Omega-3s, Exercise May Improve Depression in Veterans
Many soldiers who have served time in active war zones suffer from depression and other mental health issues. A recent study suggests that low levels of omega-3 fatty-acids as well as lack of exercise may contribute to depression in soldiers returning from combat.
Participants in the study included 100 soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas. The researchers examined whether blood fatty acid levels, vitamin D status, and/or physical activity were associated with physical fitness scores, mood, and resiliency. All of the soldiers took part in psychometric tests, anthropometric measurements, and fitness tests. They also provided blood samples for fatty acid and vitamin D analysis.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found a correlation between the depression tests, body measurements, physical performance, sitting time, and omega-3 fatty-acid and vitamin D blood levels. Upon closer examination, they found that lower levels of physical activity as well as lower concentrations of fish oil and omega-3s were all correlated with lower resiliency and worse mood. Lower blood levels of omega-3’s were also associated with increased risk of suicide.
Researchers from Texas A&M University conducted the study. It was published in the September 2016 issue of The Society of Federal Health Professionals.
Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved mood, improved joint mobility, reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.
Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. For people who don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.