Fish Oil fatty acids treat the symptoms of depression in the elderly

October 19, 2012
In this new study researchers led by Professor Angela Rizzo of the University of Milan tested the effects of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids in 46 depressed women aged 66 to 95 using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Twenty-two of the women received 833mg DHA and 1666mg EPA (the fats from fish oil capsules and twenty-four of the women received inactive placebo daily for eight-weeks. Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and EPA and DHA are omega 3 fatty acids. There is a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the body and if there is excessive omega 6 to omega 3 it can lead to inflammation and contribute to disease. As the ratio of arachidonic acid to omega 3 fatty acids improved so did the symptoms of depression. Some immune factors that are associated with depression also improved in the study. Besides showing that a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is healthy for the brain and correlates with decreasing the symptoms of depression in the elderly the study also showed that reducing inflammation of the brain is part of the amelioration of depression in the elderly. The study is published online October 12th, 2012 in Nutrition Journal