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Is Omega-3 Ineffective in Treating Depression?

Is Omega-3 Ineffective in Treating Depression?

Is omega-3 ineffective in treating depression?

Health experts have long thought omega-3 fatty acid supplements are successful in treating depression. But new research appears to conclude that such evidence is ineffective.
 
So that’s not to say that omega-3 supplements won’t help people with depression; but simply that scientists can’t confidently say that it will.
 
This conclusion stems from a new Cochrane review, published in the ‘Cochrane Library’, which compared data collected from 26 trials of over 1400 people.
 

What did the review find?

The review delved deeper into the affects of omega-3 fatty acid capsules on people with depression. One study also compared people taking the supplement with those taking a anti-depressant medication.
 
The team discovered that even though the omega-3 supplements appeared to slightly ease symptoms, it wasn’t much compared to people who took a placebo pill.
 

What does this mean?

In a ScienceDaily release, lead author Katherine Appleton from Bournemouth University was quoted, “We found a small-to-modest positive effect of Omega 3 fatty acids compared to placebo, but the size of this effect is unlikely to be meaningful to people with depression, and we considered the evidence to be of low or very low quality.
 
All studies contributing to our analyses were of direct relevance to our research question, but most of these studies are small and of low quality.”
 
Surely this is unwelcomed news for people with depression seeking an alternative to conventional treatments. But it’s important to note that while the results are disheartening, they don’t suggest there is absolutely no positive impact of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for people with depression, but that the results measured were too insignificant to determine any helpful effects.
 
If you’re unsure about treatments for depression, speak to your health care advisor. The Black Dog Institute has also published a helpful fact sheet ‘Omega-3 and mood disorders’ that you can read online.
 
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Topic: Herbal Medicine, Depression

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