If you’re depressed, you’re not alone – NHS England says that depression affects one in four people during their lifetimes, with women twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men. Now, scientists believe that this mental health epidemic could be tackled with krill oil.
Dutch researchers examined blood samples from almost 3,000 people, and found that those with anxiety or depression had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. People living with both conditions had the lowest levels of all.
Omega-3s are found in nuts and oily fish, but the richest source is krill, tiny shrimp-like shellfish found in all the world’s oceans.
The findings have been welcomed by Cambridge-based company FutureYou, which sells scientifically proven supplements. The brand’s krill product, KRILL OIL+, is the most concentrated krill oil supplement on the market.
“I don’t think many people doubt the benefits of omega-3s,” said Adam Cleevely, spokesman for FutureYou. “The advantage of krill oil over other sources of omega-3 is that it is rich in phospholipids. Phospholipids improve the absorption and bioavailability of the omega-3, making it easier for our bodies to get more of the good stuff.”
Carisha Thesing of Amsterdam Free University’s Department of Psychiatry, the lead author of the report, said: “Our findings indicate that blood levels of omega-3 are lower in people with a current depressive disorder.
“The results are consistent with earlier research and indicate that doctors should be aware that currently depressed patients – especially those with an additional anxiety disorder and more severe symptoms, may be at high risk of having low omega-3 blood levels.”
The research follows a similar Japanese investigation published last autumn which looked at depression and blood levels of fatty acids in more than 1,000 people.
Lead author Yutaka Matsuoka a neuropsychiatrist at Keio University said they had found compelling evidence to suggests diet and nutrition are extremely important factors in the high prevalence of depressive disorders.
Actress Glynis Barber, who runs a website offering anti-ageing health and beauty tips, is also delighted by the growing body of evidence for krill. “I’ve taken it for years,” says Glynis, whose TV crime drama Dempsey and Makepeace drew up to 18 million viewers in the mid-1980s.
“I prefer the krill oil version as it is a highly sustainable, high quality source. Omega-3s are considered essential to the brain and are increasingly being related to mood and depression. I think it is one of the most important supplements you can take.”