Then again maybe not, it all depends

We have written a number of articles about Omega 3 and depression. There is a body of evidence which suggests that people suffering from depression may well benefit from increasing the amount of Omega 3 in their diet. The evidence is suggesting that this includes other forms of depressive illness such as bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately as is often the case there are no clear and definite answers linking an increase in Omega 3 consumption to a reduction in symptoms of depression. Like many of these things there are a range of studies, some of which support the conclusion and some of which do not.

And of course whilst increasing the intake of Omega 3 in the diet may well help some forms of depression it may well not help others. For instance it may help depression in younger people, or older people, or women, or men. We’re not saying that it does, just demonstrating the difficulties of trying to determine exactly where increasing your Omega 3 intake may benefit you.Does Omega 3 help depression

A new study published only recently, however, has again supported the conclusion that the increasing the amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet can have a positive impact on people who are suffering from symptoms of depression.

However it also noted that these results, namely that increases in Omega 3 intake may help improve some depressive symptoms, were found specifically in people who had diagnosed depressive symptoms and who were prescribed antidepressant medications, and that people who were simply more prone to the likelihood of depression, because they had suffered from a heart attack, would not benefit.

As you can see it’s not as simple as trying to demonstrate that increasing your intake of Omega 3 does or does not improve symptoms of depression. It’s much more complicated than that, and unfortunately it’s very difficult to prove one way or the other.

And so our suggestion, in cases like this, is always the same. If you suffer from depression then it is always worth trying Omega 3 supplementation (after consulting your doctor) to see if it works for you. It may or may not work for you, it may or may not work for others, however this is really the only way of finding out.

And even then it’s not a complete answer, because you may well find that after taking Omega 3 supplements for while your depressive symptoms are reduced, but is this due to the Omega 3 fats, or some other factor?

That’s the way medical science advances. One step forward, 2 steps back and eventually we get there, sometimes.


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Fish oil is good for you, but not necessarily all the time

Is fish oil good for you? That’s a good question. As this website is all about the health benefits of the Omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil you’d think it would be fair to assume that we would answer yes, that taking fish oil is good for you.

And we do, but with a qualification.

Firstly there is no doubt that fish oil is good for you, in most cases. There is clear evidence about the heart health benefits of increasing your intake of the essential fatty acids DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). There is solid scientific research demonstrating that you may well reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular disease by increasing your intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, and this evidence is significant enough that the American Heart Association tells us all to make sure we eat enough fish.

And whilst it’s quite clear that more fish oil is good for your heart, there is also good evidence that fish oil is good for you in other areas of your health as well.Is fish oil good for you

Of course like all these things there are degrees. It’s almost impossible to say when something is sufficiently proven to be proven. Even in mainstream medical matters you’ll find huge disagreements amongst the health benefits of a whole range of different therapies, pharmaceuticals and more.

But it’s probably fair to say that the evidence in support of the conclusion that increasing your intake of fish oil is sufficiently strong, at least in the case of improving your heart health.

But here’s the qualification. Whilst fish oil might be good for your heart it might not be good for everything.

We say that because today we have been reading a report suggesting that, for some people, taking more fish oil might not be good for you at all.

Whilst there is evidence that increasing your intake of fish oil might produce some preventative effect against certain cancers there is now a study suggesting that anyone who is already suffering from cancer, and who is undergoing chemotherapy as a result, might perhaps be better advised not to take fish oil supplements.

This study, done in the University Medical Centre in Utrecht in Holland, has concluded that taking fish oil supplements may well help reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

In other words the Omega 3 fats prevent the chemicals used in chemotherapy from working as effectively.

In the study fish oil was given 22 to mice which were given cancer treatment. These mice suffer from tumors, and therefore were given chemotherapy to see whether or not there was any impact from feeding them fish oil supplements.

And the result was that feeding fish oil to mice during chemotherapy created a resistance to the chemotherapy.

Of course, as we noted before, it’s always hard to know when something is proven. Does this study mean that all patients undergoing chemotherapy should stop taking fish oil supplements? We don’t know, it all needs further study.

But it’s certainly food for thought.

