Proper nutrition may not be a magic bullet for every problem. But it is a key component to most of them. And that’s particularly true for mood swings.
And I’m not just talking about “hangry” episodes or 3 p.m. slumps, either. Believe it or not, research shows that even serious conditions like bipolar disorder (BPD) can respond to dietary changes.
Let’s take a look…
Good fats, good mood
The study looked at the benefits of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids in patients receiving treatment for BPD. And guess what?
It delivered significant symptom relief compared to a diet featuring the usual levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the typical American diet (where there are 19 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats).
In this study, the dietary intervention group filled up on fatty fish like salmon and tuna, while the control group consumed less fatty options like white fish.
The intervention group also used different cooking oils—namely a monounsaturated-fatty-acid-rich (MUFAs) blend of olive and macadamia nut oil. And, well… can I just rest my case right here and now?
At last, someone else is using their brain and focusing on MUFAs. And macadamia nut oil is the richest source of these healthy fats, which is why it has always been my top choice.
Obviously, I didn’t pull that recommendation out of thin air. The science on the subject is crystal clear…I just somehow managed to embrace it decades before anybody else did.
But, I digress. Back to the study…
After just 12 weeks, the patients who boosted their intake of these good fats saw an increase in energy along with significant reductions in mood swings, irritability, and pain. And is anyone really surprised?
Our brains are mostly fat. So of course they require fat to keep running! And fatty acids help to form brain cell membranes and signaling molecules, which ultimately mediate both the immune system and inflammatory responses.
A simple prescription
I’ve discussed this here before, but to recap: Omega-6 fatty acids fuel inflammation. Whereas omega-3 fatty acids—and specifically, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—help to fight it.
This makes omega-3 supplementation handy against a whole host of conditions—not just the usual suspects, like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, but also against a number of psychiatric disorders, including BPD.
In fact, this study’s authors decided to zero in on fatty acids because, biologically, they do a lot of the same things that bipolar medications do. (Research has shown them to be effective against issues like migraines, which have a lot in common with BPD, too.)
Of course, they also felt it necessary to point out that this fatty-acid-rich diet was designed for a very specific purpose and that it isn’t necessarily good for everyone. Which, frankly, is sheer idiocy.
Even if omega-3s didn’t offer a staggering range of benefits against inflammatory conditions of every variety, we could all still benefit from more stable moods. Especially given today’s current state of affairs.
As it stands, some 70 percent of all Americans are taking a medication that affects their brain. And as I recently shared, the coronavirus pandemic has only made the problem worse.
Those of us in nutritional medicine have always known that fatty acids are crucial to brain health. (Believe me, it’s no coincidence that Prozac® rose to prominence at the height of the low-fat era.)
So, at the end of the day, my recommendation here is simple: Boost omega-3s (eating more fatty fish is great, but I also recommend supplementing with 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA daily) and slash omega-6s (which you’ll find in popular vegetable oils and packaged foods).
Because really, you have nothing to lose. And clinically proven peace of mind to gain.
P.S. Anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness are nothing new for Americans—even before the age of coronavirus. But let me be clear: You don’t need to lean on risky drugs to carry you through. There are plenty of natural approaches to improving your mood, and supplementing with fish oil is just one of them. To learn about another top recommendation of mine, check out the June 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“A safer way to boost your mood and protect your mental health”). Not yet a subscriber? Now’s the perfect time to get started.
“Dietary Intervention Cuts Mood Swings, Other Bipolar Symptoms.” Medscape Medical News, 06/01/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/931499)