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Posted on 04-12-2012

Morning!  Many folks have been confused to believe that dietary fat is bad for you.  Thus the low fat diets that sprung up in the early 80's associated with the completely misguided USDA Food Guide Pyramid that has seen obesity in our country increase 400% since its inception.  This study from the Public Library of Science in January 2011 describes the TYPE of fat is whats important.  This study focuses the reader into its affects on the brain, particularly with depression. Emerging evidence relates some nutritional factors to depression risk.

FROM THE STUDY:

Objective: To evaluate the association between fatty acid intake or the use of culinary fats and depression incidence in a Mediterranean population.

Material and Methods: Prospective cohort study of 12,059 Spanish university

graduates (mean age: 37.5 years) initially free of depression. At baseline, a 136-

item validated food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate the intake of

fatty acids. During follow-up participants were classified as incident cases of

depression if they reported a new clinical diagnosis of depression by a physician

and/or initiated the use of antidepressant drugs.

Conclusions: A detrimental relationship was found between (trans fatty acid) TFA

intake and depression risk. These findings suggest that cardiovascular disease and

depression may share some common nutritional determinants related to subtypes

of fat intake.

KEY POINTS FROM THESE AUTHORS:

1) Depression affects about 151 million people worldwide and is the main cause

of disability in middle and high-income countries.

2) "Epidemiological evidence is accruing in recent years to support a relationship

between improved nutrition and better mental health."

3) The rising "incidence of depressive disorders have been paralleled by a

dramatic change in the sources of fat in the Western diet. This change mainly

consists in the replacement of polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated fatty

acids (MUFA) by saturated fats (SFA) and trans-unsaturated fats (TFA)."

4) "Western'' food pattern (rich in SFA and TFA and common in Northern

Europe and USA) has been reported as a relevant risk factor for depression.

5) A higher adherence to the Mediterranean food pattern (rich in legumes, fruits,

vegetables, fish and cereals, but low in meat and dairy products) was found to be

inversely associated with the risk of depression.

6) "Saturated fats and, specially, trans fats are known risk factors for CVD."

7) A substantial 48% increase in depression risk was found with the highest

intake of trans fats. [Key Point]

8) Butter consumption seemed to be associated with an increased risk of

depression; olive oil consumption was inversely associated with depression.

9) "A direct potentially harmful association of trans fats intake with the risk of

depression was found in this Mediterranean cohort."

10) "Low-grade inflammatory status is frequently present among depressive

patients."

11) Pro-inflammatory cytokines interfere with neurotransmitter metabolism,

decrease plasma tryptophan level [a precursor to serotonin], and inhibit Brain-

Derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF) expression. "BDNF is a peptide critical for

axonal growth, neuronal survival, and synaptic plasticity and function."

12) "Our findings suggest that trans fats intake, a well known risk factor for CVD,

might have also a detrimental effect on depression. Depression and CVD seem to

share some common mechanisms leading to similar biological changes."

13) "Some detrimental biological modifications caused by TFA with respect to CVD

risk could also be responsible for a harmful effect of TFA on depression risk."

14) "In spite of the low absolute average intake of TFA in this cohort (TFA

contributed only for a very small percentage of total energy, approximately only

0.4%) a substantial relative increment (48%) in depression risk was found for the

highest category of intake. So, the repercussion of these results might be really

important in other settings such as the American population where TFA intake is by

far higher (up to 2.5% of total energy intake) and in which the main sources of TFA

are artificial foods."

15) Oxidative stress [free radical damage] is associated with depression.

16) Olive oil may reduce depression through several proposed mechanisms:

A)) It is anti-inflammatory which improves the function of the endothelium.

B)) The antioxidant actions of the extra virgin olive oil component tyrosol restores

the intracellular antioxidant defenses, which are decreased in depressive

patients.

C)) Olive oil compounds help bind serotonin to its receptors.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE FROM WellnessOne:

You should not consume trans fats: they are bad for your heart and brain. You should consume extra virgin olive oil: it has a rich array of antioxidants, it is good for both your heart and brain.

Have a blessed day folks and tell your friends about this blog!

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