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More Evidence That Omega-3 Supplements May Alleviate Depression

A new double-blind study has found that even a short course of omega-3 supplements reduces inflammation-based depression in patients with hepatitis C. Published in the journal, Biological Psychiatry, the study divided 152 hepatitis C patients into three groups; one group received the omega-3 fatty acid, EPA, a second group received the omega-3 called DHA, and the third received a placebo. EPA and DHA are found in fish oil, among other sources. The treatment with omega-3s ended after only 2 weeks, at which point the patients began receiving interferon-alpha therapy for 24 weeks. Interferon-alpha is a common treatment for chronic hepatitis C, but one with known and sometimes severe side effects, such as depression. Here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • EPA significantly reduced the incidence of depression; only 10% of those who had taken EPA experienced depression compared to 30% in the placebo group.
  • While DHA did not significantly reduce the incidence of depression, both EPA and DHA significantly delayed the onset of depression.
  • Both EPA and DHA were well-tolerated and did not produce serious side-effects.

This new study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids have antidepressant effects.

Source: Biological Psychiatry

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