Omega 3 fatty acids can ease the symptoms of conditions from high blood pressure to Alzheimer's. Researchers are wondering if those compounds also can help out people like Bari Robinson, who suffered from depression for years.
"It's like a feeling of being down all the time – lackluster, no motivation," is how Robinson described depression.
When Robinson turned to doctors for help, they enrolled him in a study to determine if a natural supplment, like Omega 3 fatty acids, could help depression sufferers. While anti-depressants are effective treatments, they might also have side effects.
Omega 3 fatty acids work by lowering inflammation in the body, and inflammation may play a role in deperession.
"We know that inflammation in the body results in the increased synthesis of certain hormones like cortisol, and those have been associated with depression," Dr. David Mischoulon, with Massechusetts General Hospital in Boston, said.
Researchers plan to give special doses of Omega 3 fatty acids to 300 people with depression.
"Perhaps by preventing inflammation, they can also counteract any influences that cause depression," Mischoulon said.
Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids include mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. For those not wild about fish, supplements can be found at almost every drug store.
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