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Omega-3s May Be Associated With Lower Levels of Depressive Symptoms

The research regarding the effect of omega-3s on depression has been unclear, however the majority of it has focused on people who consume Western diets with lower fish intake. A recent study suggests that omega-3s may help lower depressive symptoms even in countries with higher fish consumption.

Participants in the study included 1,050 Japanese men and 1,073 Japanese women with an average age of 60. All of the participants were instructed to fast for at least 12 hours. Blood was collected in the early hours of the morning following the fasting. The researchers used the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale to determine that 266 or 12.5% of the study population had depressive symptoms. Those participants were also significantly more likely to be unmarried, have fewer years of educations, and a higher risk of past stroke when compared with those without depressive symptoms.

The researchers found that that blood concentration of omega-3 was inversely associated with depressive symptoms. Additionally, the researchers noted significant differences in EPA, omega-3 PUFA, and omega-3 long chain PUFA between people with depressive symptoms and those without depressive symptoms. The average omega-3 long chain PUFA concentration of people with depressive symptoms was 264.1 microgram per ml, while the average concentration of people without depressive symptoms was 276.0 microgram per ml.

No association was found between depressive symptoms and omega-6 levels.

Researchers from the Japanese National Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology, the Aichi Shukutoku University, and the Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences in Japan, as well as Suntory Wellness Limited conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 22, 2015 in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with 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 vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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