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Associations between an omega-3/omega-6 imbalance and mood disorders

Written By Betty van der Mark on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 8:04 AM

In industrialized nations, diets have been impoverished in essential fatty acids since the beginning of the 20th century. The dietary ratio between omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3 increased continuously over the course of the 20th century. These fatty acids are "essential" lipids because the body cannot synthesize them from new. They must therefore be provided through food and their dietary balance is essential to maintain optimal brain functions. Researchers discovered that reduced levels of omega-3 had deleterious consequences on synaptic functions and emotional behaviours. To verify their hypotheses, the researchers studied mice fed a life-long diet imbalanced in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They found that omega-3 deficiency disturbed neuronal communication specifically.

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