Researchers say they've discovered that fish, more specifically fish oil, containing
omega-3 fatty acids is an effective antidepressant. Scientists first became interested
in omega-3s when they found that countries that consumed the most fish had the fewest
cases of depression. Mothers in England who ate very little fish during pregnancy doubled
their risk of developing postpartum depression compared to women who ate fish regularly.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated oils the body cannot create and are derived
mostly from seafood. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the fatty acid with the most direct
influence on brain development.
Researchers have discovered that omega-3 fatty acids
raised levels of the critical neurotransmitter seratonin in the brains of piglets,
an effect identical to that of Prozac®.
"DHA is highly concentrated in the brain right where the neurons communicate with
each other and all the signals pass back and forth," said Dr Joseph Hibbeln, a senior
clinical investigator at the Nation Insttute of Health. "The DHA from omega-3 makes
up the walls of neurons. The body cannot manufacture DHA so is has to get it from our
Jim LaBonte of Boston, diagnosed with depression four years ago, had tried Prozac®
but said the drug left him with no emotions, so he stopped taking it. Then he enrolled
in a clinical trial that Massachusetts General Hospital. La Bonte took the omega-3 fatty
acid DHA each day. Within three weeks, he said, he noticed a significant improvement.
He has now been taking DHA for eight months.
"I'm fine today," says LaBonte. "Not only do I not feel as blue, but when they
[depressed feelings] do come, I am able to handle it."
Sheffield University, England - Dr Malcolm Peet
gave omega-3 fatty acids to 70 depressed patients who were not helped by drugs
such as Prozac®. After 12 weeks, 69 percent showed marked improvement compared
with only 25 percent that were given placebos.
Preliminary studies suggest one gram per day of omega-3 faty acids can be an effective
treatment, whether in the form of a nutritional supplement available at most health
stores, or simply by eating fish - especially salmon, sardines, or tuna - several times
Researchers say much larger studies are needed to follow up on the initial success
of omega-3 trials not only against depression, but also in treating schizophrenia,
bipolar disorder, and violent behavior.
ALTRUM Nutritional Oils is an all-in-one essential
fatty acid (EFA) formula providing three key omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. Studies suggest
these EFAs fight depression and improve health.