View Full Version : Omega 3’s- Key thoughts

03-05-2010, 04:37 PM
Omega -3 Fatty Acids and Athletics
Current Sports Medicine Reports
July 2007, 6:230-236
The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Washington, D.C., USA
Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D.
(She is Geneticist. And yes, I know the name doesn’t seem like a female name)

Key points
1. The human diet has had major changes in the past 150 years, yet the genetic profile has changed very little, if any, in the past 10,000 to 15,000 years.
2. Human beings evolved consuming a diet that contained about equal amounts of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids.
3. Today in Western diets, the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids ranges from approx 10:1 to 20:1 instead of the traditional range of 1:1 to 2:1.
4. Excessive free radical formation and trauma during high-intensity exercise leads to an inflammatory state that is made worse by the increased amount of n-6 fatty acids in Western diets, although this can be counteracted by the n-3 fish oils eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
5. Most athletes should include 1 to 2 grams a day of EPA/DHA fish oil.
6. The ratio of EPA-DHA should be 2:1
7. “Diet and exercise are essential components for health”
8. “N-3 fatty acids are essential for normal growth and development and play an important role in the prevention and management of coronary heart disease (CHD), and are beneficial in the management of hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, and cancer.”
9. Ingestion of EPA and DHA from fish or fish oil leads to: A) Decreased production of Prostaglandin E2 B) Decreased concentrations of thromboxane A2, a potent platelet aggregator and vasoconstrictor
C) Decreased formation of leukotriene B4, an inducer of inflammation.
10. The increased amounts of n-6 fatty acids in the Western diet increase the eicosanoid metabolic products from arachidonic acid, specifically prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes, hydorxy fatty acids, and lipoxins. Eicosapentaenoic fish oil is the primary inhibitor of this arachidonic cascade.
11. The Eicosanoids from arachidonic acid contribute to the formation of thrombi, atheromas, and the development of allergic and inflammatory disorders.
12. A diet rich in n-6 fatty acids increases in blood viscosity, vasospasm, and vasoconstriction.
13.. “Fatty acids rapidly and directly alter the transcription of specific genes.”
14. The effects of n-3 fatty acids and physical activity are similar and are “opposite of those of the effects of the aging process.”
15. “N-3 fatty acids are essential for overall health of the athlete.”
16. Both n-3 fatty acids and exercise increase the production of endogenous antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, glutathione peroxides dismutase.
17. Both n-3 fatty acids and exercise increase oxygen delivery to the heart muscle “so that the heart does not have to work as hard to get the oxygen it needs for work.”
18. During exercise there is an increase in the generation of free radicals.
19. Fish oil concentrates rich in EPA and DHA counteract the effects of the inflammatory state.
20. “The background diet should be balanced in n-6 and n-3 fatty acids by lowering n-6-rich oils. (lowering intake of n-6 oils such as corn oil, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils”
21. “Changes and improvements in the background diet and an additional 1-2 grams a day of EPA/DHA should prevent the inflammation in muscles and joints. For the elite athlete, the above prophylactic measures are essential.”
22. “Dietary fish oil supplementation has a markedly protective effect in suppressing exercised-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) in elite athletes, and this is most likely attributed to the EPA/DHA anti-inflammatory properties.”
23. “Essential fatty acids, both n-6 and n-3, have been part of our diet since the beginning of human life. Before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, humans consumed about equal amounts of both. Over the past 150 years this balance has been upset.”
24. “Eicosanoids derived from n-6 fatty acids have opposing metabolic properties to those derived from n-3 fatty acids. A balanced intake of both n-6 and n-3 fatty acids is essential for health.”
25. Both n-3 fatty acids and exercise increase basal metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, nitric oxide production, erythrocyte deformability, heart rate variability, and bone density, and decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome, bone fractures, platelet aggregation, and depression.
26. “In the athletic setting, the n-3 fatty acids are essential for overall health of the athlete.”

