Vol. 9, No. 2, 2003 Page 3&6

Omega-3 supplement aids in recovery from depression

Antidepressant drugs can be highly effective in treating symptoms of depression, but some patients do not respond to the medications and in many others the effects of these drugs wear off over time. An Israeli study, however, indicates that augmenting drug treatment with supplements of omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the effects of antidepressant drugs.

In a four-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Boris Nemets and colleagues gave 20 patients with recurrent major depression either a placebo or capsules containing the omega-3 fatty acid E-EPA (ethyl- eicosapentaenoic acid). All participants also were taking antidepressant medications, but had continued to experience symptoms despite increased medication doses, good compliance, and supportive psychotherapy.

After four weeks, the researchers found, six of ten study participants receiving E-EPA, but only one of ten people receiving the placebo, had significantly reduced symptoms. Symptoms of depression, guilt, worthlessness, and insomnia all were reduced in the E-EPA-treated group.

These findings support other reports showing that omega-3 fatty acids are an effective treatment for depression (see related articles, Crime Times, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 2, Page 3 and Crime Times, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 3, Page 2 and Crime Times, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1, Page 1).


"Addition of omega-3 fatty acid to maintenance medication treatment for recurrent unipolar depressive disorder," Boris Nemets, Ziva Stahl, and R. H. Belmaker, American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 159, No. 3, March 2002, 477-9. Address: Boris Nemets, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurian University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

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