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Study Shows Key Omega-3 Essential Fatty-Acid Combats Depression

Good news may be on the way for the 19 million Americans currently suffering from clinical depression. According to a recent study, increasing your intake of omega-3 essential fatty-acids may give your mood a healthy boost.

Researchers in France found that people suffering from depression had significantly less of the omega-3 essential fatty-acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in their blood stream than healthy control subjects.

The study, published in the May 2008 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by scientists at the University of Bordeaux. They studied 1,390 people, with an average age of 74.6.

The researchers divided the study participants into two groups: "depressed" and "healthy." Blood was drawn from both groups and evaluated.

The researchers found that depressed subjects had 15.8% lower EPA levels than healthy controls.

EPA was the only omega-3 essential fatty-acid found to be linked with depression. Other common omega-3 essential fatty-acids include ALA and DHA. ALA omega-3 can most commonly be found in plant oil, and should not be confused with EPA and DHA primarily found in fish oil.

These findings add to the growing field of evidence linking some fatty acids with possible mental health benefits. The studies have shown benefits in subjects suffering from dementia, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.
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