Studies: Omega-3 Improves Mood

EPA Versus Fluoxetine For Major Depressive Disorder

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;42(3):192-8.

OBJECTIVE: To compare therapeutic effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), fluoxetine and a combination of them in major depression. METHOD: Sixty outpatients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder based on DSM-IV criteria and a score >or=15 in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were randomly allocated to receive daily either 1000 mg EPA or 20 mg fluoxetine, or their combination for 8 weeks. Double dummy technique was used to double blind the study. Patients were assessed at 2 week intervals. Change in HDRS was the primary outcome measure. RESULTS: Analysis of covariance for HDRS at week 8 across treatment groups was performed in 48 patients who completed at least 4 weeks of the study, with the last observation carried forward. Treatment, age of onset and baseline HDRS had a significant effect on HDRS at week 8. EPA +  fluoxetine combination was significantly better than fluoxetine or EPA alone from the fourth week of treatment. Fluoxetine and EPA appear to be equally effective in controlling depressive symptoms. Response rates (>or=50% decrease in baseline HDRS) were 50%, 56% and 81% in the fluoxetine, EPA and combination groups, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: In the present 8 week trial EPA and fluoxetine had equal therapeutic effects in major depressive disorder. EPA + fluoxetine combination was superior to either of them alone.

PMID: 18247193

 

Meta- Analysis Of Fish Oil For Depression

J Clin Psychiatry. 2007 Jul;68(7):1056-61.

OBJECTIVE: Evidence has indicated an association between depression and low dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, clinical trials examining the therapeutic benefit of omega-3 PUFAs in depression showed inconsistent results. The goal of this study is to systematically evaluate the antidepressant efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs by using meta-analytic method. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO databases were searched from 1966 through August 2006 using the key words (depression OR depressive disorder OR mood disorder) AND (omega-3 OR EPA OR DHA OR poly-unsaturated fatty acid OR fish oil). The search was limited to literature in English and clinical trials. STUDY SELECTION: Ten double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in patients with mood disorders receiving omega-3 PUFAs with the treatment period lasting 4 weeks or longer were included. DATA EXTRACTION: Effect size (ES) of each individual study was derived by computing the standardized mean difference. A random-effects model was used to pool the ESs of all included studies. DATA SYNTHESIS: When pooling the results of 10 included studies (N = 329), we found a significant antidepressant effect of omega-3 PUFAs (ES = 0.61, p = .003). Likewise, omega-3 PUFAs significantly improved depression in patients with clearly defined depression (ES = 0.69, p = .002) or with bipolar disorder (ES = 0.69, p = .0009). The dosage of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) did not change the antidepressant efficacy significantly. However, significant heterogeneity among these studies and publication bias were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Although our meta-analysis showed significant antidepressant efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs, it is still premature to validate this finding due to publication bias and heterogeneity. More large-scale, well-controlled trials are needed to find out the favorable target subjects, therapeutic dose of EPA, and the composition of omega-3 PUFAs in treating depression.

PMID: 17685742

 

Fish Oil For Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007;17(6-7):440-7.

BACKGROUND: To test the effectiveness and safety of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of pediatric bipolar disorder (BPD). METHOD: Subjects (N=20) were outpatients of both sexes, 6 to 17 years of age, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of BPD and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score of >15 treated over an 8-week period in open-label trial with omega-3 fatty acids 1290 mg-4300 mg combined EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). RESULTS: Subjects experienced a statistically significant but modest 8.9+/-2.9 point reduction in the YMRS scores (baseline YMRS=28.9+/-10.1; endpoint YMRS=19.1+/-2.6, p<0.001). Adverse events were few and mild. Red blood cell membrane levels of EPA and DHA increased in treated subjects. CONCLUSIONS: As only 35% of these subjects had a response by the usual accepted criteria of >50% decrease on the YMRS, omega-3 fatty acids treatment was associated with a very modest improvement in manic symptoms in children with BPD.

PMID: 17258897

 

EPA For Adult Bipolar Disorder

Br J Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;188:46-50.

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological and clinical studies suggest that increased intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) alleviates unipolar depression. AIMS: To examine the efficacy of EPA in treating depression in bipolar disorder. METHOD: In a12-week, double-blind study individuals with bipolar depression were randomly assigned to adjunctive treatment with placebo (n=26) or with 1 g/day (n=24) or 2g/day (n=25) of ethyl-EPA. Primary efficacy was assessed by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), with changes in the Young Mania Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) as secondary outcome measures. RESULTS: There was no apparent benefit of 2 g over 1 g ethyl-EPA daily. Significant improvement was noted with ethyl-EPA treatment compared with placebo in the HRSD (P=0.04) and the CGI (P=0.004) scores. Both doses were well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive ethyl-EPA is an effective and well-tolerated intervention in bipolar depression.

