Contact: Jean-François Huppé
Omega-3s ease depressive symptoms related to menopause
Quebec City, January 28,
2009—Omega-3s ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often
suffered by menopausal and perimenopausal women, according to
researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine. Their study,
published in the February issue of The
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
presents the first evidence that omega-3 supplements are effective for
treating common menopause-related mental health problems.
Michel Lucas and colleagues recruited 120 women age 40 to 55 and
divided them into two groups. Women in the first group took three gel
capsules containing a total of one gram of EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid
of marine origin, every day for eight weeks. Those in the second group
followed the same protocol, but took gel capsules containing sunflower
oil without EPA.
Test results before and after the eight-week
period indicate that omega-3s significantly improved the condition of
women suffering symptoms of psychological distress and mild depression.
"The differences we observed between the two groups are noteworthy,"
commented Dr Lucas, "especially considering that omega-3s have very few
side effects and are beneficial to cardiovascular health." However, no
positive effect was observed among a small group of women with more
severe depressive symptoms.
Women with hot flashes also
noted that their condition improved after consuming omega-3s. At
baseline, the number of daily hot flashes was 2.8 and dropped by an
average of 1.6 in the group taking omega-3s and by 0.5 in the control
group. The change that can be attributed to the use of omega-3s, i.e. a
decrease of 1.1 hot flashes per day, is equivalent to results obtained
with hormone therapy and antidepressants. Details of these results were
published in the November 20, 2008 online edition of the journal
Many women suffer from depressive symptoms during
menopause and perimenopause. Some take antidepressants for relief even
though their effectiveness is controversial. Mistrust of hormone
therapy and antidepressants leads certain women to turn to alternative
methods whose effectiveness has not yet been scientifically
demonstrated. This study by Université Laval researchers corrects this
situation with regard to marine-sourced omega-3s.
researchers coauthored this study with Michel Lucas: Geneviève Asselin
and Sylvie Dodin from the Lucie and André Chagnon Chair for the
Teaching of an Integrated Approach in Prevention, as well as Chantal
Mérette and Marie-Josée Poulin from Université Laval Robert-Giffard
Dr. Michel Lucas
Lucie and André Chagnon Chair for the Teaching of an Integrated Approach in Prevention
Tel.: 418-525-4444, ext. 46529