Nutrient that puts “Merry” in Christmas…

Dear Member,

Do you get blue on Christmas?

You should be happy…right?

But sometimes we feel stressed, anxious, lonely, or depressed.

If you go to your doctor he’ll give you drugs. These drugs are not only expensive, but they have dangerous side effects. And the long-term impacts on your health are anybody’s guess – insomnia, sexual problems, weight gain, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts.

There are a lot of reasons you get sad during the holidays; fatigue from too much activity… financial woes… family tension. But if you believe the National Mental Health Association, they report holiday depression usually follows unrealistic expectations.1 You can hold on to memories of ideal holidays from years ago, or have expectations that everything will be perfect.

They wouldn’t know this though… You may be blue today from a lack of a critical nutrient. This is a time of year when you probably will attend lots of parties, overindulge, and eat all the wrong foods. As a result, you get even less of your valuable omega-3 fatty acids.

So what does fat have to do with depression or brain function? Heck of a lot, in fact.

Your body needs fat to make brain and nerve cells. What’s more, fat can actually put a smile on your face. It helps the membranes of your brain cells absorb the natural chemicals that put you in a good mood, and keep you there. The fat that your brain craves most is omega-3.

In one study, participants took a pure omega-3 supplement. The result? Their brains started growing. In fact, the parts of their brains that grew were directly responsible for happiness.2 In other studies, researchers found that people suffering from major depression had very low levels of omega-3 in the areas of the brain that help with mood.3

You can easily start boosting your omega-3’s intake today. For the full antidepressant benefit take between 1,000 mgs (1 g) and 4,000 mgs (4 g) per day.

Here’s a list of foods rich in omega-3’s.


Serving Size

Omega-3 Amount

Mackerel (canned in oil)

4 oz drained

2.2 g

Bluefin Tuna (fresh)

4 oz cooked

2 g

Wild-caught Salmon

4 oz cooked

1.9 g

Sardines (canned in oil)

4 oz drained

1.8 g

Flax Seed Oil

1 tbsp

6.9 g

Cod Liver Oil

1 tbsp

2.8 g

Olive Oil

1 tbsp

0.1 g

Flax Seeds

1 oz

1.8 g


1 oz

2.6 g

Egg (organic, cage free)

1 large

270 mg

Grass Fed Beef

3.5 oz

100 mg

Cod liver oil supplements are a good way to go. They come in both oil and pill form, and you can find them in most vitamin shops and health food stores.

In addition to getting enough omega-3’s in your diet, consider trying some of these helpful tips to make your holiday brighter.

  • Maintain your relationships with your family and friends, and start new traditions with them. This will help you to feel less lonely around the holidays.

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, learn to ask your family and friends for help. Many of them will be more than happy to lend a helping hand.

  • Get out and exercise. Go ice-skating, go for a walk, build a snowman with your kids. Do your 10-minute PACE routine. Exercise will energize you and put you in a good mood.

  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol. It can deepen your feelings of depression.

  • Get in the holiday spirit by doing holiday things. Decorate a tree (big or small), build a gingerbread house, or go to mass at your local church.

  • Volunteer. Helping someone who’s struggling more than you will help you feel better about yourself and help you remember the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Lastly, just breathe. Take a few minutes out of every day to breathe. Take deep breaths, inhaling through your mouth. Be aware of the moment. Focus only on your breathing, in and o
    ut, and let all the other stuff just melt away

I wish you only the best health and happiness for this Christmas and for the coming New Year.

Sears Picture

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1Beating the Holiday Blues, University of Maryland Medical Center,, 5/27/08.
2 Conklin et al. “Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake is associated positively with corticolimbic gray matter volume in healthy adults. Neuroscience Letters. 2007. 421(3):209-12.
3 McNamara et al. “Selective deficits in the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid in the postmortem orbitofrontal cortex of patients with major depressive disorder.” Biological Psychiatry.
2006 Dec 21.