June 7th, 2006
The latest issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry writes that the research regarding depression and omega-3 continues to show positive results. An overview of the latest research within this area by Parker et al. (1) suggests that there is a link between long-chain omega-3 and mood disorders, and that the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA may offer a potential treatment approach.
Several reports suggest that omega-3 defiency is an important factor in mood disorders such as depression, and this is why fish oil supplementation could ease these symtoms. The researchers say that they would like to see more reports within this area in order to establish whether it is EPA or DHA that is most active.
Since there has been positive results among adults with mood disorders Nemets et al. (2) wanted to investigate the effect of omega-3 on children with depression. Children between 6 and 12 years participated in this study. Those that were given active capsules containing EPA and DHA reported a 50 % reduction in depressive symptoms, the positive effect was seen eight week into the study. The control group who was given placebo reported no change in mood.
Yet another study (3) investigated if the concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the cell membranes (phospholipids) was linked to suicide risk. During the two year period the researchers found that both a low concentration of DHA and a low ratio of omega-3/omega-6 increased the risk of suicide attempts among the participants.
Read more about omega-3 and disease.
1) Parker, Gibson, Brotchie, Heruc, Rees, Hadzi-Pavlovic. Omega-3
Fatty Acids and Mood Disorders.
2) Nemets, Nemets, Apter, Bracha, Belmaker. Omega-3 Treatment of Childhood Depression: A Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study.
3) Sublette, Hibbeln, Galfalvy, Oquendo, Mann. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acid Status as a Predictor of Future Suicide Risk.