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Omega-3s & Depression: “Not so fast!”

Omega-3s & Depression: “Not so fast!”

You know, things can change so quickly in the emotional and mental health arena. That can be a good-news/bad-news proposition.

Just three months ago I reported omega-3 fatty acids, added to an antidepressant regimen, could help reduce symptoms of depression. Here’s a link to that piece.

Mmmm, not so fast. Quick update!

New Research

Introducing Harvard School of Public Health nutrition expert Dr. Alberto Ascherio…

“We know that omega-3s are important in brain function…We approached this work thinking that when it comes to preventing depression, it’s conceivable that you are what you eat.”

Surprise, doc!

The study followed some 50,000 women, ages 50-77, for a ten year period. None of the women were enduring depression when the research commenced.

Ten years later 5% of the women developed depression. But the amount of omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – consumed was immaterial.

So for now, the impact of the omega-3s on depression isn’t such a hot topic. But the world of science will continue to study the matter. Who knows?

Alpha-Linolenic Acid: The Other Fatty Acid

Ah, but something very positive came from the research effort. Seems the team found that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – an n-3 fatty acid – may have a very positive impact upon mood.

For every .5 gram increase in daily ALA consumption, an 18% reduction in depression risk was noted.

Seed oils are the richest source of ALA – canola, soybean, walnut, flax seed, perilla, chia, and hemp.


So there’s a quick chipur update for you. Sure, the news may have been disappointing regarding the omega-3s. But along came the alpha-linolenic acid scoop.

And now you know.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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