Fat intake and depression PART 2
Fats composition, in which are found these ion channels can affect their shape, thus, influencing their function. Fatty acids play a role in cellular flexibility from other tissues, and the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is equally important in the brain too.
Secondly, fatty acids have been in touch also with serotonin, the neurotransmitter which inhibits the nerve impulse transmission in the brain synapses. Antidepressants drugs increase the levels of serotonin, and Hibbeln has found low levels of serotonin in people with a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the cerebrospinal fluid.
A group of researchers from the University British Columbia fed piglets with a higher amount of omega-3 and have found more serotonin in their brains than in those piglets fed normally. Since serotonin helps the normal increase of axons and dendrites, the lack of omega-3 fatty acids in first phase of life can alter the brain function and development forever.
It was observed that the administration of omega-3 improves the cerebral blood flow.
Researches conducted on different populations have shown that, in the countries that consumes the smallest quantities of omega-3acid, are found most cases of depression. So, in New Zealand, where the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is small, 6% of the population suffers from depression. In Japan, where omega-3 consumption is four times higher, by eating fish, frequency of depressive states is 1%.
When the western-style feeding way permeates a culture, like Greenland, then the depressive states rate increases.
Already by the 1990s, Andrew Stoll from Harvard University, USA, observed that the patients who consumed larger quantities of omega-3 in the form of fish oil capsules, presented longer periods of remission than those taking a placebo (Harmless “medicine” without any specific effect).
A team from the Sheffield University, England, administered high doses of omega-3 to the 70 patients who the condition has not been improved after the antidepressants medication. After 12 weeks, 69% of them showed marked improvement, while of those who received a placebo, only 25%. And in 2002, researchers at Ben Gurion University, Israel, reported appreciable improvements after two weeks of fish oil to patients where drug therapy has failed.
At the moment, there are at least ten ongoing clinical studies with omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for the depressive condition and other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and attention deficit.
We would like to draw the attention that, unlike the drugs used so far, the omega-3 fatty acids from vegetable sources (nuts, avocados, olives, spinach, sesame seeds, flaxseeds and wheat germ), while avoiding sunflower oil and margarine, have no side effects and neither is supplied with the risks from fish consumption. Scientists ensures that the omega-3 fatty acids helps health and happiness, making everyone smile, except maybe of the pharmaceutical industry.
While up to now it was known that the increased fat intake disturbs the defense mechanisms of the body, favors diabetes appearance, atherosclerosis, some forms of cancer and generally degenerative diseases, recently scientists in Canada reached the conclusion that the alimentation high in fats not only leads to the blockage of arteries loading the body with many kilograms, but also can influence negatively the memory.
In the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (2001, vol. 75, p. 179) Winocur Gordon and Carol Greenwood, from Geriatrics Center in Toronto, publish an interesting study in connection with the fats effects on the brain. The authors fed one month rats with a diet high in animal fat or vegetable for three months. 40% of calories were from fats. The control group received a diet in which fats represented only 10% of caloric intake. From the age of four months, rats groups were trained in a memory exercise. Researchers have found that the diet rich in fats rats, whether animal or vegetable fats, on the memory exercises had lower performances than the rats fed on a poor fats diet.
The canadian researchers expressed concern about the fact that many children alimentation contains 40% of calories as fats, which could disturb the brain development because, in children developing brain is more susceptible than an adult. And in this regard, children can not do anything. Everything is up to parents.