Omega 3, dieting and depression

October 28, 2008

Studies in the US have linked a low dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids and dieting with growing rates of depression. Interestingly, the risk of developing depression has increased at a rate similar to the rise in consumption of omega 6 fatty acids from sources like vegetable seed oils and is relative to the decrease in omega 3 fatty acids from fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. Many nutritionists feel that this is a direct result of the increased consumption of processed foods as opposed to eating ‘real’ food.

The study gave either a fish oil capsule or a sugar pill in addition to their antidepressant medication to the participants. Just two weeks into the study, there was an improved sense of well being and sleeping patterns in the omega 3 supplement group. After four weeks a substantial had a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression as compared to those taking the sugar pill. The study concluded that the fatty acid EPA may be used as an antidepressant booster, but I would go further and suggest that it can be used proactively to help anyone with a tendency to depression before they start medication. Dietary changes have already been substantiated as helping depression, and adding in adequate amounts of Omega 3 can definitely help.


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