The involvement of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) in psychological and psychiatric conditions has attracted considerable attention in the past several years. This is partly because patients with various personality and mental disorders have been reported to have low concentrations of LC-PUFAs, especially those of the omega-3 (n-3) family than people without such conditions, and because treatment with n-3 LC-PUFAs has improved symptoms in several studies. Others have reported associations between low concentrations of n-3 LC-PUFAs in red blood cells or plasma lipids and increased anger, anxiety hostiity and risk of suicide
TakeOmega3 offers 750mg EPA AND 50mg DHA and is the highest concentration of EPA currently available , it is uniquely manufactured in MHRA facilities in the UK and offers the highest concentrations at 85%. This makes this supplement the first choice for health professionals in the treatment of various mental health conditions. www.takeomega3.co.uk.Associations between n-3 LC-PUFAs and mental disorders have been more widely reported than links with n-6 PUFAs, mainly linoleic or arachidonic acids. Thus, it is unclear whether dietary intake or tissue concentrations of n-6 PUFAs are associated with the development of mental disorders or whether they simply reflect the effects of low intakes of n-3 LC-PUFAs. Because arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) sometimes have opposite effects, imbalances between these LC-PUFAs may contribute to risk.
In the cross-sectional study described here, Sarah Conklin and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA, determined whether a relationship existed between serum fatty acid concentrations and assessments of depression and neuroticism in 116 healthy volunteers recruited from the community. Participants were between the ages of 30 and 55 years (mean age 45 years) and 43% were male. Study participants were free of clinically apparent chronic diseases, psychotropic, cardiovascular or diabetic medications, fish or flax seed oil supplements and diagnosed mental disorders. All completed the neuroticism NEO Personality Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory assessments to provide information about personality characteristics and depressive symptoms. The investigators focused on neuroticism—the enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states—because its presence increases the risk of depression. Facets of neuroticism include anxiety, angry hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsivity and vulnerability. Fatty acids were analyzed in serum phospholipids.
Scores for the Beck Depression Inventory were severely skewed, so the investigators grouped the scores into 2 groups, those with no or minimal symptoms (scores ranging from 0 to 9) and those with mild to moderate symptoms (scores 10-17). The n-3 LC-PUFAs were not normally distributed, so values for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA were transformed logarithmically. Data for ARA and the NEO Inventory were normally distributed. The relationships between phospholipid fatty acid concentrations and scores for the components of neuroticism were analyzed by linear regression, controlling for age, race and gender. Depression scores were analyzed by logistic regression.
In a healthy population, higher EPA concentrations in serum phospholipids were linked to lower to neuroticism scores, a condition predisposing a person to depression. This finding supports other studies linking EPA status to depression and other mood disturbances, mainly in patient populations. However, few studies have assessed neuroticism itself, but have singled out its components, such as depression, anger and anxiety. It is noteworthy that significant associations between low EPA concentrations and 4 of the 6 facets of neuroticism were observed. The positive association between negative mood traits and mild to moderate depressive symptoms with ARA has been observed previously, but less frequently, and metabolites of the ARA cascade are thought to be involved in negative mood disorders.
A higher ratio of ARA to EPA was reported in this study and others, but alterations in both PUFAs could contribute to changes in the ratio, complicating the interpretation of such data. Western diets that provide high intakes of n-6 PUFAs, but relatively small amounts of n-3 PUFAs, especially n-3 LC-PUFAs, would foster higher ratios of ARA to EPA because the denominator is small. For several reasons, ratios of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids are not useful concepts.
Other studies of mood and mental disorders have reported that EPA may be more effective than DHA in treating patients with these conditions. The observation here that serum DHA concentrations were unrelated to neuroticism or depressive symptoms lends indirect credence to these reports. However, without a more detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in these disorders, it would be premature to conclude that only derangements of EPA metabolism were involved. This point is especially important as DHA and ARA are the primary PUFAs in neuronal membranes and significant DHA deficits in the brains of patients with major depression have been observed.
Conklin SM, Manuck SB, Yao JK, Flory JD, Hibbeln JR, Muldoon MF. High ω-6 and low ω-3 fatty acids are associated with depressive symptoms and neuroticism. Psychosom Med
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