Is there any reason to increase the intake of Omega 3 fish oils if you have depression?
Depression can be one of the most debilitating conditions you can get. It can have severe consequences for your life, even leading to suicide. There’s many risk factors in depression, and the causes and treatments aren’t fully understood.
Lets have a look at one aspect of depression. The role of Omega 3 fats in depression, and more specifically whether increasing Omega 3 fish oils in the diet can have a role in reducing the incidence of depression.
Over the last 100 years the incidence of depression has skyrocketed. Although it’s not scientific to make the connection, it may be no co incidence that the amounts of Omega 3 in our diets have plummeted.
That’s for a number of reasons. Modern intensive farming practices, for example, have resulted in the reduction of the incidence of Omega 3 in some of our foods, like meat and eggs.
Depression is 60 times higher in New Zealand, where the average intake of fish is 40 pounds a year, compared to Japan where it’s 150 pounds a year.
None of this proves a link between Omega 3 and depression, but suggests that some studies would be useful.
And these studies are now appearing. For example a study published in the American Journal of Phychiatry in 2006 found that a deficit of Omega 3 may indeed “make an etiological contribution to mood disorders and that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may provide a therapeutic strategy”.
That’s pretty clear. That isn’t the only study finding that low levels of Omega fats intake may contribute to mood disorders like bipolar, or manic depression.
How could this be? Well, again unscientifically, it’s well known that DHA fats found in Omega 3 fish oils make up over 50% of the brain. And not only that, they also make up a part of the membrane of nerve cells. And that these nerve cells help in brain communication, which is important in good mental health.
But if you suffer from depression then there may be powerful arguments for taking the best Omega 3 supplements you can, because regardless of how much they may improve your depression they will certainly contribute to your overall health.
As with all of these things there is a need for more studies, and the research moves slowly.
We’ll bring you any more studies that come out linking depression with Omega 3 fats.