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Posts Tagged ‘Omega-3 Fatty Acids’

Medscape (6/24, Brauser, http://tinyurl.com/omega3-depression) reported Omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly reduce symptoms of major depressive episodes (MDEs) for patients without comorbid anxiety disorders (ADs) compared with those taking placebo, according to a new study of more than 400 patients from 8 Canadian clinics.  Despite the availability of several newer antidepressants over the last 20 years, a substantial proportion of patients experiencing a depressive episode do not respond sufficiently to antidepressant treatment, are unable to tolerate antidepressants in order to obtain or maintain a clinical response, or refuse to take antidepressants despite substantial psychological suffering and disability notes the study author Dr. Lespérance.  Almost 54% of people with depression in the United States use some form of complementary treatment. In addition, the omega-3 supplements “seemed to be more efficacious for patients as a stand-alone treatment in comparison to adjuvant treatment,” reported Dr. Lespérance.

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WebMD (2/1, DeNoon http://tinyurl.com/fishy-psychosis) reported that twelve weeks of fish oil pills made teens at high risk of psychosis much less likely to become psychotic for at least one year.   A year after entering the study, 11 of the 40 teens treated only with placebo pills developed a psychotic disorder.  This happened to only two of 41 teens who began the year with 12 weeks of fish oil capsules rich in omega-3 fatty acids.    “The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent or at least delay the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotics for the prodromal phase”, Amminger and colleagues suggest.    People with schizophrenia tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting that the mental illness could be linked to a defect in the ability to process fatty acids.  There’s also evidence that fatty acids interact with chemical signaling in the brain and that omega-3 fatty acids protect brain cells from oxidative stress.  The study appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Getting fatty acid intake from fish/fish oils a couple times a week may help decrease depression symptoms over time as well as . Eating fish twice a week isn’t impossible to do!  The best omega-3 sources are from fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon [high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)]. The FDA has an easy to read handout of fish that are safe to eat regularly as well as those to limit or avoid for mercury concerns. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3.html 

Natalie Stephens RD, LD

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