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Depression, Mood & Stress

Depression is characterised by unhappy feelings of hopelessness. Depression can be a response to a number of different factors including stressful events, hormonal imbalances and biochemical abnormalities. Most of us will suffer from depression some time in our lives and if it is mild, the depression will pass quickly and is unlikely to require diagnosis or treatment.

However, depression sometimes develops into a recurrent, constant, or severe condition, in which case it needs to be properly diagnosed by a medical practitioner who may be able to locate it's cause and offer a range of treatments from counseling to medication.

For those of us who suffer from recurrent or constant depression there are also many complementary, self-help therapies which may be used in combination with medical advice and conventional medicine.

Amongst the many complementary therapies advocated in depression, nutrition can form a useful part of the complete solution.

Decreased Omega-3 fatty acid levels have been reported in patients with depression, schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease.

Recently, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has been used to treat several psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases due to its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

A total of six out of seven clinical trials have shown that EPA significantly improved depressive symptoms when compared with the placebo-treated populations.

Several investigations have also reported that EPA could effectively treat schizophrenia. A case report and a clinical trial have shown that EPA was beneficial for the management of most symptoms of Huntington's disease, while a more extensive clinical investigation has demonstrated that EPA could only improve motor functions.

Essential Reading

The Natural Way to Beat Depression: The Groundbreaking Discovery of EPA to Change Your Life by Dr Basant Puri

Based on the latest cutting-edge research, this book uncovers the pioneering discovery of EPA as an effective treatment of - even the most severe- depression. More...

Essential Fatty Acids - EPA Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids may play an important part in many conditions involving low or unstable mood, such as depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depression). Whilst these are recognised medical conditions, all of them also show some degree of continuity with traits that are common in the general population. Trials have shown significant improvements in the mood of depressed patients, following supplementation with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) - an omega-3 fatty acid.

Here are signs of possible EPA deficiency:

  • Mood often changes quickly and drastically
  • Easily frustrated
  • Emotionally oversensitive
  • Tendency to 'overdo and over-react', and then become over-fatigued
  • Prone to a negative outlook on life
  • Click here to see a more indepth listing

At least four studies have reported a reduced blood level of omega-3 fatty acids in people with depression.(see refs 1,2,3,4)

Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acid:

  • Oily fish (e.g sardines, tuna, salmon, pilchards, anchovies) and fish livers (e.g. cod liver oil)


  1. Maes M, Smith R, Christophe A, et al. Fatty acid composition in major depression: decreased omega 3 fractions in cholesteryl esters and increased C20: 4 omega 6/C20:5 omega 3 ratio in cholesteryl esters and phospholipids. J Affect Disord 1996;38:3546.
  2. Edwards R, Peet M, Shay J, Horrobin D. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the diet and in red blood cell membranes of depressed patients. J Affect Disord 1998;48:14955.
  3. Peet M, Murphy B, Shay J, Horrobin D. Depletion of omega-3 fatty acid levels in red blood cell membranes of depressive patients. Biol Psychiatry 1998;43:3159.
  4. Maes M, Christophe A, Delanghe J, et al. Lowered omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum phospholipids and cholesteryl esters of depressed patients. Psychiatry Res 1999;85:27591.
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Uncovers the pioneering discovery of EPA as an effective treatment of - even the most severe- depression. .
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