Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, could help ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by menopausal and perimenopausal women, says a new study.
The study has been published in the February issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
To reach the conclusion, Dr. Michel Lucas and colleagues recruited 120 women age 40 to 55 and divided them into two groups. Women in the first group took three gel capsules containing a total of one gram of EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid of marine origin, every day for eight weeks.
Those in the second group followed the same protocol, but took gel capsules containing sunflower oil without EPA.
Test results before and after the eight-week period indicate that omega-3s significantly improved the condition of women suffering symptoms of psychological distress and mild depression.
"The differences we observed between the two groups are noteworthy," commented Dr Lucas, "especially considering that omega-3s have very few side effects and are beneficial to cardiovascular health."
However, no positive effect was observed among a small group of women with more severe depressive symptoms.
Women with hot flashes also noted that their condition improved after consuming omega-3s. At baseline, the number of daily hot flashes was 2.8 and dropped by an average of 1.6 in the group taking omega-3s and by 0.5 in the control group.