+AA
Fr
McMasterLogo_New-2017-300x165
Back
Clinician Article

Efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of depression.



  • Hallahan B
  • Ryan T
  • Hibbeln JR
  • Murray IT
  • Glynn S
  • Ramsden CE, et al.
Br J Psychiatry. 2016 Sep;209(3):192-201. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.160242. Epub 2016 Apr 21. (Review)
PMID: 27103682
Read abstract Read evidence summary Read full text
Disciplines
  • FM/GP/Mental Health
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 6/7
  • Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7
  • Psychiatry
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 5/7

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Trials evaluating efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) in major depressive disorder report discrepant findings.

AIMS: To establish the reasons underlying inconsistent findings among randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of omega-3 HUFAs for depression and to assess implications for further trials.

METHOD: A systematic bibliographic search of double-blind RCTs was conducted between January 1980 and July 2014 and an exploratory hypothesis-testing meta-analysis performed in 35 RCTs including 6665 participants receiving omega-3 HUFAs and 4373 participants receiving placebo.

RESULTS: Among participants with diagnosed depression, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-predominant formulations (>50% EPA) demonstrated clinical benefits compared with placebo (Hedge's G = 0.61, P<0.001) whereas docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-predominant formulations (>50% DHA) did not. EPA failed to prevent depressive symptoms among populations not diagnosed for depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Further RCTs should be conducted on study populations with diagnosed or clinically significant depression of adequate duration using EPA-predominant omega-3 HUFA formulations.


Clinical Comments

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)

Is there anything that omega 3s cannot do? Interesting but not paradigm-changing as depression in Primary Care is such a heterogeneous mix of symptoms and severity. Perhaps anyone with any other co-morbidity should start off with omega 3 fatty acids as first-line therapy for depression.

Register for free access to all Professional content

Register
Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.
Subscribe

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use