Omega-3 Fats & Depression
Low dietary intake of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is linked to depressed mood, hostility, and impulsive behaviour.
High intake of EPA and DHA fats are associated with increased gray matter volume in brain regions which control depression and mood.
Human brain tissue is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are of vital importance within cell membranes and in connections between nerves.
The human brain is comprised of 60% fat!!….
…. and omega-3 fatty acids are the fatty acid of choice for the structure of certain parts of brain cell membranes and brain intercellular nerve connections,” Douglas London, MD, Research Associate in Psychiatry at the Psychopharmacological Research Laboratory of McLean Hospital and medical faculty at Harvard Medical School. “Lack of dietary omega-3 forces the brain cells to utilize other fatty acids on hand, resulting in cells constructed with inferior building material,” Dr. London says. “Lack of available omega-3s affects brain function and is associated with cognitive and emotional disorders.
Interesting Irish Study
Consuming plenty of omega-3 fatty acids may offer powerful protection against depression. It is also known that omega-3 fatty acids may also help improve mood in those who already suffer from depression. In a recent study at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was studied in 49 patients with repeated episodes of harming themselves. In addition to standard psychiatric care, study subjects were randomly assigned to receive 1200 mg EPA plus 900 mg DHA, or placebo, for 12 weeks.
At the end of the treatment period, the group receiving omega-3 fatty acids had significantly greater improvements compared with the placebo group in scores for depression, suicidality and daily stresses.
Furthermore, other studies suggest that people who are still depressed despite use of antidepressant medications may have reduced intensity of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction when supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids.
Dietary Sources of Omega 3: