Friday, 13 December 2013

Fish Oil Improves Mood

There's no question that women with PCOS suffer from more mood problems such as depression and anxiety than those without the syndrome. For some women, mood issues can be a result of dealing with all the problems PCOS brings: dramatic body image issues, fluctuations in blood sugar, loss of control over weight, difficulty managing the syndrome, infertility, and lack of support. Mood problems can also be brought on by hormone imbalances. There is some good news for the millions of women who struggle with mood problems: omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the kind that come from fish, may help manage mood.


About Fish Oil
The two main types of fish oils are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All of us need these omega-3 fats from our diets as our bodies can't make them. That's why they are referred as essential fatty acids. Fish oil is preferred to plant-based omega-3's (flaxseed, canola oil) because our bodies use them best. Women with PCOS benefit from fish oil as it has been found to be effective at improving ovulation, triglycerides, insulin resistance and inflammation. Click here to read more about fish oil's important role in PCOS.

Fish Oil's Role in Depression
The topic of omega-3 fatty acid's role in depression and mood was presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last month. Here is some of the information on fish oil and depression discussed:

Geographic areas that have a higher intake of omega-3 fats have lower rates of depression.
Depressed individuals have been found to have depleted levels of DHA and EPA.
Studies using fish oil show significant improvement in depression compared to placebo.

Both the presenters and the American Psychological Association recommend those with mood disorders take 1-2 grams (1,000-2,000 milligrams) per day of EPA + DHA as an adjunct treatment, to be used along with therapy and antidepressants. Government guidelines recommend eating cold-water fish twice a week, yet that amount is insufficient to reach the therapeutic amount recommended for improving mood. That's why fish oil is preferred. Despite the data, it still isn't clear if omega-3s can be used as mood stabilizers or which type of omega-3 is most beneficial. Current studies are exploring this.

Bottom line
Fish oil offers numerous benefits to women with PCOS. Women with PCOS may find that taking sufficient amounts of EPA+DHA when combined with therapy and medications, helpful to stabilize mood and improve depression.

Sources:
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Dokras A, Clifton S, Futterweit W, Wild R. Increased risk for abnormal depression scores in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jan;117(1):145-52. PubMed PMID: 21173657.

Kumarapeli V, Seneviratne Rde A, Wijeyaratne C. Health-related quality of life and psychological distress in polycystic ovary syndrome: a hidden facet in South Asian women. BJOG. 2011 Feb;118(3):319-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02799.x. Epub 2010 Dec 7. PubMed PMID: 21134104.

Mansson M, Norstrom K, Holte J, Landin-Wilhelmsen K, Dahlgren E, Landen M. Sexuality and psychological wellbeing in women with polycystic ovary syndrome compared with healthy controls. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Apr;155(2):161-5. Epub 2011 Jan 12. PubMed PMID: 21232840.

Pastore LM, Patrie JT, Morris WL, Dalal P, Bray MJ. Depression symptoms and body dissatisfaction association among polycystic ovary syndrome women. J Psychosom Res. 2011 Oct;71(4):270-6. Epub 2011 Mar 23. PubMed PMID: 21911106; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3172572.

Mischoulon D, Vannice G. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Depression and Mood Disorders: Application for Practice. Presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, Septemeber 2011.

Harris WS. Expert opinion: omega-3 fatty acids and bleeding-cause for concern? Am J Cardiol. 2007 Mar 19;99(6A):44C-46C. Epub 2006 Nov 29. Review.

Harris WS, Reid KJ, Sands SA, Spertus JA. Blood omega-3 and trans fatty acids in middle-aged acute coronary syndrome patients. Am J Cardiol. 2007 Jan 15;99(2):154-8. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

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