Fish and Flaxseed may Lessen Depression

It has been suggested by health experts that omega-3 fatty acids may help lessen depression in some people, based on some speculation that there may be a chemical link between the two.  A recent study in Taiwan confirms that.

The study

Researchers in Taiwan conducted a 10 double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients suffering from mood disorders.  A group of patients were given doses of omega-3 fatty acids, which were harvested from fish (called eicosapentaenoic acid), for four weeks or longer.

Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3.  Just like the omega-3 found in fish, another study confirms that flaxseed is somewhat effective at reducing depression.

How much omega-3?

However, other studies have not shown a correlation between the amount of omega-3 and its effect in reducing depression.  One research has shown that small dosages of omega-3 shows significant improvement in depression, but no difference occurred if this is taken in higher doses.

Different effects between fish oil and flaxseed oil

It is also noted that not all omega-3s function the same.  That same study did not use flaxseed oil in their research, which contains a type of omega-3 that the body needs to break down into more usable acids.  Fish oil, meanwhile, already contains high amounts of beneficial fatty acids and the body does not need to break them down.

Another study used flaxseed oil for bipolar patients and found out that it increased their mania while potentially decreasing the amount of depression.  It was suggested that flaxseed can be used to treat depression, but it is not recommended for those with bipolar disorder.

Although the research on flaxseed oil and depression is inconclusive, it is important to know that omega-3 can be effective in keeping you from being cranky.