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Nutr J. 2012 Oct 10;11:82. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-82.

Comparison between the AA/EPA ratio in depressed and non depressed elderly females: omega-3 fatty acid supplementation correlates with improved symptoms but does not change immunological parameters.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via D, Trentacoste 2, Milan 20134, Italy. angelamaria.rizzo@unimi.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Depression is one of the most frequently missed diagnoses in elderly people, with obvious negative effects on quality of life. Various studies have shown that long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) may be useful in its management. Our objective was to evaluate whether a supplement containing n-3 PUFA improves depressive symptoms in depressed elderly patients, and whether the blood fatty acid pattern is correlated with these changes.

METHODS:

The severity of depressive symptoms according to the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), blood fatty acid composition and erythrocyte phospholipids were analyzed in 46 depressed females aged 66-95y, diagnosed with depression according to DSMIV, within the context of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 22 depressed females were included in the intervention group (2.5 g/day of n-3 PUFA for 8 weeks), and 24 in the placebo group. We also measured immunological parameters (CD2, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD19 and cytokines (IL-5, IL-15).

RESULTS:

The mean GDS score and AA/EPA ratio, in whole blood and RBC membrane phospholipids, were significantly lower after 2 months supplementation with n-3 PUFA. A significant correlation between the amelioration of GDS and the AA/EPA ratio with some immunological parameters, such as CD2, CD19, CD4, CD16 and the ratio CD4/CD8, was also found. Nevertheless, omega-3 supplementation did not significantly improve the studied immunological functions.

CONCLUSIONS:

n-3 PUFA supplementation ameliorates symptoms in elderly depression. The n-3 PUFA status may be monitored by means of the determination of whole blood AA/EPA ratio.

PMID:
23046564
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3499393
Free PMC Article
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