Red blood cell fatty acids are associated with depression in a case-control study of adolescents
ABSTRACT Epidemiological studies suggest that reduced intakes and/or blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are associated with increased risk for depression in adults, but data on adolescents are scarce. The objective of this study was to determine whether red blood cell (RBC) levels of EPA+DHA (the omega-3 index) and/or the overall RBC fatty acid profile differ between depressed adolescents (cases) and non-depressed adolescents (controls).
We measured the RBC fatty acid composition of cases admitted to the hospital for depression (n=150) and compared it to that of controls (n=161).
Cases and controls had similar ages, gender proportions, and body mass index (BMI) distributions, but there was a significant difference in racial/ethnic composition due to differences in recruitment sites. The unadjusted odds ratio for case status was 0.72 (95% CI; 0.55-0.95) for a 1% absolute increase in the omega-3 index. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to determine which fatty acids were useful in classifying cases and controls; BMI, age, gender, and race/ethnicity were forced into the model. Seven fatty acids were selected (DHA, myristic, stearic, oleic, trans linoleic, trans palmitoleic, and alpha-linolenic acids) to optimize the model fit to the data. In the adjusted model, the odds ratio was 0.67 (95% CI; 0.49-0.93) for a 1 SD increase in DHA. Adding the seven fatty acid profile to the basic model increased the area under the ROC curve by 12.6% (7.5%-17.6%).
These findings support the hypothesis that adolescent depression is associated with a perturbed RBC fatty acid pattern which includes a reduced omega-3 index. Intervention studies with EPA and DHA should be conducted in this vulnerable population for which few, safe therapeutic options currently exist.
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To overview the theoretical relevance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the cause of mood disorders, and focus on evaluating the potential therapeutic role of omega-3 fatty acids. RECENT FINDINGS: Numerous studies have documented low omega-3 fatty acid levels in those with depressive disorders, and there are plausible biological explanations as to why reduced omega-3 status may predispose to mood disorders as well as to a range of other conditions. Although early studies evaluating the role of omega-3 preparations as treatments of depression were generally positive, the rate of negative or nondifferential studies has increased in recent years. Recent meta-analyses provide an explanation in suggesting that docosahexaenoic acid-weighted preparations may be ineffective while finding support for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-weighted preparations. SUMMARY: There is sufficient indicative data favouring EPA-weighted omega-3 supplementation for those with a depressive mood disorder, particular when fish oil is viewed by patients as 'natural,' it has few side effects and is neuroprotective. Recent meta-analyses inform us that intervention studies should focus on EPA-weighted preparations.Current opinion in psychiatry 10/2012; 26(1). DOI:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835ab4a7 · 3.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Atypical fatty acid metabolism has been reported in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however, its relationship with temperament in this population is unclear. The current study investigated the association between blood levels of fatty acids implicated in brain structure and function (omega-3, omega-6, omega-9) and personality traits of stability (neuroticism, conscientiousness and agreeableness) and plasticity (extraversion and openness). Twenty right-handed adolescent boys with ADHD completed a self-report NEO-FFI personality questionnaire, and had fatty acid content assessed from red blood using gas chromatography. Pearson's correlations showed no significant associations between omega-3 levels and personality. After correction for multiple comparisons, Adrenic Acid (C22:4n6) was inversely associated with stability. Oleic acid (C18:1n9) was positively associated with plasticity. Results are in line with a role of fatty acids in brain function. They suggest that those fatty acids that are involved in myelination (Adrenic, Oleic) have the strongest associations with temperament in adolescents with ADHD.Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 04/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.plefa.2013.03.004 · 1.98 Impact Factor