Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Risk Of Depression, Inflammation

Date:
March 29, 2007
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
A new study suggests that people whose diets contain dramatically more of one kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid than another may be at greater risk for both clinical depression and certain inflammatory diseases. The report suggests that we need to balance out our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The current typical American diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, a ratio that researchers say should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1.

A new study suggests that people whose diets contain dramatically more of one kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid than another may be at greater risk for both clinical depression and certain inflammatory diseases.

The report, published online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, suggests that we need to balance out our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The current typical American diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, a ratio that researchers say should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1.

This is the most recent in a long series of experiments Ohio State University researchers have conducted on the links between psychological stress and immunity. The addition of dietary questions to studies that have previously focused solely on emotional and biochemical markers may yield important new clues about the immune system.

"In this study, we're looking at the intersection of behavior, immune function and diet. In past experiments, we concentrated only on the first two," explained Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State and lead author on the paper.

"It now appears that diet is a very important variable in the equation as to how people respond to depression and stress."

The study, conducted in OSU's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, focused on a group of 43 middle-aged to elderly men and women, nearly half of which were the caregiver spouses of people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. By including caregivers who typically report greater stress and more depression than similar ad ults who are not caregiving, the researchers could look at how depression and diet might interact to affect inflammation.

Blood samples were drawn from each person in the study and tested for interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor -alpha (TNF-alpha ) and the receptor molecule for IL-6. Participants also completed a survey questionnaire that gauged their level of depression.

The analysis showed that participants who had much more omega-6 -- compared to omega-3 -- fatty acids, and who also were reporting more symptoms of depression, had much higher levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha, two cytokines which enhance inflammation.

"The data suggest that higher depression and a poorer diet in terms of omega-3 can work together to promote inflammation. Other researchers have shown that clinically depressed people -- those with more severe depression -- often have lower omega-3 levels in their blood, and several studies have shown that supplementing diets with omega-3 improves depression," Kiecolt-Glaser said, although the reason isn't clear.

"People who are depressed don't eat well, or it might be that there is something about depression that affects how well people process such foods."

In recent years, research has shown that an increase in omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has specific health benefits, especially in patients with depression, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Martha Belury, an associate professor of human nutrition, endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism at Ohio State and co-author of the study, said the design of the study was important.

"We looked at people who were experiencing real depression, not those whose depression arose as a part of some experiment, and we could clearly see a relationship between lower omega-3 fatty acids and certain markers of depression and inflammation."

Belury said that current recommendations allow up to two servings each week of cold-water fish -- the best source of omega-3 -- such as salmon or trout. This would not apply to pregnant women, she said, where concerns are greater about the heavy metal contamination such fish might contain. Omega-3 is also available as nutritional supplements

"This study has shown that even in people who did not take supplements, maybe just a little bit more omega-3, could help reduce their markers for both stress and depression," Belury said.

"The important message for consumers is that they don't have to take mega-doses of omega-3 to have some impact. It might not take a whole lot to have a significant clinical impact," Belury said.

The researchers are now starting a larger, more comprehensive randomized and controlled trial of omega-3 in adults between the ages of 50 and 80 in hopes of testing the questions raised in this pilot study.

Ron Glaser, professor of internal medicine, molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics; David Beversdorf, an assistant professor of neurology; Stanley Lemeshow, dean of the College of Public Health, and Kyle Porter, a statistician in the Center for Biostatistics, were also part of the project. The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Risk Of Depression, Inflammation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329092058.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2007, March 29). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Risk Of Depression, Inflammation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329092058.htm
Ohio State University. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Risk Of Depression, Inflammation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070329092058.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins