Along with Vitamin D3, The most important supplement you can take is an omega-3 oil that contains both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexae- noic acid (DHA). It has so many phenomenal proven benefits backed up by literally thousands of independent scientific studies.
An estimated 8% of brain matter is composed of omega-3s—the building block for an estimated 100 billion neurons.4 . Omega-3 fatty acids exert profound anti-aging effects on brain structure and function, from cognition and memory to mental health and Alzheimer’s prevention. They have recently been associated with increased volume of the brain’s gray matter, especially in those regions associated with happiness, and they also boost intelligence through enhanced function from birth onwards. They support brain cell structure, increase the production of vital neurotransmitters and blunt oxidative and inflammatory damage.
Fish oil is now considered an essential nutrient, even for vegetarians. Recent research also revealed, that the transformation humans underwent when apes became intelligent and turned into humans happened only in coastal regions, where the apes started to consume large amounts of fish. Why not benefit from that knowledge and consume more fish oil?
In healthy adults, increased omega-3 intake is positively associated with greater brain volume in regions associated with emotional arousal and regulation of behavior. People who get more omega-3s have bigger, more functional brains.1 A 2009 study found that omega-3-supplemented adults made fewer risk-averse decisions, but did not show increased impulsiveness.60 It is common to find reports along the lines of: “It really did some noticeably different things, for example, to how I addressed issues that might have had me feeling a bit overwhelmed previously. It’s like my mind took a huge exhale and gently calmed itself before taking on the tasks”
In other words, the omega-3 group appeared better able to take appropriate risks in problem-solving, without dangerous impulsivity—skills that are especially relevant in people with depression, who often withdraw and become fearful of even everyday risk-taking.
Think of how valuable a supplement like omega-3 can be. Just by taking omega-3 regularly you are stacking the odds in your favor and playing the probabilities in your favor so that you are more likely to make better, more intelligent decisions rather than reacetive and impulsive decisions that are not well thought-out.
People who get more omega-3s actually have bigger, more functional brains.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, scientists analyzing the diets of 12,000 pregnant women found that children of those who consumed the least omega-3 were 48% more likely to score in the lowest quartile on IQ tests.
One recent landmark study found that aging humans who consumed more omega-3s had increased gray matter brain volume and that most new tissue development was observed in the part of the brain associated with happiness.1
omega-3 fatty acids halt the age-related loss of brain cell receptors vital to memory production, and show potential for increasing neuronal growth.19
Recent findings suggest that some criminal and aggressive behaviors are closely correlated with low serum omega-3 levels, which are linked to lower levels of altruism, honesty, and self-discipline.13
Insufficient omega-3 intake is strongly correlated with diminished adaptability of brain synapses and impaired learning and memory.53 People with lower omega-3 levels may be more likely to suffer from a host of cognitive impairments including dyslexia, ADHD, and cognitive decline.54-56
There’s solid data indicating that optimal omega-3 intake at all ages is a promising avenue for subduing aggression and hostility.20,21
- Low omega-3 status is frequently found in people who have attempted or committed suicide.29-31 In fact, seasonal variations in blood levels of omega-3s have been shown to closely parallel similar variations in violent suicide deaths.7
- For example, 1.5 grams of omega-3 supplementation in autistic children with severe tantrums, aggression, or self-injurious behavior produced significant improvements compared with placebo, without adverse effects.22
- stressed but otherwise healthy volunteers given 1,500 mg/day of DHA reported a significantly improved rate of stress reduction compared to a no-treatment group, suggesting an adaptogenic role for omega-3s (adaptogens help the body respond to imposed stress in a variety of ways).23
- In a group of substance abusers, supplementation with EPA and DHA for 3 months produced significant decreases in anger and anxiety scores compared to placebo recipients.16
- Similarly, in young adult prison inmates, multi-supplements featuring omega-3s produced significant reductions in antisocial, violent, aggressive, and transgressive (rule-breaking) behavior.24,25
- Large epidemiological studies repeatedly demonstrate that depressed people have significantly reduced levels of DHA and EPA in red blood cell membranes or serum.26,27 One autopsy study revealed lower amount of omega-3s in the brains of those who’d suffered depression compared to those who did not.28
- A particularly powerful effect was shown in middle-aged women experiencing psychological distress and depressive symptoms during the menopausal transition.
- A medical study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at how quickly telomeres shorten in people with coronary artery disease by following 608 participants for an average of five years, recording the amount of fish oil each consumed. Those with the greatest dietary intake of EPA and DHA fish oil had the longest telomeres. Those with the lowest consumption had the shortest telomeres.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the simple reason that your body cannot make them. It can come only from the outside—from your diet. As with all essential vitamins and minerals, there must also be a relatively constant intake, because it is burned up (oxidized) in everyday living. The more stress you are under, especially physical stress like exercise and dieting, the more you need to be aggressive about your fish oil.
DHA is the most prominent fatty acid in the brain and is necessary for vision and cognitive function. Study after study has shown that the brains of Alzheimer’s patients have a lower concentration of DHA than do the brains of individuals without this disease. The Rotterdam Study, conducted in 2003, found that ingesting fish oil once a week by eating fish or taking a supplement was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the risk of dementia.
