suffering from mild anxiety, you can find fish oil supplements in a number of local grocers as well as on internet drugstore sites. These pills come in a variety of formulations and dosages as well as in simply bottles of fish oil that you can take in a spoon. It’s essential that you find a fish oil that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids as that will give you an indication of just how helpful the supplement will be.

But you can also find fish oil in oily fishes like mackerel and salmon. These larger fish contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, but need to be limited to only one or two servings per week.

What You Need to Know

Many medical websites have also talked about the use of Omega 6 fatty acids in the diet to help with health concerns. But these nutrients come from plant based sources, which are fine, but may not provide all of the health protection that fish oil can. Note that there are supplements available that contain both, if you’re interested in making sure you are getting a wide spectrum of nutrients.

Conclusion

The addition of fish oil to the diet in a supplement routine can help towards decreasing the overall anxiety in a person’s life. And with lifestyle changes, it can help a person begin to feel like normal again.

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