Fatty acids and Depression
Sailor Man Should Not Be Without His Olive
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish have largely stolen the spotlight for anti-depression, but recent evidence finds that oleic acid from olive oil may also be useful in women.
Last May a 10-year national cohort followed 1,947 men and 2,909 women (African-American and Caucasian) (1). They were separated according to “lowest, middle and highest” for oleic fatty acid intake as well as linoleic (omega-6) fatty acid intake (1). Estimates adjusted for fish consumption and diseases (1).
The researchers found linoleic acid was associated with increased risk of severe depression in men and that oleic acid (omega-9) was associated with a reduced risk of severe depression in women (1).
Popeye take note.
Depression, Gone Fishing
Stroll along the bank of river peacefully, bait your hook, cast, enjoy a beer. The fish themselves may not think so, but going fishing is a relaxing pastime. But don’t catch and release because eating those fish may even more of a mood booster. Well, that may be a stretch.
Truth is that a dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids—found in amounts highest in fatty fish—may be related to great risk of depression, particularly among pregnant or menopausal women, according to recent studies (2-6).
Scientists have known for a while that an association between omega-3 fatty acids and depression exists, but it is still unclear why and its use as a single therapy has not been found to be effective; still researchers hope omega-3 oils can be used as complementary nutritional therapy to other treatments (2;7-10).
In fact, omega-3 was reconfirmed earlier this month by the Emory University School of Medicine to have a place as in researching emerging targets for antidepressant therapies (11;12). This is in light of frustration of failure of current treatments of depression drugs such as monoamine reuptake inhibitors and nutritional interventions to provide results (7;12).
1. Wolfe AR, Ogbonna EM, Lim S, Li Y, Zhang J. Dietary linoleic and oleic fatty acids in relation to severe depressed mood: 10 years follow-up of a national cohort. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2009.
2. Hazell P. Depression in children and adolescents. Clin Evid (Online ) 2009;2009.
3. Golding J, Steer C, Emmett P, Davis JM, Hibbeln JR. High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish. Epidemiology 2009;20:598-603.
4. Rees AM, Austin MP, Owen C, Parker G. Omega-3 deficiency associated with perinatal depression: case control study. Psychiatry Res 2009;166:254-9.
5. Hibbeln JR. Depression, suicide and deficiencies of omega-3 essential fatty acids in modern diets. World Rev Nutr Diet 2009;99:17-30.
6. Lucas M, Asselin G, Merette C, Poulin MJ, Dodin S. Ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid for the treatment of psychological distress and depressive symptoms in middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:641-51.
7. Sarris J, Schoendorfer N, Kavanagh DJ. Major depressive disorder and nutritional medicine: a review of monotherapies and adjuvant treatments. Nutr Rev 2009;67:125-31.
8. Colangelo LA, He K, Whooley MA, Daviglus ML, Liu K. Higher dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is inversely associated with depressive symptoms in women. Nutrition 2009.
9. Su KP. Biological mechanism of antidepressant effect of omega-3 fatty acids: how does fish oil act as a ‘mind-body interface’? Neurosignals 2009;17:144-52.
10. Ramakrishnan U, Imhoff-Kunsch B, DiGirolamo AM. Role of docosahexaenoic acid in maternal and child mental health. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:958S-62S.
11. Rakofsky JJ, Holtzheimer PE, Nemeroff CB. Emerging targets for antidepressant therapies. Curr Opin Chem Biol 2009.
12. Holtzheimer PE, Nemeroff CB. Novel targets for antidepressant therapies. Curr Psychiatry Rep 2008;10:465-73.