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Omega-3s May Help Combat Depression in Mature Adults

Depression is a common affliction among mature adults, ranging from 13% to 43% depending on living situation and health status. It is also is one of the most frequently missed diagnoses and negatively impacts quality of life.

A recent study suggests that supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may improve symptoms of depression in depressed mature adults.

Forty-six women between the ages of 66 and 95 with diagnoses of depression participated in the study. Over eight weeks, 22 of the women took a 2.5 gram omega-3 supplement with a 2:1 ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 24 women took a placebo.

At the end of the eight weeks, the women who took the omega-3 supplement had lower scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and lower arachidonic acid: eicosapentaenoic acid (AA/EPA) ratio when compared to the placebo.

The higher the AA/EPA ratio, the more cellular inflammation there is throughout the body, including the brain. IT has been shown that a high AA/EPA ratio in the blood is strongly associated with cognitive impairments.

The study was conducted at the University of Milan and published on October 10, 2012, in Nutrition Journal.

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 DHA and EPA omega-3s, while ALA omega-3 fatty-acids are plant derived and can be found in flaxseed oil, vegetable oil, and walnuts.

If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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