Omega 3, valuable supplements to the health of the mind

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Omega 3 is an effective supplementary treatment against depression. This is the finding of the most extensive review of the scientific literature to date on the subject, by an international research team coordinated by Western Sydney University (Australia).

Nutrition and mental disorders

The correlation between unbalanced diet and mental disorders is widely demonstrated in the scientific literature. People with overt mental disorders tend to consume too much junk food(High in Fats, Sugars and Sodium, HFSS)-even compulsively-and few foods with balanced nutritional profiles, compared to the general population.

Dietary imbalance is often well-established, even in the period before the diagnosis of the mental disorder, And indeed it is considered a risk factor for the onset of some mental disorders, such as primarily depression.

In the treatment of mental disorders, it is now practice to give patients dietary supplements. Mineral salts and vitamins, but also prebiotics and probiotics, to make up for nutritional deficits and mitigate the negative effects of a poor diet, such as oxidative stress and inflammation. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of these inputs.

Dietary supplements and mental disorders, the largest review ever conducted

The study just published in the journal World Psychiatry offers the most extensive review of the scientific literature to date on the role of dietary supplements in the treatment of mental disorders. (1)

The researchers used 33 meta-analyses of randomized trials and data from 10,951 people with various mental disorders. Depression, stress, anxiety, bipolar and personality disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

However, the evaluation of effectiveness of a number of dietary supplements, in supporting psychological and psychiatric treatments, reveals some surprises with respect to well-established assumptions.

Omega 3 supplements fly for treatment

Omega 3s-particularly eicosapentaenoic acid-provide the most prominent results. Supplementing drug therapies, Omega 3s are found to have increased the effectiveness of medication, reducing the symptoms of severe depression. Some studies also suggest useful action in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The amino acid N-acetylcysteine is useful, in turn, in the treatment of mood disorders and schizophrenia. In relation to the latter condition, as well as in cases of severe depression, the usefulness of certain folates is also noted.

Vitamins and minerals, on the other hand, for once at least, offered no convincing evidence of usefulness in the treatment of mental disorders. Neither vitamins E, C, D, nor the minerals zinc and magnesium.

Notes

(1) Joseph Firth, Scott B. Teasdale, Kelly Allott, Dan Siskind, Wolfgang Marx, Jack Cotter, Nicola Veronese, Felipe Schuch, Lee Smith, Marco Solmi, André F. Carvalho, Davy Vancampfort, Michael Berk, Brendon Stubbs, Jerome Sarris. (2019). The efficacy and safety of nutrient supplements in the treatment of mental disorders: a meta-review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. World Psychiatry https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20672

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".