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Not enough evidence to show Omega 3 supplements can help treat major depression

There is insufficient evidence that omega-3 fatty acid supplements are an effective treatment for people with major depressive disorder, according to the results of a Cochrane review.

Cochrane researchers analysed data from 26 randomised clinical trials involving 1,458 people. The trials investigated the effect of giving omega-3 fatty acid supplements in capsule form, compared with placebo, and one study looked at the effect of giving omega-3 supplements compared with antidepressant treatment.

Most studies on Omega 3 supplements and depression are small, say researchers

Picture credit: SPL

The researchers found that although those who were given omega-3 fatty acids reported lower depression symptom scores than people given placebo, the effect was small, and unlikely to be meaningful in people with depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as tuna, are widely thought to be essential for good health. Various studies have suggested a role for them in treating major depressive disorder, but lead researcher Katherine Appleton, from Bournemouth University, said most of the studies included in the Cochrane review were small

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Cochrane researchers analysed data from 26 randomised clinical trials involving 1,458 people. The trials investigated the effect of giving omega-3 fatty acid supplements in capsule form, compared with placebo, and one study looked at the effect of giving omega-3 supplements compared with antidepressant treatment.

Most studies on Omega 3 supplements and depression are small, say researchers

Picture credit: SPL

The researchers found that although those who were given omega-3 fatty acids reported lower depression symptom scores than people given placebo, the effect was small, and unlikely to be meaningful in people with depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as tuna, are widely thought to be essential for good health. Various studies have suggested a role for them in treating major depressive disorder, but lead researcher Katherine Appleton, from Bournemouth University, said most of the studies included in the Cochrane review were small and of low quality.

‘At present, we just do not have enough high quality evidence to determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for major depressive disorder. It is important that people who experience depression are aware of this so that they can make more informed choices about treatment,’ she said.

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