Fish Oils and the Relief of Depression

Depression is a word that is often misused.  We use it in everyday language to express that we don’t feel happy or that we are feeling more than usually blue.  But Clinical depression is not a passing feeling or mood.

It is an ongoing mental state involving overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, sadness, inability to concentrated and many other symptoms.  It ranges from mild and relatively short lived to severe and lasting for many years.

It is not something people choose to have and may be better understood if it is thought of in terms of a disease rather than a condition.

Work at Harvard has recently looked at the effect of Omega 3 fish oils on people suffering from depression and the results have shown that depression can be significantly reduced if Omega 3 is introduced into the diet.

This is not surprising when you look at cross cultural and global differences in the numbers suffering from depression.  There is an amazingly strong correlation between consumption of fish and lower rates of diagnosed depression.

The Japanese eat more than three times the amount of fish in a year than some other cultures and they are less likely to suffer from depression.

We all know that diet can go a long way to keeping us healthy but we tend to separate the mind from the body and often fail to understand that if the body does not get the right nutrients then neither does the brain.

One of the greatest precursors for depression is a lack of Serotonin.  This enzyme helps pass impulses from one nerve to another and if the body produces insufficient amounts it can cause depression.

According to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1gm of EPA (eicospentaenoic acid) which is contained in large amounts in Omega 3 fish oil, has the equivalent effect of 1gm of Fluoxetine, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant.

Further research at Harvard has shown that, unlike St John’s Wort, there are no apparent indications that would prevent you from using Omega 3 in conjunction with prescription anti-depressants.  Sufferers are not, therefore, subject to the dilemma of drugs over natural remedies as both can be taken together.