Researchers from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus suggested that the imbalance of fatty acids in the typical American diet could be associated with the heart disease and depression increase seen over the past century.

Our ancestors, hunter-gatherers, consumed two or three times more omega-6 than omega 3 while today, Westerners consume 15 to 17 times more omega-6 than omega-3.

The study conducted showed that the more omega-6 fatty acids people had in their blood compared with omega-3 fatty acid levels, the more likely they were to suffer from depression and have higher blood levels of inflammation-promoting compounds.

These compounds, which include tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6 have been tied to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and other ailments.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be reached in foods such as fish, flax seed oil and walnuts, while omega-6 fatty acids in refined vegetable oils used to make everything from margarine to baked goods and snack foods.

The researchers decide to investigate the link between fatty acid consumption, depression and inflammation. Individuals diagnosed with major depression had nearly 18 times as much omega-6 as omega-3 in their blood, compared with about 13 times as much for subjects who didn't meet the criteria for major depression.

These patients also had higher levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and other inflammatory compounds. The stronger the depressive symptoms were, the higher levels of omega 6 and omega 3 were found.

A number of studies have showed that omega-3 supplements prevented depression. Following a healthy diet that includes fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines will promote omega-6/omega 3 balance. Eating more fruits and vegetables would lessen the amounts of omega 6 in the organism.