Omega-3 essential fatty acids may have a key role to play in managing symptoms of depression, according to recent and emerging research. A recent review published in Today’s Dietitian suggests increased consumption of omega-3s may help reverse the trend of rising rates of depression on the community.

According to global omega-3 health expert Stuart Tomc, there is growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are critical for proper brain function, and may help improve mood.

“Depression is not only a genetic pre-disposition, omega-3s have been shown to effectively alleviate depression in some people without the common side-effects associated with certain medications. It appears that a lack of the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has far-reaching hormonal effects, impacting a hormone in the brain that moderates our emotions,” said Tomc .

“The evidence is becoming quite compelling that increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake enhances many aspects of brain function, including the control of mood and aspects of personality,”

“I would urge Australians who are currently living with depression to consider their omega-3 intake,”

Tomc says.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that omega-3s may influence mood, personality, and behaviour. The study of 106 healthy volunteers found that participants with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression, have a more negative outlook, and be more impulsive.

In another study, British scientists found that when a group of patients with stubborn depression were given a daily dose of omega-3, over two-thirds of the group reported a 50% reduction in their symptoms after 3 months, particularly feelings of sadness and pessimism, inability to work, sleeplessness and low libido.

“This is one of the largest potential associations of a nutrient with depression,”

said Joseph Hibbeln, the psychiatrist who pioneered research into the diet-depression link.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DHA, the omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil, are particularly concentrated in the brain and nervous system, and research continues to explore their association with mental health and brain function, in all stages of life.

References
Harrar S. Today’s Dietitian 2012; 14(1):22 Available at: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/011012p22.shtml
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2006, March 4). Omega 3 Fatty Acids Influence Mood, Impulsivity And Personality, Study Indicates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2006/03/060303205050.htm
Psychology Today. First published January 2003, last reviewed August 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200301/omega-3s-boosting-mood

By Stuart Tomc

Fish Oil Expert

With over twenty years experience in the field of Nutritional Medicine, Stuart Tomc is an authority on evidence-based dietary supplements. He is a respected consultant to the World Health Organization and integrative physicians worldwide having traveled the world as an educator and trainer for over 10 years. With an accomplished background in media appearances, Stuart is adept at educating, entertaining, and delivering a powerful message on important health subjects in today’s changing world.