A recent study conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Health, University of Delaware and Eastern Virginia Medical School, has reportedly revealed that American women with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have up to a 49-percent reduction in risk of elevated depressive symptoms." May Beydoun, et al., "Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intakes Are Inversely Related to Elevated Depressive Symptoms among United States Women," Journal of Nutrition, September 4, 2013.
The study evaluated the association between omega-3 intakes and symptoms of depression using the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale in 1,746 adults ages 30 to 65. According to the researchers, the study findings "support the hypothesis of a protective effect of n-3 fatty acids, both [n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs; at least 20 carbons), n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs; at least 18 carbons)], against depressive symptoms, particularly among women."
The data also revealed that elevated depressive symptoms were prevalent in 25.6 percent of women and 18.1 percent of men. Adequate intakes of linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid were observed in 43 to 59 percent of men and women. Significantly fewer men and women, however, achieved adequate intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid, with levels ranging from 5.2 percent to 17.2 percent. The study also indicated that the highest intakes of omega-3 PUFAs were associated with a "significant" 49 percent reduction in the risk of elevated depressive symptoms in women.