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Fish Oil May Help Mature Adults Avoid the Blues

Researchers from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences recently conducted a study which found that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce depressive symptoms among mature adults. Their findings were published in the February 2011 issue of European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience.

For the study, the researchers recruited 66 participants over the age of 65. The participants were randomly assigned to an omega-3 supplement that consisted of 1 gram of fish oil per day or a placebo for six months. The fish oil supplement provided 300 mg each of EPA and DHA.

After the six months, depressive symptoms were measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale (“GDS-15”). The GDS-15 is a 15 item questionnaire that is used to evaluate depressive symptoms in mature adults.

They found that the participants who received the fish oil supplement scored significantly better than those who received the placebo.

A separate study published recently in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry also prescribed omega-3 supplementation to individuals with depression and found that 50% of the participants had a reduction in depressive symptoms.

This study adds yet another layer of science to back the potential link between mood, cognitive function and omega-3 fatty acids. Although further evidence is still needed it appears omega-3's may be effective at reducing both the risk and symptoms of depression.

Omega-3's, which are found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon as well as in supplement form, have been associated with a large list of health benefits. Boosting heart health is the most scientifically backed benefit but studies have also shown that it may reduce the risk of age related vision loss and certain cancers.

Beyond omega-3 fatty acids, research has also shown that keeping your mind active as you age by reading, socializing and doing puzzles can also be effective at reducing the risk of cognitive decline and depression.

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