03-05-2010, 04:45 PM
Great article doctor. Thanks

03-07-2010, 11:32 PM
Surgical Neurology
65 (April 2006) 326-331

Joesph Charles Maroon, M.D. (Neurosurgeon for the Pittsburg Steelers)
Jeffrey W. Bost, PAC-Both of these authors are from the Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Key points
1. The use of NSAIDS is associated with extreme complications, including gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarction, stroke, and even death.
2. In this study, after 75 days on fish oil, 59% of patients who were taking NSAIDS for chronic spinal pain and who had degenerative spine disease, were able to discontinue their prescription NSAIDs, and 88% stated they were satisfied with their improvement and that they would continue to take the fish oil.
3. In this study, fish oil supplementation was not associated with any significant side effects.
4. “Omega-3 EFA fish oil supplements appear to be safer alternative to NSAIDs for treatment of nonsurgical neck or back pain.”
5. “More than 70 million NSAID prescriptions are written each year, and 30 billion over-the-counter NSAID tablets are sold annually.”
6. “5% to 10% of the adult US population and approximately 14% of the elderly rountinely use NSAIDs for pain control.”
7. Selling NSAIDs is a 9 billion dollar per year US industry.
8. Prescription NSAIDs for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis alone conservatively cause 16,500 deaths per year.
9. “NSAIDs are the most common cause of drug related morbidity and mortality reported to the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world”
10. “The agent best documented by hundreds of references in the literature for its anti-inflammatory effects is omega-3 EFA’s found in fish and in pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements”
11. The beneficial anti-inflammatory affects of high-dose fish oil include the reduction of joint pain from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, improvement in dry eyes and macular degeneration, reduced plague formation, reduced arrhythmias, and reduced infarction from coronary athrosclerosis.
12. Both natural and synthetic corticosteroids decreased healing capabilities, decreased the normal immune response, and have significant bone and gastric side effects.
13. COX-2 inhibitors significantly increase gastric and cardiovascular side effects.
14. Omega-3 DHA and EPA are used to make the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (PGE3), where as excess omega-6 EFAs form inflammatory arachidonic acid based eicosanoids (PGE2).
15. “Animal proteins, especially red meat, also contain an abundant amount of arachidonic acid.”
16. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, will result in a deficiency of anti-imflammatory prostaglandins.
17. The delta-5 desaturase enzyme is the gatekeeper to inflammation and is increased from elevated levels of insulin….from being diabetic, consuming refined carbs, or consuming any high fructose corn syrup.
18. “To encourage the production of anti-inflammatory PGs and to discourage the production of inflammatory PGs, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, and arachidonic acid should be reduced in the diet; blood glucose should be controlled; and appropriate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils should be consumed.”
19. Omega 3 supplementation is safe and effective for many inflammation-related conditions and has a low incidence of side effects.
20. NSAIDs inhibit the effectiveness of fish oil producing anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
21. “The US Department of Agriculture has limited fish consumption to 1 fish serving per week in adults and even less in children and pregnant women because of the concern of toxic contaminants such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxin in our fish population.”
22. These authors did not recommend the fish oil for those on anticoagulants or fish related allergies, but noted “aspirin use was not a contraindication”.

Below are some good books to check out.

Omega-3 books-(These are also good books on overall health!)
1. Omega-3 Connection by Andrew Stoll, Simon & Schuster, 2001
2. Medicinal Fatty Acids in Inflammation, edited by Joel Kremer (Professor of Medicine and Head of Rheumatology at Albany Medical College, New York), (Birkhauswer Verlag), 1998 (Technical Biochemical reference book $131.00)
3. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus, Alive books, 1993
4. The Omega Zone, by Barry Sears, Regan Books, 2002
5. Fish oil, The Natural Anti-inflammatory, Joseph Maroon, M.D., Basic Health, 2006
6. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter Willett and The Harvard School of Public Health, Simon & Schuster, 2001
7. Healthy Fats For Life, by Lorna Vanderhaeghe and Karlene Karst, Wiley, 2004
8. The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet, Evelyn Tribole, McGraw Hill, 2007
9. The Queen of Fats, Why omega-3s Were Removed From the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them, Susan Allport, University of Calif. Press, 2006
10. Your Miracle Brain by Jean Carper, Harper Collins, 2000
11. The Better Brain Book, by David Perlmutter, M.D., Riverhead Books, 2004
12. Brain Lipids and Disorders in Biological Psychiatry, ER Skinnner (Ed.), Elsevier Science, 2002
13. Phospholipid Spectrum Disorders In Psychiatry and Neurology, edited by Malcolm Peet, Iain Glenn, David Horrobin, Marlus Press, 2003
14. The Anti-Inflammation Zone, by Barry Sears, Ph.D, Reagan books, 2004
15. Inflammation Nation, by Floyd Chilton, Fireside Books, 2005
16. The Antioxidant Miracle by Lester Packer, Wiley, 1999
17. The Schwartzbein Principle, by Diana Schwartzbein, M.D., 1999
18. The LCP Solution, by B. Jacqueline Stordy, Ballantine Books, 2000
19. The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain, Wiley 2002

