Monday, April 17, 2006

Salmon Today, Serenity Tomorrow

Much of the attention omega-3 fatty acids are receiving of late is related to their benefit for the heart - their reputation for reducing triglycerides and limiting production of compounds involved in inflammation.

But those weren't the effects that compelled me to study these fats years ago. It was omega-3's impact on mood and mental state that had me pouring over the research. And what a heap of mood research has come to pass since then.

Here's a nice synopsis, by Alan Logan:

Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional
- From Lipids in Health and Disease, 2004

Which concludes:
"... there is enough epidemiological, laboratory and clinical evidence to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in certain cases of depression."
Mr. Logan's report contains references not just to depression, but to a variety of studies involving omega-3 and the central nervous system. They address the fat's relationship to:
  • Aggression
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Libido
  • Post-partum depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Suicide
  • ... and one he didn't reference but has been linked to omega-3, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)
So I was excited to see this particular facet of omega-3 research gain some headway in the press with yesterday's NYTs Magazine article Does Eating Salmon Lower the Murder Rate? What Omega-3 Fatty Acids Might Do for Violent Behavior 1

In light of the nuclear one-upmanship taking place among the world's sovereign states, I recommend the next time Condi goes calling overseas, she does so bearing gifts, particularly some of our tasty omega-3-rich Wild Alaskan Salmon. Yessiree Bob, a little salmon today, a little less violent antisocial behavior tomorrow. Heck, let's make it a regular menu item at the White House.


1 Thank you, Jim, for the heads-up.
Photo by Kent Lacin.

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