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Depression affects approximately 20 per cent of people at some time in their lives, although up to two-thirds may not get treatment owing to a combination of factors: misdiagnosis, failure or reluctance to seek help as a result of social stigma, or even chronic depression, whereby the sufferer may be so disabled they cannot access help themselves.

Whilst treatment is often in the form of conventional medicines, research by leading scientists advocates using omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to alleviate and even banish symptoms of depression.

Leading clinicians and researchers such as Dr Dianne Lefevre at the Mental Health Unit, Basildon Hospital and Professor Basant K. Puri, Head of the Lipid Neuroscience Department at Imperial College, London, use omega product for patients with depression, with extremely positive results.
This is excellent news in view of the following statistics:

- Two-thirds of people in the UK suffering from major depression are never correctly diagnosed and therefore never treated for depression.(i)

- Everyone will, at some time in their life, be affected by depression - their own or someone else's, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)(ii)

- The rate of increase of depression among children is a staggering 23 per cent per annum. (iii)

- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that by 2020 major depression will rank second on the list of illnesses to pose the greatest global health burden, in terms of early death, lost man-hours and use of medical resources. (Heart Disease is top of the list.) (iv)

- Fifteen per cent of the population of most developed countries suffer severe depression. (v)

Definitions of Depression
Depression is essentially an umbrella term for a host of mood disorders, of varying severity. Nevertheless, it tends to be divided into reactive depression, caused by extraneous variables and clinical depression - often with biological origin.

Clinical depression, for which omega product is thought to be beneficial, is further subdivided into three classifications, namely mild, moderate and severe. Diagnosis depends on the number and degree of symptoms. It should be noted that depression affects no two individuals in the same way; often people may be unaware they are affected by it. This makes it even harder to classify.

Typical symptoms of depression include:

- Persistent low mood
- Feelings of despair and hopelessness
- Loss of interest and pleasure in activities
- Lack of energy
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Indecisiveness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Anxiety, sometimes in the form of panic attacks
- Changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or weight gain
- Impatience, irritability
- Loss of libido
- Persistent, unrelenting negative thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts

While traumatic and stressful events may lead to some types of depression, there are a significant number of individuals who lead successful lives, surrounded by strong support networks of friends and family, yet who suffer the above symptoms. Research now indicates that deficiencies of fatty acids, such as EPA, may account for otherwise inexplicable bouts of depression.

How Fatty Acids Help Depression
It is now widely accepted that depression is linked to a deficiency of long-chain fatty acids in the brain, such as EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid).

Low levels of EPA are associated with a slowing of brain activity, owing to a hardening of the phospholipid layers, which slow cell signalling. This decreased communication between brain cells can culminate in depressive symptoms. Taking EPA (as contained in omega product), however, can reverse this harmful process by increasing the amount of phospholipids in brain-cell membranes and the membrane fluidity. This has a positive effect on neurotransmitters and enhances electrical messaging in the brain.

Diet and lifestyle are similarly very important factors for anyone with depressive symptoms, as certain foods (particularly trans-fats) may inhibit the absorption of EPA in the body, leading to fatty acid deficiencies. Certain co-factors (such as zinc, vitamin B6) may provide the optimum environment in the body for the efficient uptake of EPA. Please click here to see more information on how to obtain co-factors.

For further information on ways to obtain EPA as part of your diet, please see The Natural Way to beat Depression by Professor Basant K. Puri.

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