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Omega-3s May Boost Mood and Treat Depression

Fish oil has received a significant amount attention for its heart health benefits. Now, a growing body of evidence is showing that fish oil supplements may also be effective at boosting mood and reducing depression.

A recent study conducted by University of Montreal researchers and published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry provides the newest research linking omega-3 consumption and depression.

The study included 432 patients that had been previously diagnosed with depression.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups for the 8 week study. One group was given a daily fish oil supplement containing 1,050 mg of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA and 150 mg per day of DHA. The other group was given a placebo containing vegetable oil.

The participants were also asked to fill out detailed questionnaires about the severity of their depressive symptoms before, during and after the study.

In the initial analysis, the omega-3 group did not significantly outperform the placebo group. However, when participants with anxiety disorders (such as post traumatic stress, panic disorder, etc.) were removed, the researchers saw a significant improvement in the omega-3 group. Due to these results, the researchers believe that omega-3 supplementation is only effective in treating depression in patients without anxiety disorders.

There is not enough data currently to determine why omega-3 fatty acids may help with depression but some experts say the link may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3's. Research has also suggested that the fatty acids are involved in the function of certain brain chemicals linked to depression.

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