Eating the right kinds of Fat can reduce risk for Depression and Inflammation

Eating the right kinds of Fat can reduce risk for Depression and Inflammation

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Balancing out our dietary intake of fatty acids can help in clinical depression and some kinds of inflammatory diseases according to a report published online in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.

The researchers say that Americans eat way to much omega-6 than they do omega-3 fatty acid. On average an American eats a 20-to-1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers say that it should be more like 4-to-1 or even better a 2-to-1 ratio.

The Ohio State University researchers completed a long series of experiments to see if there are any relationships between psychological stress and immunity. They also added dietary questions to the studies to see how that would play a role in a person’s health.

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"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," points out the authors.

The study included 43 middle-aged to elderly men and women that almost half of them were talking care of either a spouse or another person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Because they were talking care of a disabled family member they reported more stress and depression than adults that were not acting as a caregiver. The researchers were able to measure the depression and dietary influences on how it affected inflammation.

The participants had blood samples drawn and were measured for interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor -alpha (TNF-alpha ) and the receptor molecule for IL-6. They also answered a survey questionnaire to determine their level of depression.

The results showed that those participants who had significantly more omega 6 than omega 3 fatty acid also had more symptoms of depression. They also had much higher levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha, which help promote 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. More researcher would need to be conducted to understand why fatty acid ratios are related to depression.

"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."

Eating a diet with more omega-3 includes certain types of fish, such as salmon, trout. You can also get smaller amounts in white tuna fish. Because of potential mercury poisoning you should eat up to two servings each week. If you are pregnant you should ask your doctor first, and if you have children ask your pediatrician.

Other plant sources rich in omega-3 are flax seed. Most importantly, is to reduce your omega 6 intake, which is most often found in animal fat in the American diet. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids, which mean that we need them in our diet to be healthy. Eating the correct ratio may be just as important for improving a person’s health and overall well being.

Foods that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids include, cereals, whole-grain breads, most vegetable oils, eggs and poultry, and baked goods.

By Best Syndication Staff


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