03-08-2010, 12:13 AM
Journal of Pain

May 2007 129(1-2), pp. 210-223
Robert J. Goldberg and Joel Katz
A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation from inflammatory joint pain

Key points
1.. “Between 40% and 60% of Americans use complementary and alternative medicine to manage medical conditions, prevent disease, and promote health and well being.”
2. 33% of those who use complementary medicine cite pain as the primary reason.
3. “Supplementation with n-3 PUFAs for 3-4 months reduces patient reported joint pain intensity, minutes of morning stiffness, number of painful and/or tender joints, and NSAID consumption.”
4. Omega-3 PUFAs are an adjunctive treatment for joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and dysmenorrhea
5. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with gastrointestinal bleeding and myocardial infarction.
6. “The typical North American diet is very low in EPA and DHA and conversion is limited from dietary alpha-linolenic acid, found in vegetable oils, to EPA/DHA.
7. Fish oil is a rich source of long-chain n-3 PUFAs EPA and DHA.
8. “In humans, supplementation with fish oil, or EPA/DHA capsules, increases the incorporation of n-3 PUFAs into phospholipids, conferring anti-inflammatory effects.”
9. The therapeutic effects of n-3 PUFAs usually manifest after approximately 3 months, and “taking n-3 PUFA supplementation for 2 months or less would not benefit significantly.”(So there is a 2-4 month window to see results people…hang in there and give your body time to use this stuff…it will be worth it for overall health)-emphasis mine
10. Studies that provided high-dose (more than 2.7 grams a day of EPA and DHA) n-3 PUFAs showed greater improvements in morning stiffness and number of painful and/or tender joints compared to low dose n-3 PUFAs.
11. “The results of the present meta-analysis support the hypothesis that n-3 PUFA supplementation improves pain outcomes after three months, particularly with respect to patient assessed pain, duration of morning stiffness, number of painful and/ or tender joints, and {reduced} NSAID consumption.”
12. “Significant improvements were noted in patient assessed pain and morning stiffness among studies providing high-dose but not low dose n-3 PUFAs.”
13. “Reducing the intake of n-6 fatty acids (e.g., linoleic acid), which are metabolized to arachidonic acid and inflammatory eicosandoids, would be expected to increase the effectiveness of the n-3 PUFA supplements.”
14. EPA/DHA supplements may also be useful for other types of chronic inflammatory pain, such as osteoarthritis or chronic back pain.
15. Alpha-linolenic acid [flax seed oil,etc.] is poorly converted to EPA and DHA.

03-10-2010, 12:13 PM
Dietary intake of fatty acids and fish in relation to cognitive performance at middle age (http://adjust2it.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/132/)

NEUROLOGY January 27, 2004;62:275-280, S. Kalmijn, MD PhD, M. P.J. van Boxtel, MD PhD, M. Ocké, PhD, W. M.M., Verschuren, PhD, D. Kromhout, PhD and L. J. Launer, PhD

1) Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid improve cognitive function and speed.
2) Moderate fish consumption with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake reduces the risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer disease.
3) High dietary cholesterol and saturated fat intake is significantly associated with an increased risk of impaired cognitive function.
4) Increased antioxidant intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia.
5) Omega-3s help the brain because they are anti-inflammatory and increase the neuroplasticity of nerve membranes. Inflammatory processes are involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive decline.
6) Olive oil, the omega-6 fat linolenic acid, and the omega-3 fat found in plant sources like flax and hemp oil (alpha-linolenic acid), are NOT associated with improved cognitive function. Strict vegetarians should be aware of this.

Objective: To examine the associations of fatty acid and fish intake with cognitive function.
Methods: Data are from a cross-sectional population-based study among 1,613 subjects ranging from 45 to 70 years old.
>From 1995 until 2000, an extensive cognitive battery was administered and compound scores were constructed for memory, psychomotor speed, cognitive flexibility (i.e., higher order information processing), and overall
cognition. A self-administered food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess habitual food consumption.
The risk of impaired cognitive function according to the energy-adjusted intake of fatty acids was assessed with logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, and energy intake.
Results: Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) were inversely related to the risk of impaired overall cognitive function and speed.
Higher dietary cholesterol intake was significantly associated with an increased risk of impaired memory and flexibility.

