July 18, 2005
EFA Supplementation May Counteract Depression
TEL AVIV, Israel
Depressionmay be associated with an imbalance of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in braincompositionspecifically between arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 EFAs,according to a study published in the June issue of Journalof Lipid Research (46, 6:1093-1096, 2005).
Researchers examined polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)composition in the brains of rats diagnosed with depression and comparedfindings with control rats fed an identical diet. In all brain regions studied, concentration of arachidonicacid (AA) was significantly higher in the depressed rats than in control rats.No significant differences in omega-3 fatty acids or saturated andmonounsaturated fatty acids were observed between depressed and control rats.Researchers concluded both AA and omega-3 fatty acids are important factors inthe pathophysiological processes underlying depression.
The finding that in the depressive rats the omega-3 fattyacid levels were not decreased, but arachidonic acid was substantially increasedas compared to controls is somewhat unexpected, said Pnina Green, M.D.,Ph.D., researcher from the University of Tel Aviv. But the finding lendsitself nicely to the theory that increased omega-3 fatty acid intake may shiftthe balance between the two fatty acid families in the brain, since it has beendemonstrated in animal studies that increased omega-3 fatty acid intake mayresult in decreased brain arachidonic acid.
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