Omega-3s Effective for Improving Depression Symptoms
Recently there has been some confusion regarding the effect of omega-3s on mood, and more specifically on depression. A recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed no benefit of omega-3 supplementation on mood or depression. However, most of the participants in the study were not diagnosed with depression. While the study was meant to examine whether low-dose supplementation with EPA, DHA or ALA would affect mood, they could not assess improvement on those who were not depressed to begin with.
A different study, published in 2010, showed that higher doses of omega-3s (above 1,000 mg per day) were successful in treating major depression. It has been determined that high levels are necessary to impact mood and depression, and low levels cannot achieve these same effects.
1,000mg per day (or more) of DHA and EPA are recommended simply to maintain health, and to achieve more specific results, including improving depression, it has been suggested that this dosage be increased up to 2,000mg per day. Therefore the study was flawed on two levels and studying the effects of low-dose omega-3 supplementation can generally be considered a waste. At least 500mg is necessary to start seeing any health benefits.
A Surprising Outcome
Despite the low-dosage of omega-3s, the recent study did find that those who participated in the study who were diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants actually experienced somewhat of an improvement in regards to symptoms of depression when taking the EPA/DHA in conjunction with the anti-depressants. This shows that while there was some small benefit in taking the low dose, higher doses can be much more effective.