medicine and water

Supps may crank up antidepressants' power

Four nutritional supplements were found to make a significant difference in fighting depression when taken with antidepressants, in a recent review of research.

Anti-depressants don’t work for more than half of the clinically depressed people who try them. And, with a litany of side effects, stopping and starting different drugs in search of one that might work does not help with the depression. Four supplements may help boost anti-depressants’ effects, according to new research.

University of Melbourne and Harvard researchers examined 40 clinical trials worldwide, alongside a systematic review of evidence for using supps to treat clinical depression in tandem with antidepressants such as SSRIs, SNRIs and tricyclics. They found that omega-3 fish oils, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), methylfolate (bioactive form of folate) and vitamin D were all associated with boosts in the effects of medication. They found that omega-3s made the biggest difference for patients.

"The difference for patients taking both antidepressants and omega-3, compared to a placebo, was highly significant,” Jerome Sarris, PhD, head of the ARCADIA Mental Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne, said in a university release.

“This is an exciting finding because here we have a safe, evidence-based approach that could be considered a mainstream treatment."

The findings have the potential to help millions of people, the researcher said: "A large proportion of people who have depression do not reach remission after one or two courses of antidepressant medication…Millions of people in Australia and hundreds of millions worldwide currently take antidepressants. There's real potential here to improve the mental health of people who have an inadequate response to them."

The research was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Previous research suggests that omega-3s, even without anti-depressants, can help fight depression.

 

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