There are many hypothesis that omega 3 fat acids are important for the development of depression. There are also studies showing that the levels of the two most important omega 3 fat acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) decreases in red blood cells with depression.
Now there are a number of randomized, double-blind studies that suggest that omega 3 could also have some effect in the treatment of depression, at least for some patients. The studies are consistently small, often with only 20 to 30 patients, and have varying patient populations and treatments which differ widely in terms of the balance of EPA and DHA.
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In six of the eight studies in the treatment of depression with omega-3 has been shown more effective than by using placebo. There have also been occasional positive studies in bipolar disorder and perinatal depression. But there are also a lot of studies that did not show any effect at all, but no studies have been showing that the placebo is better than omega 3, which could possibly indicate a small and elusive treatment effect.
It is also proposed mechanisms for how omega 3 fat acids could be important for the development of depression. Omega 3 is a building block of all cell membranes and is important to the receptors and cell permeability of various molecules, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Once again an additional intake of Omega 3 has been shown to have health benifits.
A study in Sweden shows that children who are regularly eating more fish are 5-12% more intelligent than those who do not. Guys that are 15 years old that eat fish once a week was three years later six percent smarter than their peers who did not eat fish once per week. For the guys who had fish twice as often were around twelve percent smarter than their peers according to a survey of nearly 4,000 teenage boys.
The boys had the age of 15 participated in a survey of eating habits. The results were then compared with the intelligence tests conducted at enrollment into the military in the age of 18.
– No matter how we twist and turn in the results as they stand here ready linkages firm, says Professor Kjell Torén at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
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The results and intelligence improvements also seems true even taking into account socio-economic factors, housing standards, parental education, adolescent health, exercise habits and weight.
That fish in the diet promotes the positive development of the nervous system in both children and adults is well known from several other studies. Even the early development of chilren in their mothers belly they can be affected if the mother eats higher amounts of fish. But this is the first study that investigated the effect on teenagers.
The reason may theoretically as well be that intelligent people are eating more fish, not that the fish made them more intelligent. But the study is interesting and there is a reasonable biological explanation. Fish is rich in omega 3 fat, which is known to be lacking in modern Western diet.
This study further proves that adding additional Omega 3 to your diet is benefitial and would give you additional health benefits. You could also get these benefits by eating additional fish, but that would require very high amounts of fish.