Conclusions: Fatty fish and marine omega-3 PUFA consumption was associated with a reduced risk and intake of cholesterol and saturated fat with an increased risk of impaired cognitive function in this middle-aged

Dietary factors influence cognitive function and subsequently the risk of dementia.
Antioxidant intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia.
Saturated fat and cholesterol intake are associated with a higher risk of dementia.
Moderate fish consumption with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake is related to a reduced risk of dementia, in particular Alzheimer disease (AD).
³This association may be attributable to several mechanisms, such as an anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 PUFA, a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, or an increase in the neuroplasticity of nerve membranes.²
The preclinical or subclinical phase of declining cognitive function precedes clinically apparent AD by decades.
³For the present study we used data on intake of fatty fish, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), PUFA, the most important omega-6 PUFA (linoleic acid), and the three most important
omega-3 PUFA (docosahexaenoic acid [DHA], eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], and alpha-linolenic acid).²
³Cognitive function was assessed using a neuropsychological test battery measuring global cognitive function and specific cognitive domains, such as memory function, speed of cognitive processes, and cognitive flexibility, which consisted of higher order information processing and complex speed tasks.²

³The adjusted mean daily intake of fatty fish and the marine omega-3 PUFA (EPA and DHA) was lower among subjects with impairment in overall cognition.²
³Higher dietary cholesterol intake was significantly associated with an increased risk of impaired memory and flexibility.²
There was no clear association between the intake of total PUFA, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and MUFA and cognitive function. [THIS IS IMPORTANT: it indicates that the mono-fats in olive oil, the omega-6 fat linolenic acid, and the omega-3 fat found in plant sources like flax and hemp oil (alpha-linolenic acid), were not associated with improved cognitive function.]
There was significant for the relation between increased cholesterol intake and reduced cognition, speed, and flexibility.

³This population-based study among middle-aged men and women showed that dietary cholesterol and to a lesser extent saturated fatty acid intake were associated with an increased risk of impaired cognitive function.²
³Fatty fish and EPA and DHA consumption were associated with a decreased risk of cognitive impairment.²
³These associations were independent of differences in age, sex, education, smoking, total energy intake, and cardiovascular risk factors.²
³MUFA, total PUFA, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and total fat intakes were not clearly related to cognitive function.² [This is very important. Recall that alpha-linolenic acid is the plant based omega-3 fatty acid found in flax and hemp oil.]
³Various studies showed that subjects with mild cognitive impairment progressed to dementia or AD at a rate of 10 to 15% per year.²
³The most consistent findings from epidemiologic and clinical studies so far seem to be that cholesterol and (saturated) fat are positively and fish and marine omega-3 PUFA inversely associated with dementia and cognitive impairment.²
³A high dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis, and thus possibly also of cognitive impairment, whereas omega-3 PUFA may be inversely associated with impaired cognitive function because they lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke.²
Processing speed is one of the best early preclinical signs of AD, and fish and the marine omega-3 PUFA were predominantly associated with processing speed.
³Marine omega-3 PUFA may affect speed and cognition through inflammation, because they act as anti-inflammatory agents by inhibiting the synthesis of cytokines and mitogens.²
³Neuropathologic and epidemiologic evidence is accumulating that inflammatory processes are involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive decline.²
³Further hypotheses on the effect of marine omega-3 PUFA concern membrane fluidity, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity.²

03-13-2010, 01:08 AM
Omega 3’s- Key thoughts

Your prime objective for consuming Omega 3 should be to get DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) into your body.

The scientific evidence supporting the benefits of DHA are now overwhelming.

DHA is much more important than EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) which is the major Omega 3 component of most fish oils.

The explanation as to why DHA is the most important substance is somewhat technical and not possible to explain in this short article.

Not all Omega 3’s will provide you with DHA and EPA.
That is because these essential fatty acids are not present in a lot of Omega 3 products.

For example….ground flax seed is an excellent oil for certain uses and contains Omega 3’s but does not actually contain any DHA or EPA at all.

Flaxseed contains alpha linolenic acid, which your body has to convert to DHA and EPA.

For the elderly this conversion process does NOT work very well.

