Suffering from Depression? Then for You Fish may be Brain Food
New research shows that the oil found in cold-water fish may be the key to treating Depression
About 19 million Americans suffer from depression making it the most common serious psychiatric illness in the United States. 5% Americans will have at least one episode of serious depression this year. Although there are a lot of medications for depression, in many cases these medicines do not help. In addition, drugs for depression often have serious side effects. Now there is new evidence that the key to healing depression may be hidden away in the oil of certain fish. New research is coming out that EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fish, may be the key to treating depression.
"These results are very exciting," says Anthony Kane, MD from the ADD ADHD Advances web site. "Some studies show that almost 90% of depression patients are helped by these oils."
There has been a 20-fold increase in depression in the last fifty years. Searching for an explanation for this astronomic increase, researchers noticed that in countries where a large amount of fish is consumed in the diet there is a much lower rate of depression. After some investigation, the first controlled studies on fish oil began to show that this lower rate of depression may be due to EPA.
Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid. The body cannot manufacture omega-3 acids so people must get them through the diet. The richest sources of EPA are high-fat cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout.
These fatty acids play an important role in the human nervous system. They insert themselves in the membranes of nerve cells and facilitate communicate between cells. They also inhibit of cytokines, chemicals that have been shown to cause depression.
So far EPA has been found to help in many types of depression. This is significant because depression does not always respond to standard treatment. Bipolar disorder depression in particular has a 19% suicide rate and with current treatment bipolar patients have only a 50% chance of returning to normal functioning.
But omega-3 fatty acids do more than help with depression. Scientists have found them to be helpful in treating a wide variety of psychiatric disorders, including insomnia, anxiety, and certain eating disorders. And the best thing about these omega-3 oils is that they safe to take.
"Most psychiatric medications have serious side effects," says Dr. Kane. "But these omega-3 fatty acids seem to be completely safe, even in extremely high doses."
The results are so promising that many psychiatrists now recommend fish oil in conjunction with standard medical therapy when treating depression.
"This represents a major advancement in thinking," says Dr. Kane. "Psychiatrists tend to be rather conservative when it comes to natural treatments." Dr. Kane has been advocating the complementary use of medicine and natural treatments for years on his web site and in his ADD ADHD Treatment program.
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