DHA improves depression scores 

This was a small pilot study, without placebo, that included 28 adults with major depression who had not responded to medication or psychotherapy. Participants took 260mg or 520 mg of the omega-3 DHA per day.

After eight weeks, 54 percent overall saw at least a 50 percent reduction in depression symptom scores, and 45 percent were in clinical remission, regardless of the dose of DHA. Discussing the findings, doctors said the study, although small, is important because the clinical benefit was large, and because it focused on the omega-3, DHA, while most other depression studies using omega-3s have focused on the omega-3 EPA.

Omega-3s plus healthy diet

Doctors wanted to know if adding fish oil supplements to a Mediterranean- style diet would reduce depression symptoms. In this study, 152 adults self-reporting depression attended a Mediterranean cooking class every two weeks for three months. Half the group also received a food basket every two weeks with healthy foods, and took 450 mg of DHA plus 100 mg of EPA, twice per day, for six months.

After three months, those in the healthy food basket plus DHA with EPA group saw a 45 percent improvement in depression symptom scores, including anxiety and stress, compared to 26.8 percent for the group attending cooking classes with no dietary changes or omega-3 supplements.

Doctors said this is one of the first trials to show healthy dietary changes plus fish oil supplements can improve mental health in those with depression.

Reference: Nutritional Neuroscience; 2018, Vol. 21, No. 3, 224-8
Natural Insights for Well Being September 2018

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