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June 18, 2005

Diet lowers Depression

It is hard to believe that a simple change in diet could relieve (or lessen) the symptoms of depression that one has. Two of the nutrients found in nuts, fish, and beets may do just that. Omega-3 and Uridine have both been found to produce changes in rat behavior when they were put on at least 30 days of a consistently high diet in these nutrients.

The rats were put through a standard depression test that gave researchers insight into how the rats were feeling. "Rats forced to swim in chilled water with no way to escape will become hopeless and float motionlessly. But when treated with antidepressants, they remain active for longer, searching for an escape. A team led by neurobiologist William Carlezon at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital found rats whose diets were supplemented with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids for at least 30 days stayed active and focused on escape. Similarly, the study published in Biological Psychiatry found rats injected with high levels of uridine were equally tenacious. And combined doses of omega-3 oil and uridine were just as effective as three different antidepressants in prompting the rats to start swimming, Dr Carlezon said" (Burstin, 2005).

It is hypothesized that the nutrients act on the mitochondria in the brain. Mitochondria produce the energy needed for cells to survive. By giving more energy for the mitochondria you are giving more energy to the brain and therefore the person who hosts that brain.

But this diet has not only given another weapon against depression and bipolar disorder it also has been linked to helping in other brain function disorders like ADHD and dementia. Diet has long been known to affect the course of a number of diseases both mental and physical. A diet rich in anti-oxidants can help fight against cancer, and a diet that is rich in fats and oils can help contribute to heart disease. This is only one more example of the biological basis of mental disorders.

Associate Professor Luis Vitetta, from Swinburne University's Graduate School of Integrative Medicine "said good nutrition, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, could ultimately have the same effect on the brain as antidepressant drugs" (Burstin, 2005).

The source of this story was the Northern Territory News from Australia.

For more information on how your diet can affect your mood go to: http://health.yahoo.com/health/centers/depression/2513

And for more information on complimentary treatments for bipolar disorder go to: http://www.moodswing.org/treatments.htm

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