DPA is one of the most underrated and unknown of the Omega-3s, and some are even calling it the missing piece to the puzzle. Supplementing with DPA has been linked to healthier development of fetuses and babies whose mothers ingested DPA during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.* DPA, which many fish oils lack, is typically difficult to find because it is only present in mother’s breast milk, harp seal oil, and certain micro algae. You need all three: DPA, EPA and DHA. (investigate this fact)
No single drug or supplement has been as well researched and shown to have as many benefits. People who maintain consistently high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil, in their bodies have not only less cancer, less cardiovascular disease, less arthritis, and a significantly reduced risk of dementia but also a much lower risk of dying from any causes in the next ten years.
Like ginseng, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are what scientists call adaptogens, substances that act to bring some factor or measurement back to normal. Russian scientists who were studying ginseng discovered this characteristic in the 1950s. They were astonished to find that if a person’s blood pressure was low, ginseng would help to raise it; conversely, if the blood pressure was high, ginseng helped to lower it.
Fish oil is a fat (although it is often successfully used to decrease body fat), so not everyone can tolerate bigger doses. If you have trouble digesting fatty foods or if your gallbladder is missing, you may have to take smaller doses for a while. Some people get diarrhea on bigger doses, or burp. Burping of fish oil is often considered a sign that the supplement is of poor quality, and many times it is. Rancid fish oil does you no good and may actually harm you. I have experimented with several omega-3 products (from fish, krill, algae, etc.) and only found a few to be truly effective and potent, and I have listed these at the end of the book.
Some people will always burp from fish oil, no matter what. Most people find that as they take fish oil for longer and longer, this side effect seems to disappear.
You could never eat enough fish to maintain the optimal levels of fish oil that are recommend for superior cognitive function—you’d have to wolf down six salmon fillets a day!
There is a common misperception that flaxseed or flax oil is an adequate substitute for fish oil. It is not. Fish oil contains the pre- formed long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Flaxseed oil, in con- trast, contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is the precursor of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. The body can convert the alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed oil to EPA and DHA, but the converted amounts seem to be minimal. Although flaxseed oil is thought to be heart-healthy in its own right, you can’t count on it as a substitute for fish oil.
Such foods and oils that are being prized for their omega-3 content such as flax oil, chia oil and walnuts are actually almost irrelevant for cognitive function and are not nearly as powerful as the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA from algae, fish or krill oil.
When you supplement with fish, krill, or algae oil, remember that the total amount of omega-3s is not what’s important. This number by itelf is meaningless. You want to know specifically how much EPA, DPA and DHA are contained in the oil.
So, if you, your child or a person you care about are suffering from learning and focus problems, stress, depression, adhd, supplementing with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids from algae oil or from a high quality fish oil is one of the easiest and most important things you can do right away to improve your condition and see remarkable improvements in a short amount of time.
The Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
Most experts agree that the omega 6:3 ratio should range from 1:1 to 5:1, which is similar to what’s in the diet on which human beings evolved. The sad reality is that it now ranges from 20 to 50:1 for most Americans. They are getting far too many omega-6 fats, this is especially pernicious as they are getting them in the form of highly processed vegetable oils that exclude most of the original nutrients. The processing also introduced aberrations like trans fats. The final insult is that most of these oils are genetically engineered, like soy, corn and canola that makes them loaded with dangerous antigens and herbicides like glyphosate.
A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio has been associated with cognitive decline, depression, mood problems and an overall decrease in mental and physical energy. It is crucial to always keep our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 from our daily food intake as close to 1:1 as possible. We need to take high doses of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, (DHA, DPA, EPA), while optimally minimizing our omega-6 intake.
Omega-6s are found in fatty foods such as avocadoes, and most nuts and seeds and their oils.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential to your health, but when omega-6 is consumed in excess, which is usually the case, it becomes problematic.
This is one reason why overdosing on nuts and seeds and high omega-6 foods, which is a mistake that most vegan and vegetarians do, is such a bad idea, because it automatically screw up your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. The ratio here is key. Even if your omega-3 intake is seemingly sufficient, if your omega-6 intake was high, you’ll need to take more omega-3 to keep the ratio close to 1:1. If you’re on a budget, yet you still want to improve your cognitive abilities and mental power, limiting your omega-6 intake is an easy way to optimize your ratio without having to spend extra money on omega-3. You will notice a huge difference in your clarity of thinking and cognitive abilities once you optimize this ratio, maximize your omega-3 intake, and keep your omega-6 intake minimal.
This is one reason (among many) why eating the flesh of farm-raised animals is such a bad idea: their diet is so omega-6 dominant, and, consequently, so is their meat.
For example, the journal Nature Neuroscience published a study showing that increased levels of omega-6 contribute to confused behavior and Alzheimer’s disease, stating that it appears to interfere with your brain’s nerve cells and cause over-stimulation, and that lowering omega 6 levels can allow those cells to function normally.
A wide range of health problems have been linked to omega-3 fat deficiencies, including: Increased inflammation, Depression and violence, Weight gain and diabetes, Allergies and eczema, Memory problems and dyslexia.
