Omega-3 fatty acid intake and depression in adolescents

January 01, 0001

Omega-3 fatty acid intake and depression in adolescents

Some data has suggested that dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in depression. These Japanese researchers examined the association between dietary fish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake and depressive symptoms in adolescents via a cross-sectional study conducted in junior high schools in Okinawa, Japan. They enrolled 3067 boys and 3450 girls aged 12 to 15 years (52.3% of the eligible sample). Diet was measured by using a validated, self-administered diet-history questionnaire. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, and was considered positive if the score was 16 or greater.

The researchers found: "The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 22.5% for boys and 31.2% for girls. For boys, fish intake was inversely associated with depressive symptoms (adjusted odds ratio {OR} for depressive symptoms in the highest {compared with the lowest} quintile of intake: 0.73). EPA intake showed an inverse association with depressive symptoms (OR: 0.71). DHA intake also showed a similar inverse, albeit nonsignificant, association (OR: 0.79). In addition, intake of EPA plus DHA was inversely associated with depressive symptoms (OR: 0.72). Conversely, no such associations were observed among girls."

The researchers concluded: "Higher intake of fish, EPA, and DHA was independently associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in early male, but not female, adolescents."

This study suggests that levels of dietary intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids may be inversely related to depressive symptoms in adolescents, although more study is needed.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 126(3):e623-e630, September 2010
© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics.
Fish and n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake and Depressive Symptoms: Ryukyus Child Health Study. Kentaro Murakami, Yoshihiro Miyake, Satoshi Sasaki, Keiko Tanaka, Masashi Arakawa.

Category: P. Psychological, T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional. Keywords: omega-3, EPA, DHA, depression, adolescents, icross-sectional study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 28 September 2010

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