At first glance, the efficacy of Omega-3 was not clearly demonstrated; however with further analysis it was clear that Omega-3 improved depressive symptoms as efficiently as those treated with antidepressants.
The experiment studied 432 male and female subjects with major depression over a period of 8 weeks, from October 2005 to January 2009. Each day of the study, half of the participants were given three capsules of OM3 Emotional Balance, a fish oil supplement which contains 1050 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 150 of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The remaining participants took three identical capsules containing sunflower oil, which was flavored with fish oil to maintain the anonymity of the placebos. Researchers ensured a double-blind effect where neither subject nor researcher could identify either group.
“In contrast with typical clinical studies designed to assess the effectiveness of antidepressants, this study included a high proportion of patients with complex and difficult-to-treat conditions, including patients resistant to conventional antidepressant treatments and patients also suffering from an anxiety disorder. The aim was to assess the value of Omega-3 supplementation in a group of individuals more like those treated in outpatient clinics.”Statistics show that roughly 11% of men and 16% of women in Canada are likely to suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Currently, depression is listed as the world’s fourth leading cause of death and it is anticipated that it could be the second by the year 2020.
“Epidemiological and neurobiological studies have suggested that a relative deficit in polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega-3 group may predispose individuals to psychological disorders such as depression.”Supplements are likely to be more attractive alternatives to the many patients with depression that cease pharmacotherapy after only a few months because of their fear of stigmatization or side effects. These alternatives need to be more adequately studied so that new treatments may be developed. Ideally, additional research directly comparing Omega-3 with conventional antidepressants could speed up the process toward more effective treatments for depression.
Treating Depression With Omega-3: Encouraging Results from Largest Clinical Study
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