New research supports the ability of omega-3s to fight depression—and to do it as well as antidepressants.
A recent meta-analysis published in Translational Psychiatry supports the link between consuming EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids and a reduction in major depressive disorder. The review included 13 studies with 1,233 subjects. The researchers found the effect of the omegas to be greater in studies supplementing higher doses of EPA and performed with patients who were already taking antidepressants, according to a release about the work from the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s.
"This new meta-analysis nuances earlier research on the importance of long chain omega-3s in MDD management," Roel J.T. Mocking, the study's lead author and researcher at the Program for Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, said in the release. "Omega-3 supplements may be specifically effective in the form of EPA in depressed patients using antidepressants. This could be a next step to personalizing the treatment for depression and other disorders."
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 16 million Americans suffer at least one major depressive episode in each year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
Research published earlier this year suggests that omega-3s may also play a role in bipolar disorder.