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Eating This Reduces Depression By 10%

By on October 22, 2014
For most people, it’s a disease that triggers without warning–full-blown depression.

But for those dealing with increased inflammation caused by other diseases, such as hepatitis C, the risk of developing this disease increases even more dramatically–by as much as 30 percent.

However, researchers say they may have found a way to prevent it.

The solution? Omega-3 fatty acids–healthy fats that you’ll find in your local supermarket.

“Interferon (IFN)-a therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection is frequently associated with depression,” says Carmine Pariante, senior author of the study. “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are safe and effective essential nutritional compounds used for the treatment of depression, putatively through an anti-inflammatory action. In addition, lower erythrocyte levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been associated with an increased risk of IFN-induced depression.”

Reporting in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers recruited 152 patients diagnosed with hepatitis to either receive a treatment containing eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acid, docosahexaenoic (DHA) acid, or a placebo. Both EPA and DHA are fatty acids found in omega-3 supplements, which previous evidence had associated with a reduced risk of depression symptoms–though evidence for them preventing depression were still unclear.

For the next two weeks, the participants continued their treatments–and after it ended, started their Interferon-a treatment, something often associated with an increased risk of depression.

By the end of the study, researchers found that those who took the EPA treatment, but not DHA or placebo, were 10 percent less likely to develop depression.

“Compared with placebo, the incident rates of IFN-a-induced depression were significantly lower in EPA-treated but not in DHA-treated patients,” say researchers. “EPA is effective in the prevention of depression in hepatitis C virus patients received IFN-a therapy. Our study confirms the notion that anti-inflammatory strategies are effective antidepressants in the context of depression associated with inflammation.”

What These Results Mean For You

While some types of inflammation can increase our risk of depression, researchers now say they’ve stumbled upon a new way to reduce its risk–by increasing EPA, something found in omega-3 fatty acids.

But even if you don’t suffer from inflammation or diseases that can cause inflammation, there are still ways you can benefit, say health experts.

“A great deal of scientific data links low tissue levels of EPA and DHA to a host of mental/emotional disorders, including depression, violent behavior, suicide, and learning disabilities,” says Andrew Weil, M.D., a naturopath and holistic health writer. “Dietary supplementation with these fats, usually in the form of fish oil, has proved to be an effective, natural and nontoxic therapy for bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder and other health concerns.”

To keep depression on the down low, Weil says consuming up to 20 grams of fish oils containing omega-3 fatty acids are good for treating such conditions–though you should talk with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet.

Readers: Do you take fish oil supplements? Why or why not?

Sources:
Q & A: Fish Oil For Depression?DrWeil.com
Study: Fatty Acid Found in Fish Oil May Reduce Risk of Depression For Those With HepatitisElsevier.com

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