Written on Monday, November 27, 2006 by Gemini
Diet and nutrition may play a key role in helping people fight depression, Australian researchers report. A number of nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, St John’s Wort and several B vitamins, have the potential to influence mood by increasing the absorption of chemical messengers in the brain, Dianne Volker of the University of Sydney in Chippendale and Jade Ng of Goodman Fielder Commercian in New South Wales note.
There is a wealth of epidemiological, experimental and circumstantial evidence to suggest fish and the oils they contain, in particular omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, are protective against depression, Volker and Ng write. They point out that the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 may also be important, given that the latter can prevent the body from absorbing the former.
Another candidate for dietary prevention of depression is amino acid tryptophan, found in foods, including turkey, and is responsible for the drowsiness people feel after eating a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin, suggesting the amino acid may have modest effects on mood.