Fat intake and depression PART 1
What no one could have imagined in the past, now it seems that is scientifically proved, namely that, in depressed mood, the alimenttion plays an important role.
Biochemist and psychiatrist Joseph Hibbeln from the Health National Institute in Washington, D.C., USA, argues that there is the danger of multiplicating depressive states by the consumption of fats that should be avoided. This courageous and radical idea is supported by a increasingly number of psychiatrists and biochemists.
Actually, the problem is very serious. At least in the industrial countries, depressed moods produce more work days lost than any other disease. The nervous depression is also a world danger . In England, every tenth person suffers from nervous depression, and in one from 20, this condition lasts for life.
In the US, those who were born after the second World War have a twice higher risk to do have this illness than their parents, and the age at which it begins to manifest is constantly decreasing. But in addition to the danger that it represents for health, the affection is also very expensive. In 2000, in England, were prescribed 22 million recipes with antidepressants, amounting 300 million pounds. The expenses for depressed moods along with losses in production sums up annual over 8 billion sterling pounds.
Naturally, there are drugs that treat depression, however, despite decades of research, the understanding of the disease is very brief.
All agree that has multiple causes, which genes plays a role as well as environmental factors. With all the tendency to encapsulate in one category all those who have similar symptoms, it seems that the depressive state is not a unique disease, which explains the hardness to prescribe the suitable drug therapy and that some do not respond favorably to any medicine.
Knowing the fact that in the human brain there is a large amount of fats and that these fats can be modified by diet, Hibbeln claims that the way the composition of fats which enter the brain can influence our mental health.
It is known that the dietary fats can damage the health in other ways too. Thus, saturated fats, mostly of animal origin, are implicated in various cancer forms, in particular breast and large intestine cancer, as in the emergence of atherosclerosis. On the other hand, it has been found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can improve the prognosis of those suffering from coronary disease.
Food industry development, after the first World War, produced dramatic changes in the alimentation. Was inserted the use of soybean oil, corn germ, palm and cotton seeds, which along with sunflower oil, contains large disproportionately amounts of linoleic acid, a omega-6fatty acid, and very small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (for example, alpha-linolenic acid). This imbalance was exacerbated by the oils hydrogenation to produce margarine.
In the US, soybean oil consumption, per person, it’s 11 kg per year, an increase of 1,000 times in 100 years. As such or as margarine, soybean oil represents, at the moment, 83% of the total amount of fats consumed.
Instead, are used too few foods rich in omega-3fatty acids, such as nuts, olives, avocados, olive oil, flaxseeds, wheat germ, rapeseed, spinach and other vegetables. Consequently, feeding with sunflower oil or soy contains 16 to 20 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3, compared to the conditions 100 years ago. And in what way influences this imbalance of fatty acids the composition of brain that alter mental health?
First, fats can influence the intracerebral signaling. In order to penetrate into cells, any chemical subtnce and any signal must cross the cell membrane, composed almost entirely from fat, 20% of which are essential fatty acids. In these membranes exist ion channels, extremely fine and with very complex shapes. By changing the shape, they can allow signals crossing or they can stop it.