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Certain Omega-3 Formulations Beneficial for Depression

Last Updated: December 13, 2010.

Patients with depression who take omega-3 fatty acid supplements with either eicosapentenoic acid or eicosapentenoic acid and docosahexaenoic in combination experience clear antidepressant benefits, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, held from Dec. 5 to 9 in Miami Beach, Fla.

MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with depression who take omega-3 fatty acid supplements with either eicosapentenoic acid (EPA) or EPA and docosahexaenoic (DHA) in combination experience clear antidepressant benefits, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, held from Dec. 5 to 9 in Miami Beach, Fla.

John M. Davis, M.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 15 randomized, placebo-controlled studies of patients taking omega-3 for depression in the forms of EPA or DHA alone, or a combination of both, or placebo.

The researchers found that depression patients taking either omega-3 with EPA or omega-3 with an EPA and DHA combination experienced beneficial antidepressant effects, while those taking DHA alone did not. Across the studies, no effect was seen on mood for people taking supplements who were not suffering from depression.

"The findings are unambiguous. Omega-3 fatty acids have antidepressant properties and this effect is ready to be tested in a large study to establish the dose range and to pave the way for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. In the meantime, omega-3 fatty acids containing EPA could be useful to augment effects of antidepressant medications or to help depressed patients who don't want to take antidepressants," Davis said in a statement.

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