Omega 3 Fatty Acids Reduce Depression in Women

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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In aging-related research done at the National Institute of Health it was found that amongst women age 30-65 those with the highest intake of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) were 49% less likely to have elevated levels of depression. 

The study found that 25% of women in the study had elevated levels of depression. The researchers noted that those with the highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids had the lowest levels of somatic complaints associated with depression. These type of complaints include irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, pain disorders, and chronic headache. And those that were the highest in EPA and DHA had more positive mood.

Part of the surprise of this study is how high a rate there is for noticeable depression in a random sampling of adult women from Baltimore in the study period of 2004–2009. It is well known that omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are needed for healthy brain function and reduction of stress-related inflammation. It is also known that regular consumption of these fatty acids will enable them to incorporate in the structure of brain cells over time. 

It makes sense that if a person has a high level of intake then it is protected against the wear and tear of life that can sometimes build to the point of depression. This U.S. government study makes the scientific point that higher omega 3 intake equates to a better mood and fewer physical symptoms/complaints that are often a cofactor reason for depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids are lacking in foods. They are one of the most important nutrients to include in a basic supplement program for good health.

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