Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EPA helps relieve psychological distress in women

The February, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the outcome of a Canadian clinical trial which found a beneficial effect for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in middle aged women suffering from psychological distress. Eicosapentaenoic acid is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that occurs in fish oil, which, along with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been linked with numerous health benefits.
Michel Lucas and his associates at Laval University in Quebec enrolled 120 women between the ages of 40 and 55 with moderate to severe psychological distress, which can sometimes occur during menopausal transition and early menopause. The group was randomized to receive 1.05 grams ethyl-EPA plus 0.15 grams ethyl-DHA in divided doses, or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Self-rating of symptoms, the Psychological General Well-Being Schedule, and a depression scale symptom check list were completed at the beginning of the study, and at the end of four and eight weeks.
Twenty-four percent of the participants met the criteria of undergoing a major depressive episode. When these women were excluded from the analysis, psychological distress symptoms among those who received EPA were found to have improved significantly after 8 weeks compared to subjects who received the placebo. Women who received a placebo were likelier to drop out of the study than women who received EPA, and although the authors did not consider the amount significant, they remarked that lack of improvement in the placebo group could have increased this likeliness. Continue Reading

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