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Mild depression disappears after taking fish oil for three weeks

Supplementation with a hefty dose of fish oil can get rid of a mild depression completely within three weeks. American psychiatrists reached this conclusion after doing a small study, which they published in Psychiatry Research. The subjects in the study were a couple of dozen students with mild depression.

The researchers did an experiment with 23 students, all of whom suffered from mild depression. Twelve of them were given a supplement containing 1000 mg EPA and 400 mg DHA every day for 21 days. If you were to use cheap fish oil capsules to get the omega-3 fatty acids, then you need about 5-6 1 g capsules each day.

An imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to the worried nutritionists at least, has a range of negative health effects. One of these is that the excess omega-6 fatty acids help cancer cells to spread through the body.

The remaining 9 students took a placebo.

The researchers used the Beck Depression Inventory to measure the students' level of depression just before they started taking the supplements and on the day they took their last capsule. The Beck Depression Inventory is a list of 21 questions, for which you can score a maximum of 63 points in the most worst case, and 0 points in the most best case.

Mild depression disappears after taking fish oil for three weeks

The scores of the subjects who took the omega-3 fatty acids went down from 16 to 11. According to the scale, that means that they changed from being mildly depressed to being normal. Both men and women reacted equally well to the supplement.

Mild depression disappears after taking fish oil for three weeks

The researchers divided the groups of depressive symptoms into two groups – a somatic vegetative subscale and a cognitive affective subscale. The first group of symptoms includes for example, lack of energy, sleep problems, reduced appetite, concentration problems, fatigue, pessimism and lack of interest in sex.

The second group of symptoms includes sadness, guilt, lack of self-esteem, self-criticism, suicidal thoughts, listlessness and indecisiveness.

Mild depression disappears after taking fish oil for three weeks

The supplementation reduced both groups of symptoms, but only in the cognitive affective symptoms was the reduction statistically significant.

"This study is the first to demonstrate the positive psychological effects of short-term low doses of long-chain omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids supple mentation on undergraduate students with depression", the researchers wrote.

"The nature of the dose, equivalent to two fatty fish meals per week, is something that could easily be modified in the diet of undergraduate students. A larger study is needed to examine these effects and other potential dietary strategies."

Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;229(1-2):485-9.

Meta-study: only fish oil with high amounts of EPA effective antidepressant 22.03.2014
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