What is depression?
Depression is a real illness that impacts the brain. Anyone suffering from depression will tell you, it’s not imaginary or all in your head. Depression is more than just feeling down. It is a serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research tells us that other factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, grief or difficult life circumstances. Any of these factors alone or in combination can precipitate changes in brain chemistry that lead to depression’s many symptoms.
Depression is a serious condition. It’s also, unfortunately, a common one. Depression is one of the most disabling disorders in the world. Affecting roughly one in five women and one in ten men at some point in their lifetime. Around 21% of women and 12% of men in the U.S will experience an episode of depression at some point in their lifetime.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression
Scientists are intensely examining how omega-3 fatty acids work to promote a healthy mood. A new study sought to shed some light on how omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may aggravate depressed mood. Researchers looked at plasma levels of essential fatty acids and neurosteroids. These neuroactive chemicals implicated in several neurophysical and disease processes. Study subjects included 18 healthy men and 34 men with alcoholism, depression, or both. In the group of all 52 subjects, lower level of omega-3 essential fatty acids associated with higher levels of neuroactive steroids.
It appears that a lack of DHA has far-reaching hormonal effects, increasing corticotropin-releasing hormone, a hormone that moderates emotionality. This may in turn contribute to hyperactivity within the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, an important neuroendocrine system that regulates mood, aggression and “fight-or-flight” responses associated with anxiety.
The evidence is becoming quite compelling that increasing omega-3 fatty intake enhances many aspects of brain function, including the control of mood and aspects of personality.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Depression
Further evidence to strengthen the link between dietary lack of omega-3 fatty acids and depressed mood was presented in March 2007 at the American Psychosomatic Society’s annual meeting held in Budapest, Hungary.
In healthy adults low levels of EPA shows due to high levels of impulsive behavior, hostility and cynical ideas. Low levels of either EPA or DHA predicted high degrees of angry feelings and outbursts.
The omega-3 fatty acids have widespread biological functions in the body including the brain. Individuals who have higher levels of these fats in their blood are less likely to report symptoms of depression. Similarly, those who have lower levels of these fats in their blood score higher on measures of impulsiveness.
Cognitive Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies showed that relative deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with depression and antisocial behavior. In adults with high cholesterol, depressed mood, neurotic tendencies and impulsivity were linked to low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of the omega-6 fatty acids.
Research findings from the Netherlands suggest that consuming more fish and omega-3 fatty acids protects against cognitive decline. The Zutphen Elderly Study followed a group of 210 men 70 years and older. Examining them in 1985 and testing their cognitive ability in 1990 and 1995.
Men who did not eat fish experienced measurable cognitive decline from 1990 to 1995 that was four times greater than that of men who ate fish regularly. Strikingly, there was a dose-response relationship between intake of EPA and DHA and loss of cognitive ability. The investigators concluded that a moderate intake of EPA plus DHA may postpone cognitive decline in elderly men.
Many natural treatments are available for get rid of depression like medication, green tea,exercise.