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Omega-3s for Menopausal Depression

A new study from Quebec suggests omega-3 fatty acids ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by menopausal and perimenopausal women.

The study, by researchers at Universite Laval’s Faculty of Medicine is published in the February issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the report, researchers present the first evidence that omega-3 supplements are effective for treating common menopause-related mental health problems.

Dr. Michel Lucas and colleagues recruited 120 women ages 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.

The change that can be attributed to the use of omega-3s, i.e. a decrease of 1.1 hot flashes per day, is equivalent to results obtained with hormone therapy and antidepressants. Details of these results were published in the November 20, 2008 online edition of the journal Menopause.

Many women suffer from depressive symptoms during menopause and perimenopause. Some take antidepressants for relief even though their effectiveness is controversial. Mistrust of hormone therapy and antidepressants leads certain women to turn to alternative methods whose effectiveness has not yet been scientifically demonstrated.

This study by Universite Laval researchers corrects this situation with regard to marine-sourced omega-3s.

Source: Universite Laval

Omega-3s for Menopausal Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Omega-3s for Menopausal Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/01/29/omega-3s-for-menopausal-depression/3768.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.