So, is fish oil good for you? Yes, but not in all cases. If you’re likely to be undergoing chemotherapy to cancer have a good chat to your doctor about it.

Source: Is fish oil good for you

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A new study suggests that Omega 3 deficiency and suicide amongst soldiers might be related

Over the last few weeks we have talked about the link between Omega 3 fats and various mental disorders, including just recently discussing the results of a new study showing a link between ADHD, Omega 3 fatty acids and improvements in learning outcomes.

Just landed on our desk is a report of a new study which also talks about a related matter, the possible role of low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in suicide.
Omega 3 and suicide
This study has been reported on the website, and notes an escalation in the number of deaths by suicide amongst the US military over recent times.

Could Omega 3 deficiency and suicide be related somehow?

The study sought to determine whether deficiencies in the Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, were associated with an increased risk of suicide amongst members of the US military.

Participants in the study were active US military personnel.

The results of study were that the risk of death by suicide amongst US military personnel was 62 percent greater amongst those with a low serum DHA status.

In fact the evidence suggested that low levels of DHA were a stronger predictor of the likelihood of suicide than factors which are expected to be more powerful, and in particular whether or not the particular individual was exposed to the death of another soldier.

Of course this does not prove that a low level of DHA contributes to the risk of suicide, or causes suicide. Clearly there are other factors at work and amongst US military personnel, particularly amongst active personnel, and these must also be taken into account. But it would suggest that DHA deficiency may well rank up there with those other factors as potential contributing factors, and may be one of the biggest.

Suicide is a problem for the military

Levels of suicide in the US military personnel are much higher than levels of suicide amongst the general population. In fact the defence Department recognizes the problem of suicide among soldiers and is actively encouraging US service personnel to seek help where they feel and they need ti, as well as attempting to identify any soldier who may be particularly at risk.

There may also be an issue for the military as far as their food preparation goes. It was generally found that service personnel have low levels of DHA, and perhaps the military could consider improving the diet of soldiers by offering some Omega 3 fortified foods, although preferably by offering soldiers Omega 3 capsules, as Omega 3 fortified foods may not be all that effective.

However there is also no doubt that further study should be undertaken to ascertain what role low levels of Omega 3 fats, and DHA in particular, may play in increasing the risk of suicide.

It’s a fascinating question, and as more evidence comes to light we shall bring it to you.

Source of the study


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New research is showing a link between ADHD, Omega 3 fatty acids and improvements in learning outcomes

Over the last few years there has been a number of studies about the link between Omega 3 and ADHD, as well as other learning and cognitive disorders and other mental disorders such as depression and postpartum depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats found primarily in fish oil, and most of us don’t get enough of the Omega 3 fats in our diet. This includes children.

There’s a new ADHD Omega 3 study out

A new study has now supported the conclusion that an adequate supply of Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help ameliorate the effects of ADHD.

One of the most well-known studies linking increased intake of Omega 3, and in particular DHA, is what is generally called the “Durham study”.

This was a trial undertaken in Durham in the UK where a group of students that were generally considered to be slower at learning were given Omega 3 supplements, and the conclusion was drawn that the children receiving the omega 3 supplements did better at school than those who did not.ADHD, Omega 3 and learning

Along with this study there have been others, not just in relation to ADHD, and find out more about the study you can read our article about ADHD, fish oil and learning.

The conclusions of the study, namely that more Omega 3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish oil, can help children with ADHD, have now been supported by a new Australian study published this month. 

The study concluded that low, or sub optimal levels of the Omega 3 fats may contribute to ADHD, as well as to other developmental problems.

75 children between the ages of 7 and 12, all with ADHD, were studied, and in particular blood levels were taken to ascertain their Omega 3 levels, and cognitive assessments were provided for the children to do. Other conclusions were that higher Omega 3 levels predicted lower levels of anxiety or shyness and that higher levels of DHA predicted “better word reading”, and that higher levels of Omega 6 contributed to poorer reading, vocabulary and spelling as well as attention.

It seems that there is strong emerging evidence of the link between Omega 3 and ADHD, and that children with ADHD will do better with optimal levels of omega 3 intake compared to children with ADHD with sub optimal levels of Omega 3 intake.

Source – the Australian study:

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