Depression can be severely debilitating and is a highly prevalent illness. The link between the disorder and omega 3s has been well studied in recent years. Now a new study carried out in Japan has added further weight to this link. Researchers in Japan recruited over 2000 people (1050 men and 1073 women) with an average age of 60. Early morning fasting blood samples were analysed for omega 3 and omega 6 concentrations. They found serum concentrations of omega 3 to be inversely associated with depressive symptoms. That is the higher the levels of omega 3, the fewer the number of depressive symptoms. The same link was not however found for omega 6.
The researchers commented on the results,
“The present study suggests that the serum levels of EPA and DHA may be associated with depressive symptoms in Japanese with higher blood levels of omega-3. Therefore, even in countries with a higher fish intake, omega-3 intake in the usual diet may lower depressive symptoms.”
According to the WHO:
• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
• The World Health Organisation has identified the rising numbers of people suffering from depression as a global crisis and has predicted that depression will be one of the top three causes of disability-adjusted life years lost (the number of years lost due to ill-health or disability) by 2030.
• Currently, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally.
• Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 29 year olds.
Horikawa C, Otsuka R et al. Cross-sectional association between serum concentrations on n-3 long-chain PUFA and depressive symptoms: results in Japanese community dwellers. British Journal of Nutrition. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1017/S0007114515004754