Fishy answer to depression

Fishy answer to depression November 14, 2006 01:12pm Sydney University dietitians have trawled recent research to judge the benefits of a range of dietary supplements for relief from depressive symptoms.

The review, published today in the Australian journal Nutrition & Dietetics, rated vitamins B6 and B12, folate, the chemical S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) and the essential amino acid tryptophan as showing some promise in the field.

The herbal extract St John’s Wort was also reviewed positively.

But researchers found omega-3 fatty acids, found naturally in oily fish and some grains and nuts, to be the “most promising” nutrition-based treatment for the condition.

“We have found evidence of the potential therapeutic benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid incorporation in the diet which may contribute to an eventual recovery in the long term,” said lead author and dietitian Dr Dianne Volker.

“This is definitely a valuable add-on to the psychosocial and pharmacological treatment therapy depression-sufferers undergo.”

The polyunsaturated fatty acids have been found to have cardiovascular benefits and a role in brain development and mental health.

The review found that three meals a week of oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel or fresh tuna, or the equivalent in fish oil supplements, was optimum.

The National Heart Foundation recommends two fish meals a week.

Depression is the leading non-fatal disability in Australia, with one in five people developing it at some point in their lives.
The World Health Organization believes depression will become the second leading cause of morbidity worldwide by 2020.

Tamara McLean Sydney University
Article from: AAP Australian journal Nutrition & Dietetics

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