This interesting free full-text journal article reviews the use of foods rich in omega-3 fats as a method of treating depression. It concludes that there is a good deal of epidemiological, laboratory and clinical evidence suggesting that omega-3s could play a role in the treatment and prevention of the illness.
While the report calls for further study, it encourages all mental health professionals to ensure that their patients suffering from depression have an adequate intake of omega-3 fats.
Currently, the average daily intake by Americans of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is about 130 mg, only a fifth of the minimum requirement recommended by international experts.
The report also argues that mental health specialists do not have to be experts in clinical nutrition to be aware of the real connection between nutritional habits and emotional health.
You know how your emotions play a crucial role in your health overall, and that taking an antidepressant drug is, at best, a dangerous proposition. One of the best and safest options for treating depression without a drug is increasing your intake of omega-3 fats.
If this subject interests you, I highly recommend Dr. Stoll's book The Omega-3 Connection. He is a Harvard psychiatrist who has done a great job of compiling the evidence supporting the use of omega-3s for treating depression.
Currently, most Americans are only getting a fifth of the omega-3s they need, which is one major factor as to why depression has become such a widespread problem.
And, if you ever wondered why I now recommend krill oil as your best source of omega-3 fats, the above report gives one excellent reason -- a three-month study that shows how krill, containing more EPA as well as naturally occurring phospholipids than fish oil, treats PMS better than fish oil.
In addition to omega-3s, there are a number of other non-drug options for you if you suffer from depression. More and more evidence is accumulating that for most people exercise is more powerful than drugs in treating depression. To truly help with the problem, though, exercise should to be used like a drug, and must be prescribed very carefully. Going out for a simple walk after dinner will not likely provide as much benefit as a comprehensive exercise strategy.
Bright light exposure is also crucial to prevent SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and the use of full-spectrum lights in the winter is a vital tool in helping prevent this form of depression.