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22.03.2014


Meta-study: only fish oil with high amounts of EPA effective antidepressant

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
Fish oil supplements can help against depression, but they have to contain the right type of fish oil. Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute drew this conclusion after doing a meta-study where they reanalysed data they collected from 15 trials in which nearly a thousand people suffering from depression had been given fish oil.

Some studies show that fish oil can help prevent depression and that it can even help people who are already suffering from depression, [J Affect Disord. 2007 Aug;101(1-3):245-9.] but others suggest fish oil has no effect on depression. Recent meta-studies have therefore concluded that the anti-depressant effect of fish oil is an illusion. [Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Dec;17(12):1272-82.]

The lack of clarity on the antidepressant effect of fish oil is probably the result of different sorts of supplements being used in experiments with people suffering from depression, the New York researchers discovered. The supplements are only effective if they contain more of the fish fatty acid EPA [structural formula shown above] than the fish fatty acid DHA.


Fish oil supplements can help against depression, but they have to contain the right type of fish oil. Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute drew this conclusion after doing a meta-study where they reanalysed data they collected from 15 trials in which nearly a thousand people suffering from depression had been given fish oil.


The best results have been achieved in trials where the subjects suffering from depression were given 1-2 g more EPA than DHA every day.


Fish oil supplements can help against depression, but they have to contain the right type of fish oil. Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute drew this conclusion after doing a meta-study where they reanalysed data they collected from 15 trials in which nearly a thousand people suffering from depression had been given fish oil.


The researchers are not sure why EPA is effective against depression and DHA not. One difference between the two fatty acids is that EPA has a stronger effect on the fat sensor PPAR than DHA does. But the researchers are not sure whether this has anything to do with the antidepressant effect of EPA.

Source:
J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;72(12):1577-84.

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