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Eat Fish, Be Happy

For years, scientists have known that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart; in fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fatty fish per week to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. New research is showing that omega-3s do more than protect the heart; they may also put you in a better mood.

In a paper delivered at a recent meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, scientists took blood samples of 106 people who had no history of depression or any other diagnosed mood disorder. Overall, subjects with low blood levels of omega-3s scored worse on tests designed to assess mood, personality and behavior than those with high levels of omega-3s. People with low levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were more likely to report symptoms of mild to moderate depression or be in a negative mood, while low levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) were associated with higher levels of impulsive behavior.

High levels of EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, while ALA is found in plant foods such as flaxseed, soybean oil and canola oil. Omega-3s are also sold as dietary supplements. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about what types of omega-3s may be best for you. For more information, visit

Conklin S, Harris JI, Manuck SB, et al. Plasma fatty acids are associated with normative variation in mood, personality and behavior. Abstract #1411. Presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, Denver, CO, March 1-4, 2006.