The high amounts of omega-6 fats in today’s diets creates a very inflammatory environment and goes a long way towards explaining why 4 in 10 people who die in the U.S. each year die of heart disease.
It’s likely that the increase in omega-6 consumption has played an equally significant role in the rise of nearly every inflammatory disease. Since it is now known that inflammation is involved in nearly all diseases, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, it’s hard to overstate the negative effects of too much omega-6 fat.
Ironically, over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, Celebres, etc.) work by reducing the formation of the same inflammatory compounds derived from omega-6 fatty acids. Why take drugs when the same effect could be achieved by simply limiting dietary intake of n-6?
On the other hand, several clinical studies have shown that decreasing the n-6:n-3 ratio protects against chronic, degenerative diseases. One study showed that replacing corn oil with olive oil and canola oil to reach an n-6:n-3 ratio of 4:1 led to a 70% decrease in total mortality.
Joseph Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH) who has published several papers on n-3 and n-6 intake, commented on the rising intake of n-6 in a recent paper:
“The increases in world Linoleic acid (omega-6) consumption over the past century may be considered a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to increased societal burdens of aggression, depression and cardiovascular mortality.”
A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can cause all kinds of neurological distrubances and is associated with poor brain health.
Many health-conscious people are completely unaware of the significance and importance of this ratio and therefore even though they seemingly have a healthy lifestyle, their diets are still considered far from optimally healthy due to the extremely high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
Fish contain long-chain omega 3 fatty acids; however, fish and fish oil are polluted. One of the sadder facts of our modern world is that we’ve polluted our oceans and streams so badly that it is nearly impossible to find fish that isn’t contaminated with mercury and other toxins, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which cause all kinds of neurological imbalances. The only way to guarantee that you are getting uncontaminated fish oil is to use a purified supplement that has been molecularly distilled.
I personally prefer getting my omega-3s from the same place fish get it: algae, and algae oil. The omega-3 in algae oil is bound in a phospholipid structure, making it more likely to be far more bioavailable than fish oil. Algae oil is also higher than fish oil in DHA, which penetrates deeper into the heart, brain and retina than EPA does.
However, fish oil and krill oil are also extremely beneficial. Whatever omega-3 oil you choose to take, make sure it has been purified. There are brands of fish oil that are very high quality and purified to have no heavy metals and these might be a better choice depending on your preference. I list a few superior products in the books appendix, try them all and stick with the one that you feel works best for you.
How to Take Omega-3
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 matters, but so does the total amount of each.
Taking any amount of omega-3 fatty acids regularly will certainly improve your brain and overall health, however a therapeutic dosage that will dramatically improve your cognitive health and transform your brain starts at 15 to 20 grams a day or more. This is a large dosage and depending on what kind of omega-3 you take could range from 20 capsules to a whole bottle of fish or algae oil in a day. This may feel like a lot, but it is the dosage required to produce serious improvements in your brain health, reverse brain imbalances, and heal emotional or physical traumas and injuries to the brain.
Most experts recommend dosages that range from 3 grams to 20 grams a day of omega-3. I have found dosages of at least 15 grams to 30 grams or more to be the minimum needed to produce noticeable and serious improvements in a short amount of time. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit to how much omega-3 you can take, except for the amount of fat that your body can handle and digest, and therefore it’s worth experimenting with extremely high dosages and finding the optimal dosage that works for you long-term.
Everyone in today’s world should be taking such high-doses of omega-3 fatty acids due to all the toxicity that we’re bombarded with, the stressors that we constantly have to deal with, and the chronic deficiencies in almost every essential nutrient. Most of us have inferior brains and have been suffering from chronic omega-3 deficiencies for our whole lives and now is the time to start reversing that right away.
Omega-3 could be a very potent way to healing and improving your brain and your decision making abilities and its benefits should never be estimated. You should start taking large doses of omega-3 fatty acids as quickly as possible; you can’t afford to lose any more time or live another day with a suboptimal brain.
Since most of us have been taking too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, it is also a great idea to limit or avoid all foods that are high in omega-6 for a certain amount of time in order to bring balance back to the body and restore our ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 faster.
It is very wise to take the fat-digesting enzyme lypase before taking your omega-3 supplement to help with its digestion and maximize the benefit that you get. If you will be investing in large dosages of omega-3, it is wise to make sure that you fully absorb as much of it as possible.
Another supplement that helps with the absorption of omega-3 is MegaHydrate.
Take omega-3 first thing in the day, preferably after taking lypase, with your other supplements on an empty stomach.
The best way to take omega-3 is by chewing the capsules, spitting out the outer part, and letting the oil get absorbed through the mucusa membrane first for a while before swallowing the oil. Recently a fatty acid receptor has been discovered on the tongue, joining the other more known taste receptors. If the capsules are chewed, the stomach and pancreas start to prepare the digestive tract in exactly the right way to prepare for maximum absorption.
Other supplements work better when taken with fats, such as vitamin-d3, and so it’s a good idea to take your omega-3 and your vitamin-d3 supplements together on an empty stomach in the morning.