The role of the omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid in clinical depression, Nina Bailey, ‘The Nutrition Practitioner’, Spring Issue 2011
Clinical depression, characterised by alterations in mood and cognition and with disease severity correlating inversely with cognition scores, is the most common psychiatric disorder, and is thought to affect around one in five people during their lifetime. Neuropathology can be found abundantly in the limbic system, which is thought to regulate and affect attention and memory. Hypothalamic -Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis overdrive, inflammation and decreased serotonin levels, are implicated in the pathogenesis of this illness. The majority of antidepressants, and other prescription drugs used in the treatment of clinical depression, can cause side effects severe enough to influence compliance to the treatment. Not surprisingly, the demand for a safe and efficacious alternative to current pharmaceuticals is of marked interest to both patients and practitioners. With the increasing recognition that omega-3 deficiencies are a predominant feature of clinical depression, supplementation with specific long chain fatty acids as a viable treatment option for in the treatment of depression is the focus of many peer-reviewed studies.