Can omega 3 help treat depression? According to new research, the answer is yes.
In one of the largest studies on omega-3 supplements done to date, Canadian researchers found that for people who don’t also have an anxiety disorder with their depression, the popular omega-3 fish supplements helped improve depression symptoms.
The improvements the researchers found in this study were similar to improvements found in studies of antidepressants, suggesting that for some people, omega-3 may be an inexpensive antidepressant alternative.
From October 2005 to January 2009, 432 male and female participants with major unipolar depression were recruited to take part in this randomized, double-blind study (neither patients nor researchers knew which capsules patients received).
For eight weeks, half of the participants took three capsules per day of OM3 Emotional Balance, a fish oil supplement containing high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other half took three identical capsules of a placebo consisting of sunflower oil, flavored with a small quantity of fish oil.
In contrast with typical clinical studies designed to assess the effectiveness of antidepressants, this study included a high proportion of patients with complex and difficult-to-treat conditions, including patients resistant to conventional antidepressant treatments and patients also suffering from an anxiety disorder.
As with all things, don’t rush out and change your meds without consulting your doctor first. Omega-3 is not a cure-all for depression, nor will it work for everyone. But it’s an alternative worth trying if you feel depressed, have no anxiety, and haven’t yet sought out treatment for depression.
The researchers used doses of 1050 mg of EPA and 150 mg of DHA each day for eight weeks to obtain their results. The specific brand of omega-3 used is called “OM3 Emotional Balance” and is available at local drugstores in the vitamins aisle (and at online drugstores).
Read the full new article: Omega-3 Supplements for Depression
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Jun 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2010). Omega-3 Treatment for Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/24/omega-3-treatment-for-depression/