Although there are many possible reasons why people get depressed, an imbalance of fatty acids could be one, say researchers at the James Cook University in Australia.
Too many n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), or omega 6s – from fast foods – and too few omega-3 fatty acids, which mainly come from fish, seem to contribute to depression.
The researchers were able to carry out some unique research on two islands around the Torres Strait, which were both inhabited. One of the islands had fast-food outlets and the other was less developed and had no takeaway restaurants.
Nineteen of the islanders were diagnosed as having moderate to severe depression, but only three of them lived on the island that didn’t have fast-food restaurants. Blood tests confirmed there were differences between the two islanders, and it mainly came down to the levels of omega 3s to 6s.
The standard Western diet is far too high in the omega 6s, and this could be having an impact on the level of depression, the researchers say.
(Source: Nutritional Neuroscience, 2018; 1: doi: 1080/1028415X.2018.1504429)