Home / Body / Fish Oil for Depression : The Evidence Both For and Against, Part 2

Fish Oil for Depression : The Evidence Both For and Against, Part 2

Within the final weblog I defined the completely different theories for despair. They’re will most likely be 20 extra theories in 20 years, however that’s how analysis and science works.  What follows is a present complete abstract of the research that assist utilizing omega-Three fatty acids for despair and the research that don’t.  Earlier than you go on,  simply know double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized scientific trial is taken into account the “gold customary” for proof. Subsequently, the outcomes of these research are thought-about stronger proof. Case Management research and Cohort research aren’t thought-about to be as rigorous. However they nonetheless depend as proof. After I use the phrases “Vital enchancment” or “Considerably improves,”  that signifies that STATISTICALLY the research confirmed enchancment within the research inhabitants. A statistically important enchancment typically doesn’t manifest as such in the actual world, though it has a significantly better probability than a research that yields an insignificant outcome.  All that mentioned, please learn the completely different research that both assist or don’t assist supplementing with fish oil, and I’ll allow you to be the decide as as to whether you assume you need to complement or not.


THE EVIDENCE For Omega-Three Fatty Acids as Associated to Despair: 

A 2017 randomized managed trial confirmed that adults (18-65) identified with despair confirmed a big discount in signs after following a Mediterranean weight loss program and supplementing with fish oil capsules for six months. Researchers additionally famous a correlation between larger Omega-3s, Decrease Omega-6s and improved psychological well being.

A 2016 evaluation of knowledge from a randomized managed trial involving 122 folks identified with despair confirmed that ranges of EPA and DHA in crimson blood cells PLUS a excessive EPA:DPA ratio in depressed people correlated with a considerably larger discount in depressive signs.

The Solar cohort research by the College of Navarra in collaboration with the Harvard Faculty of Public Well being concerned a complete of seven,903 individuals.  Researchers measured individuals’ dietary consumption of omega-Three fatty acids and measured the research’s chief final result (the incidence of despair) utilizing questionnaires. Researchers discovered average consumption of fish (between 83.Three – 112 g/day) had a 30% threat discount of growing main despair, nonetheless a dose-response relationship was not discovered. ( Dose response means the signs of despair ought to lower proportionally to the quantity of fish oil being consumed.) An attention-grabbing remark is that individuals with a excessive baseline consumption of omega-Three fatty acids, who additionally elevated their consumption throughout the research, developed an elevated threat for psychological sickness. Researchers proposed attainable rationalization for this discovering is probably excessive mercury content material in fish might independently enhance the danger of despair, since natural mercury is thought to trigger neurological injury.

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research was carried out in Iran, a rustic the place fish consumption may be very low (6.1 kg/capita/yr).  33 aged individuals have been randomized to obtain fish oil (omega-Three fatty acids) capsules and 33 have been randomized to obtain a placebo. Main despair was measured utilizing the Geriatric Despair Scale-15( GDS-15), and outcomes confirmed that whereas the GDS-15 rating improved for each the fish oil and placebo teams, it confirmed a 25% enhance in enchancment within the fish oil group. This research used a really low dose (300 mg) of fatty acids for six months, and the researchers speculate that the research inhabitants might have been under-dosed. Nevertheless, on condition that it was an aged inhabitants, the lower-dose was chosen to keep away from potential cross-reactions with different drugs.

Rizzo et al. carried out a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 46 depressed aged sufferers, half of which have been randomized to receiving fish oil dietary supplements dosed at 2.5 g/day, and half of which acquired a placebo. Outcomes of their research present that the Arachidonic Acid to EPA ratio was considerably decrease within the group receiving fish oil, and there was additionally a big enchancment in depressive symptomology within the fish oil group. ( Arachidonic Acid is a precursor to cells concerned in irritation, so having a decrease ratio of Arachidonic Acid to EPA is an effective factor.)   This research used an EPA:DHA ratio of two:1, which is price mentioning as a result of it helps others research which recommend that the impact an omega-Three complement has on despair is pushed by the EPA content material. The analysis suggests that each one fish oil remedy protocols include at the least 60% of EPA so as to be efficient.

