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Mental Health

Given recent findings of serious risks linked with antidepressants, we should prioritize the study of natural antidepressants contained in dietary sources -- specifically, omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish and seafood.
-Weill Cornell Medical College

There is mounting evidence that a diet containing omega-3 fatty acids (particularly the active ingredients EPA and DHA), already known to help prevent cardiovascular disease, may also prevent depression.

Researchers at the prestigious WeillCornell Medical College call for further investigation of the mental health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Below are some key excerpts from a WeillCornell Medical College press release1:

Given recent findings of serious risks linked with antidepressants, we should prioritize the study of natural antidepressants contained in dietary sources specifically,omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish and seafood, says Dr. Barbara Levine, associate professor of nutrition in clinical medicine at WeillCornell Medical College and director of the DHA Information Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/WeillCornell.

DHA is a primary building block in the gray matter of the human brain and in the retina of the eye, and is present in every cell in the body. It is essential at every stage of human life, beginning in utero. DHA, like EPA, must be derived from foods because the body cannot produce its own supply.

Omega-3 consumption in the U.S. is lower than in any other country; the U.S. also has one of the highest depression rates in the world, says Dr. Jeffrey Borer, chief of the division of cardiovascular pathophysiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/WeillCornell and Gladys Roland Harriman Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

New research has linked omega-3 consumption inversely with incidence of neurological and immune disorders. However, further research among all age groups and populations is necessary in order to confirm these findings and to further educate the public.

The relation of omega-3s principally DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and depression has been revealed in several studies worldwide. In a large Finnish study of fish consumption and depressive symptoms, published in Psychiatric Services in April 2001, Tanskanen, et al. demonstrated that the likelihood of having depressive symptoms was significantly higher among infrequent fish consumers than among frequent fish consumers. They theorized that the human brain is adapted to Paleolithic diets of our ancient ancestors, whose diet comprised equal proportions of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fats (found in corn and soy seed oils). In the past 100 years, Western diets have lowered the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 to about 1:25; simultaneously, the prevalence of major depression has increased.

In the 2003 Rotterdam Study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Tiemeir, et al. found that elderly persons with depression had a fatty acid composition different from that of non-depressed persons. Percentages of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) were significantly lower, and the ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 PUFAs were significantly higher in subjects with depressive disorders than in control subjects.

Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discovered that omega-3 may influence serotonin functionality in the brain. In a letter published in The Lancet in April 1998, he reported that among healthy volunteers, low plasma concentrations of DHA predict low concentrations of a marker of brain serotonin turnover. Low concentrations of serotonin are strongly associated with depression and suicide.

The research behind Omega-3 and mental health is not yet as far along as it is with Omega-3 and heart disease. However, the early research shows promise for depression and we know that Omega-3 is an important and natural anti-inflammatory with a host of other health benefits, such as a reduction in heart disease. The makers of OMAPURE will continue to monitor the clinical research for the latest clinical trials and research regarding mental health and Omega-3.


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  1. Weill Cornell Medical College, Press Release: “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Good For the Heart, and (Maybe) Good for the Brain”, 2004. Full Article:
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