Unhealthy Diets May Increase Depression Risk

By Staff Writer

For individuals who are considering seeking treatment from drug rehab and mental health facilities for depression, their problems may be caused by their diets. New findings suggest that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids may increase an individual’s risk of depression.

The findings make sense, according to researchers from the Neurocentre Magendie in Bordeaux, France, because previous investigations have connected omega-3s to a range of mental health benefits. They believe that the nutrient may also play a role in depression.

The team set out to prove this hypothesis using a set of lab mice. They fed the animals diets low in omega-3s for their entire lives. Later, the researchers found that these mice had poor communication between brain cells. This was particularly true in areas of the brain that dictate emotional responses. Additionally, the mice showed symptoms that correspond to human depression.

The researchers said that their findings could have major implications for millions of people. Throughout the 20th century, omega-3s have been largely replaced in the diets of industrialized nations by less nutritious fats. Today, most people eat too few foods containing omega-3s. Consuming more of these nutritious fats may help lower the risk of depression.