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Fish oils and mood

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Healthy Eating - with Aisling Murray from Whelehans Pharmacy

Fish oils and mood

Studies indicate that only 10% of the Irish population eat sufficient oily fish to receive their necessary intake of Omega 3. Omega 3’s have many benefits including helping reduce inflammation, preventing heart disease and more. Omega 3 fatty acids are primarily found in oily fish such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and pilchards. We should eat two portions of fish per week, one of them oily. Non-fish sources of fish include linseed, beans and many types of nuts.

Omega 3’s and mood

There is evidence that omega 3 fatty acids supplementation might be helpful in cases of depression and anxiety. Studies report mood improvement from omega 3 fatty acids supplementation alone and in conjunction with medication.  Research indicates a possible link between the amount of a fish people in different countries eat and the level of depression. In Japan, where people eat on average 70kg of fish a year, the rate of depression is 0.12%. Whereas in New Zealand, where people eat only 18kg of fish a year, the rate of depression is almost 50 times higher. This may not be all down to the amount of fish Japanese people have in their diet but it could have an influence.


It is thought that omega 3 may help your brain work more efficiently, so serotonin, which can boost your mood, has more of an effect on you. There is another theory that omega 3 is a natural anti-inflammatory and that this anti-inflammatory effect has a positive effect on mood.


A 2008 study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry showed that an omega 3 supplement called PlusEPA® may be as effective as Prozac® in reducing the symptoms of depression. When PlusEPA® was used in combination with anti-depressants; results were enhanced effectiveness of the anti-depressant.  PlusEPA® is a 95% concentration of omega 3 containing a daily dose of 1000mg of EPA designed for emotional health. It is available from Whelehans Pharmacy.


Despite this, evidence of the effects of Omega 3’s on mood is still not conclusive and omega 3’s should not be considered a stand-alone treatment for depression and anxiety. Always speak to a health professional to discuss your options if suffering from depression and anxiety.


Depression information Evening

Whelehans Pharmacy is hosting a Depression Information Evening in the Greville Arms Hotel this Thursday (August 6th at 7pm). It is free to attend and all are welcome. The night will be of benefit both to individuals experiencing depression and concerned family/friends. Summary of speakers are:-

  • Exercise and fitness expert Maurice Looby of Maurice Looby Fitness
  • Counsellor Tom Moran of New Beginnings Counselling in Westmeath
  • Pharmacist Eamonn Brady from Whelehans Pharmacy, Mullingar 
  • Clinical Psychologist Dr Claire Hayes, Clinical Director of Aware

 You can turn up on the night or book your place in advance by calling Whelehans Pharmacy at 04493 34591.

 Whelehans Nutrition Service

Whelehans nutritional service is a private one to one advice service with our nutritionist Aisling Murray. Plans start from only €10 per week.

 Aisling Murray has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and offers a one to one specialist nutrition service at Whelehans Pharmacy. Call Whelehans at 04493 34591 for an appointment



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