Patients with increased inflammation, including those receiving cytokines for medical treatment, have a greatly increased risk of depression. For example, a 6-month treatment course of interferon-alpha therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection causes depression in approximately 30% of patients. Omega-3 fatty acids, more commonly known as fish oil, have a long list of health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing triglyceride levels. These nutritional compounds are also known to have anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties. Despite some recent negative findings, as their tendency to increase the risk for prostate cancer was proven and some of the putative health benefits were not replicated in large trials, omega-3′s remain of high interest to the depression field, where several studies have suggested benefits for depression and other psychiatric disorders.
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