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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2008 Jun;78(6):337-42. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.04.009. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

No clear evidence of an association between plasma concentrations of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and depressed mood in a non-clinical population.

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School of Psychology, Queen's University, Belfast, 18-30 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5BP, UK.


Previous research suggests that low n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3PUFA) status is associated with higher levels of depression in clinical populations. This analysis aimed to investigate the relationship between depressed mood and n-3PUFA status in a non-clinical population. The analysis was conducted on data collected as part of a large randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of n-3PUFA supplementation on depressed mood in a community-based population. On entry into the trial, data on depressed mood were collected using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Plasma concentrations of various n-3PUFAs and n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-6PUFAs) were obtained from fasting venous blood samples, and various demographics were also measured. Using regression, there was no evidence of an association between either measure of depressed mood and any of the measures of n-3PUFA status or of n-6PUFA:n-3PUFA ratios. Clear associations were also not found when demographic factors were included in the analyses. These findings suggest that n-3PUFAs may not have a role in the aetiology of minor depression. This is also consistent with the results of other studies that have not demonstrated an association between depressed mood and n-3PUFA status in non-clinical populations and epidemiological studies that have not demonstrated an association between depressed mood and n-3PUFA intake in these populations.

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