Vol. 9, No. 2, 2003 Page 3

Low DHA again linked to symptoms of depression

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are strongly linked to depression, bipolar disorder, and learning and attention problems (see related articles, Crime Times, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1, Page 1 and Crime Times, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 2, Page 2). A new study adds to this evidence, showing a powerful link between depression and low adipose tissue levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosa- hexaenoic acid).

G. Mamalakis et al. studied 247 healthy adults (146 men and 101 women), assessing their self-ratings of depressive symptoms. They found that mildly depressed individuals had nearly 35 percent lower levels of DHA in their adipose tissue than participants with no depressive symptoms. For the group, depressive symptoms correlated negatively with amounts of adipose tissue DHA.

"In line with the findings of other studies," the researchers say, "the observed negative relation between adipose tissue DHA and depression in the present study appears to indicate increasing long-term dietary DHA intakes with decreasing depression." Noting that depression is associated with increased production of inflammatory cytokines, and that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit cytokine synthesis, they conclude, "The observed negative relation between adipose DHA and depression, therefore, may stem from the inhibiting effect of DHA on cytokine synthesis."


"Depression and adipose essential polyunsaturated fatty acids," G. Mamalakis, M. Tornaritis, and A. Kafatos, Prostraglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, Vol. 67, No. 5, Nov. 2002, 311-8. Address: G. Mamalakis, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Crete, Iraklion, Crete, Greece.

Related Article: [2003, Vol. 9]

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