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Omega 3 fatty acids can help treat depression unaccompanied by anxiety

By HBC Protocols June 23, 2010 0 comments

A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, has found that using omega-3 supplements is an effective treatment for patients with major depression who do not have anxiety disorders.

Researchers studied 432 male and female participants with major depression for the randomized, double-blind study. For eight weeks, half of the participants took three capsules per day of a fish oil supplement containing high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other half took three identical capsules of a placebo consisting of sunflower oil, flavored with a small quantity of fish oil.

They found that use of EPA is effective among patients with unipolar depression unaccompanied by an anxiety disorder.

“Despite significant progress in neuroscience over the past two decades, depression is difficult to treat,” said study author François Lespérance, M.D. “Many alternative treatments have not been adequately evaluated. That is why it was important to assess the efficacy of omega-3, one of the most popular alternative approaches.”

Researchers say additional research directly comparing omega-3 with conventional antidepressants could more clearly confirm their usefulness for patients suffering from depression.

The study participants were given an omega supplement free of impurities, 3 capsules a day that delivered 1050 mg of EPA and 150 mg of DHA daily. The effect of higher doses of Omega 3 supplement is unknown.

Past studies at Harvard University have demonstrated that Omega 3 fatty acids support the fight against Bi-polar depression, but larger controlled trials were needed to directly compare the findings with conventional antidepressant medication.

Omega-3 fatty acids are long chains of carbon atoms that bond to each other in different ways to produce molecules with various functions. Out of the five forms that we consume, the three that matter most to human health are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). ALA is specified in United States’ Institute of Medicine for men at 1.6 grams per day, women 1.1 grams per day.

Omega Benefits

  • Boosts metabolism and controls appetite
  • Helps burn stored fat
  • Reduces the production of inflammatory compounds such as unhealthy fats
  • Radiant glowing skin and shiny hair
  • Improved mood and stress relief
  • Helps to lower cholesterol
  • Improves memory loss
  • Aids in the maintenance of cardiovascular health

Brain and eye food

DHA represents up to 97 per cent of the Omega-3 fatty acids in our brain, concentrated in areas responsible for complex thinkingDHA also represents up to 93 per cent of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in our eyes and is necessary for optimal structure and function.


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