One other randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research was carried out by Su et al. in 2003. Su et al. randomly assigned 28 depressed sufferers to obtain 9.6/day of omega-three fatty acids or a placebo. Using the Hamilton Ranking Scale for Despair to measure the signs of despair, the outcomes of the research present a statistically important enchancment within the group consuming the omega-threes.

Puri et al. carried out a case research displaying that four g of pure EPA not solely considerably improved signs of despair, however the research additionally utilized mind imaging expertise that confirmed a rise in mind tissue within the depressed sufferers. Puri’s research implies that superior mind imaging might play a vital position in future analysis on how omega-three fatty acids alter mind buildings.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research by Nemets et al. confirmed that including omega-three fatty acids through fish oil capsules to concurrent antidepressant remedy considerably improved remedy outcomes. Particularly,  research individuals receiving the fish oil diminished their Hamilton despair scale rating by 12.four factors, whereas the placebo group solely diminished their Hamilton Despair Scale rating on common by 1.6 factors, by week Three of remedy.



A 2004 cohort research by Jacka et al. discovered no important distinction in omega-three fatty acid consumption in depressed and non-depressed ladies, though the authors be aware that this explicit pattern of depressed ladies had, on common, a extreme degree of despair.

A scientific evaluate of the effectiveness of omega-three fatty acids for despair was carried out by Williams et al,.  through which was identified that a number of scientific trials involving omega-threes as remedy did not display a big impact. It must be famous that the ratios of DHA to EPA utilized weren’t specified.

Marangell et al. carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled research through which 36 depressed sufferers have been assigned to obtain 2 grams of DHA or a placebo.  The Montgomery Asberg Despair Ranking Scale ( MADRS) was utilized to measure the extent of despair signs, and Marangell et al. discovered no important distinction between the management group and the group receiving DHA.

A big cohort research that was carried out in Finland involving 29,133 males ages 50-69 years discovered no important affiliation between fish consumption/ omega-three fatty acids with self-reported despair, hospital remedy for despair or dying from suicide.  It must be famous that the full consumption of omega-threes was comparatively low compared to different research ( 2.2 g/ day or .47 g/day from fish).

Keck et al. carried out a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research on using EPA for the remedy of despair related to bipolar despair. A really excessive dose of EPA was used (6 g) but no important distinction in final result was produced between the research individuals taking EPA and people assigned to the placebo group.  Whereas this research targets bipolar despair, it’s price noting since a really excessive dose of EPA was used, but didn’t yield a big optimistic final result.

A big case-control research designed to evaluate the effectiveness of omega-three fatty acids on despair in lung most cancers sufferers was carried out in Japan. Fatty acids have been measured utilizing fuel chromatography and despair was measured utilizing the Hospital Nervousness and Despair Scale, concerned 717 topics from a big lung most cancers database.  Outcomes of the research present that there was no important affiliation between omega-Three fatty acid degree and main despair. This research is noteworthy as a result of it highlights that the pattern inhabitants underneath research might affect the effectiveness of omega-3s in despair. It additionally implies that despair in most cancers could also be a novel, “reactive” phenomenon to a extremely irritating occasion and should not reply equally to remedy as different depressions would possibly. We want extra population-specific analysis within the space of remedy and despair.


If you wish to strive fish oil, the beneficial ratio between EPA and DHA varies. In truth, it’s speculated that the completely different outcomes of omega-three fatty acid and despair research partially is determined by whether or not a better ratio or decrease ratio of EPA:DHA is utilized. As Dr. Horrobin states: “Excessive doses of EPA/DHA will not be essential and because of the impact on cytokines and intra-cellular communication, decrease ranges of pure EPA could also be of profit.”

Peet and Horrobin carried out a big research that was printed within the Archives of Common Psychiatry. They measured the results completely different doses of pure EPA ( 1g, 2g, or 4g) had on despair, and their outcomes confirmed that the 1 g of EPA led to essentially the most important enhancements.

Research involving DHA as monotherapy usually yield insignificant outcomes, which is the conclusion Martins et al. made after conducting a big meta-analysis of 124 research on EPA/DHA and despair.

YOUR TAKE-HOME POINT:  You desire a fish oil capsule that has at the least 60% EPA.


Do I take fish oil capsules?

No. I attempt to get all the pieces I want from my weight loss program and I’ve a tough time believing complement corporations. However that’s me, and it’s worthwhile to do what’s best for you.

Feedback and questions? Go away under.


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