The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Exploring the relationship between depression, diet, and heart disease

    Older adults who follow diets high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids have higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines — especially when they have coexisting symptoms of depression.

    It’s important because depression is linked to the development of heart disease — a relationship that appears to be due to increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines (eg, interleukins and tumor necrosis factor alpha).

    Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus took blood samples from 43 older adults. They found that depressive symptoms and higher levels of omega-6 vs omega-3 fatty acids worked together to enhance these proinflammatory cytokines. The combined effect was greater than either depression or the omega-6 to -3 ratio contributed alone.

    The bottom line?
    According to Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser in a Medscape article, when people are stressed and depressed, their diets are poorer because they tend not to eat more fruits and vegetables. “Any way that people get more omega-3 and less omega-6 is probably good.”

    Other researchers have studied omega-3 fatty acids and depression, as summarized here. Another study looked at anatomical changes in the brain in relation to emotional arousal and dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

    There’s no consensus yet. More research is need on the complex relationship between depression and diet, their influence on inflammatory factors, and any resulting impact on heart disease.

    4/27/07 16:35 JR

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