Itis estimated that most adults would have to consume 10 – 40 grams of flaxseed oil to produce just 0.2 grams of DHA.

So, if you want to get the proven benefits of DHA don’t rely on getting your Omega 3’s from vegetable oils such as flaxseed.

There is however now some products being produced from algae which contain good levels of DHA and do not require the body to convert the ALA to the DHA. But, they are still not readily available and they are very expensive.

The best source of DHA is from fish oil. However, there are some drawbacks with many fish oils:
The amount of DHA is low in most fish oils. A typical level is 12% DHA and 18% EPA. The popular ’salmon’ oils (which are not really salmon) are usually of the 12/18 type.

Many oils on the market today are from questionable sources and some have high levels of heavy metals or other contaminants such as PCB’s.

Use fish oils which have been molecularly distilled, or are from impeccable sources with a reliable certificate of analysis.
This basically rules out any oil, which is processed from fish caught in the Northern Hemisphere.

Most fish oils are of the triglyceride form, which does not easily pass through the cell membranes.

Some suppliers of fish oil claim that it does not matter that the EPA is higher than the DHA because the body will convert part of the EPA to DPA.

This is TRUE but like the conversion of ALA to DHA the percentage of conversion is very low.

This is due in part to the high consumption of Omega 6 in the typical Western diet.

Enzymes needed for the conversion are in ’short supply’ in the bodies of those people who have a reasonably high level of Omega 6 intake (via vegetable oils).
This is because the enzymes needed are ‘used up’ in having to deal with the processing of Omega 6 oils.
As a result, the conversion in most people is quite negligible which further supports ingesting the DHA directly.

MOST fish oils are in the triglyceride forms. A triglyceride consists of 3 fatty acids attached to a glycerol backbone. It does not pass easily through the cell membrane as it is changed. It also requires two enzyme steps to ‘release’ its fatty acids. Sometimes because of the structure of the triglycerides the fatty acids are not released but rather stay attached to the glycerol backbone.

IF IF IF IF the oil is esterified during the concentration and purification processes the resulting substance can easily enter the body’s cell membranes.

The esterified molecule has no charge and only requires one enterase enzyme to release the fatty acid. (DHA). This enables the body to use it as an immediate energy source, or store it for later use.

To receive the many benefits of DHA you need to do as follows:

1. Find a source of fish oil that is high in DHA or alternatively be prepared to take much higher doses of conventional fish oil.

2. Ensure that the fish oil you use is molecularly distilled.

3. Try to find the oil in the Ester form for better bio-availability.

03-21-2010, 01:49 PM
it would be nice if they were forced to listed the level of heavy metals in the product

03-22-2010, 09:47 PM
European Neuropsychopharmacology 13 (2003) 267­271-Kuan-Pin Su , Shih-Yi Huang , Chih-Chiang Chiu , Winston W. Shen

Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder
A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial


1) Patients with depression have significantly low levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

2) This study USED 9.6 G/day of omega-3 PUFAs with a ratio of EPA/DHA of 2/1.

3) The omega-3 PUFA group had a significantly decreased depression scores than those in the placebo group.

4) Brain cell membranes are composed of certain PUFAs, which cannot be synthesized and must be obtained from the diet.

5) Abnormalities of PUFA composition in cell membranes alter membrane structure, causing abnormal signal transduction and altered immunological function.

6) It is EPA that inhibits cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzymes. (Recall the Cox enzymes convert the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid to pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).z )

7) It is EPA that inhibits phosphlipase A2 enzymes. (Recall, phosphlipase A2 cleaves the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid from cell membranes, especially traumatized cell membranes, preceding their conversion
to PGE2 by Cox enzymes. )

8) It is DHA that builds nerve cell membranes and synapses, and increases the production of serotonin and dopamine.

9) Omega-3 PUFAs inhibit the arachidonic acid cascade to PGE2 by Cox enzymes.

10) Pharmaceutical companies are not interested in omega-3 PUFA research because these products are ³non-patentable.²

11) Omega-3 PUFAs are safe and lack of teratogenicity.


Patients with depression have been extensively reported to be associated with the abnormality of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including significantly low eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in cell tissue contents (red blood cell membrane, plasma, etc.) and dietary intake.

However, more evidence is needed to support its relation.
In this study, we conducted an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, comparing omega-3 PUFAs (9.6 g/day) with placebo, on the top of the usual treatment, in 28 patients with major depressive disorder.

