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Omega-3s may ease depression and boost mood

Depression is fairly common in older adults, yet only 10 percent of older Americans reporting symptoms receive treatment.

This review of six clinical trials covered 4,605 men and women, average age 77, some with symptoms of mild to moderate depression, and others in a state of mental well-being. Participants took a placebo or an average of 1,300 mg of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids per day, in studies lasting from several weeks to several months.

Overall, those in the well-being group saw no significant effects on mood from taking omega-3s. In participants with mild to moderate depression, doctors found a large, positive effect on mood for omega-3s compared to placebo. Doctors said depression may reflect an inflammatory chemical imbalance in the brain, and that omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.

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