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Disease, Disorder, or Condition

AD/HD and related disorders

Alzheimer's Dementia


Weight Loss, Metabolic Syndrome, and Diabetes



Rainy Day

While there are many approaches to dealing with depression in various forms, the condition is often chronic, degenerative in nature, and related to inflammation. The condition is of major significance to Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers, and professionals alike. Fortunately, the medical literature is full of well done clinical studies, which show that nutritional supplementation can be highly effective.

Of significance is a study reported in Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3:25 and Biomed Central, November 2004. Entitled “Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional”, this report does an excellent job of integrating various branches of research and greatly advances our science.

To very briefly summarize the above report, our bodies need various essential fatty acids. In the U.S., average daily ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 can be as high as 1:20. Most experts agree that it should be closer to 1:2.

Unless you are able to eat a significant amount of fresh, well-cared-for, oil-rich, cold water fish, e.g. mackerel or salmon, you would be unlikely to have adequate Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This imbalance has been studied for decades and has been related to numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia.

Rainbow - Hope

In the report noted above, it is of significance to note the brain imaging studies which show brain shrinkage in clinically depressed patients. Could this be similar to the brain shrinkage observed in Alzheimer’s patients? Additionally, the brain shrinkage in depressed patients was found to be directly linked to reduced phospholipid activity in the affected section of the brain.

Amazingly, it was found that if omega-3 fatty acid with a significant amount of EPA was ingested at of about 1 gm/day of EPA, the brain soon returned to its healthy size, and the phospholipid characteristics of the brain also returned to normal. Perhaps even more significantly, the symptoms of depression were substantially reduced at the rate the same time that the brain chemistry changed.

Fish Oil Supplements

It should be noted that the above research report also highlighted the need for broad-based, full-spectrum, nutrition, including antioxidants and minerals. Specifically noted were zinc, selenium, and folic acid, and the fact that shortages of any of the above can negatively influence omega-3 status.

Additionally, a wide variety of other studies have reported possible protection from Alzheimer’s (and potentially depression) through the use of: coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, choline, and curcumin or tumeric extract.

In conclusion, it would be hard to imagine a situation where Alzheimer’s patients, those depressed and caregivers alike would not be greatly assisted by inexpensive, carefully chosen supplements, including omega-3 as fish oil.

 Copyright 2006 Medical Research Education Assocates LLC