Patients in the omega-3 PUFA group had a significantly decreased score on the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression than those in the placebo group.

From the preliminary findings in this study, omega-3 PUFAs could improve the short-term course of illness and were well tolerated in patients with major depressive disorder.


³WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that major depressive disorder will become the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020, which is only second to ischemic heart disease, and the leading cause in developing regions.²

Societies with a high consumption of fish, which contain more omega-3 PUFAs, have a lower prevalence of major depressive disorders.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been reported to be effective in treatment of various psychiatric disorders.

A mixture of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a high dosage was effective in a case of a pregnant schizophrenic woman.

EPA has been reported to have positive effects for patients with schizophrenia in several studies.

Omega-3 PUFAs can improve the 4-month course of illness in patients with bipolar disorder.

Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids are derived from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3n-3).

Omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids are derived from linoleic acid (LA; 18:2n-6).
³We know that cerebral cell membranes are composed of certain PUFAs, which cannot be synthesized and must be obtained from the diet.²

³Abnormalities of PUFA composition in cell membranes can alter membrane microstructure, and then result in abnormal signal transduction and immunological regulation.²

In depressive disorders, the major abnormality is lower membrane omega-3 PUFAs, including significant decrease of EPA and DHA levels.

In this study, the ³hypothesis is that giving a high dosage of DHA and EPA is effective when treating depressive symptoms.²

In this study, placebo responders were excluded.

Study participants were randomized to receive five identical gelatin capsules containing either omega-3 fatty acids or placebo (olive) twice daily.

Each capsule of omega-3 fatty acid contained 440 mg of eicosapentanoic acid (C20:5n-3) and 220 mg of docosahexanoic acid (C22:6n-3). [2:1 ratio]
[660 mg/ capsule X 10 capsules per day = 6,600 mg / day]

All capsules were deodorize, amended by blending with orange flavor, and supplemented with and tocopherols, 2 mg/g, as antioxidants.


³Participants in omega-3 PUFA group had significant differences in the HRSD (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression). score from the fourth week after treatment.²

³The percentage of reducing HRSD total scores in omega-3 PUFA group was significantly much greater than that of in placebo group.²

No participants had ³any major adverse effects, such as abnormal bleeding time.²


The findings in this study provides a ³rationale perspective to conduct further large-scale trials of omega-3 PUFAs monotherapy² for depressive illness.

³It is interesting to notice that EPA, but not DHA, improves schizophrenic symptoms and major depressive disorder as well.²

³Furthermore, EPA, but not DHA, has been reported to be an effective substrate for cyclooxygenase [Cox] and inhibitor for phosphlipase A2, which may play an important role in psychophysiology of depression.

However, other studies suggest that deficiency of DHA is more prominent than that of EPA.

³EPA exists with a very small quantity in neuronal membranes, while DHA is a major constituent of neuronal membrane phospholipid, and it plays an important role in functioning of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

The mechanism of omega-3 PUFA augmentation effect depression is still unknown.

³One of the hypotheses is that omega-3 PUFAs can normalize the altered membrane microstructure and neurotransmission in patients with depression.

³The changes in brain fatty acid concentration, induced by chronic dietary omega-3 fatty acid deficiency alter serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission and induces an increases in 5-HT.²

³The other hypothesis is that omega-3 PUFAs play an important role in the mechanism of mood stabilization by targeting parts of the Œarachidonic acid cascade¹².

³Although there is not much incentive for pharmaceutical companies to support a research of a non-patentable compound, such as omega-3 PUFAs, further data collection are crucial for both humanistic and scientific
reasons because omega-3 PUFAs are favorable for the safety and lack of teratogenicity.²

³Hopefully, the clinical trial of omega-3 PUFAs may help shed some light on the understanding of the disease pathophysiology of major depressive disorder and may benefit special psychiatric populations, such as pregnant
and lactating women.²

07-20-2011, 10:45 AM
i agree.. omega 3 is a heavyweight in its own field, great info, thanks

07-21-2011, 07:02 AM
Hi drfunction.......I have found your article really informative as it is really effective for me . It is full of learning about omega 3 which is really essential for us .

07-23-2011, 03:30 AM
Hi drfunction.......I have found your article really informative as it is really effective for me . It is full of learning about omega 3 which is really essential for us .

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