PMID: 16388069

 

Fish Oil For Childhood Major Depressive Disorder

Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(6):1098-100.

OBJECTIVE: Major depressive disorder in children may be more common than previously thought, and its therapeutics are unclear. Because of success in a previous study on omega-3 fatty acids in adult major depressive disorder, the authors planned a pilot study of omega-3 fatty acids in childhood major depression. METHOD: Children who entered the study were between the ages of 6 and 12. Ratings were performed at baseline and at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks using Children's Depression Rating Scale (CDRS), Children's Depression Inventory(CDI), and Clinical Global Impression (CGI). Children were randomized to omega-3 fatty acids or placebo as pharmacologic monotherapy. Twenty-eight patients were randomized, and 20 completed at least 1 month's ratings. RESULTS: Analysis of variance showed highly significant effects of omega-3 on symptoms using the CDRS, CDI, and CGI. CONCLUSIONS: Omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic benefits in childhood depression.

PMID: 16741212

 

EPA For Adult Bipolar Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;66(6):726-9.

INTRODUCTION: Epidemiologic studies have suggested that consumption of cold water fish oils may have some protective function against depression. This proposition is supported by a series of biochemical and pharmacologic studies that have suggested that fatty acids may modulate neurotransmitter metabolism and cell signal trans-duction in humans and that abnormalities in fatty acid and eicosanoid metabolism may play a causal role in depression. Aware of the critical need for antidepression treatments that might not carry the risk of precipitating a manic episode in bipolar patients, we decided to conduct an open-label add-on trial of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in bipolar depression. METHOD: Twelve bipolar I outpatients with depressive symptoms diagnosed by DSM-IV were treated with 1.5 to 2 g/day of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA for up to 6 months. The study was conducted between September 2001 and January 2003. RESULTS: Eight of the 10 patients who completed at least 1 month of follow-up achieved a 50% or greater reduction in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores within 1 month. No patients developed hypomania or manic symptoms. No significant side effects were reported. LIMITATIONS: This study is limited both by the open-label design and by the small sample size. As in all previous reported studies, patients in this study were treated in an outpatient setting, so that the most severely depressed bipolar patients (requiring hospitalization) are not represented. CONCLUSIONS: Although the ultimate utility of omega-3 fatty acids in bipolar depression is still an open question, we believe that these initial results are encouraging, especially for mild to moderate bipolar depression, and justify the continuing exploration of its use.

PMID: 15960565

 

EPA For Adult Bipolar Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;66(6):726-9.

INTRODUCTION: Epidemiologic studies have suggested that consumption of cold water fish oils may have some protective function against depression. This proposition is supported by a series of biochemical and pharmacologic studies that have suggested that fatty acids may modulate neurotransmitter metabolism and cell signal trans-duction in humans and that abnormalities in fatty acid and eicosanoid metabolism may play a causal role in depression. Aware of the critical need for antidepression treatments that might not carry the risk of precipitating a manic episode in bipolar patients, we decided to conduct an open-label add-on trial of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in bipolar depression. METHOD: Twelve bipolar I outpatients with depressive symptoms diagnosed by DSM-IV were treated with 1.5 to 2 g/day of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA for up to 6 months. The study was conducted between September 2001 and January 2003. RESULTS: Eight of the 10 patients who completed at least 1 month of follow-up achieved a 50% or greater reduction in Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores within 1 month. No patients developed hypomania or manic symptoms. No significant side effects were reported. LIMITATIONS: This study is limited both by the open-label design and by the small sample size. As in all previous reported studies, patients in this study were treated in an outpatient setting, so that the most severely depressed bipolar patients (requiring hospitalization) are not represented. CONCLUSIONS: Although the ultimate utility of omega-3 fatty acids in bipolar depression is still an open question, we believe that these initial results are encouraging, especially for mild to moderate bipolar depression, and justify the continuing exploration of its use.

PMID: 15960565

 

Fish Oil For Adult Bipolar Disorder

Nutr J. 2005 Feb 9;4:6.

This is a report on a 37-patient continuation study of the open ended, Omega-3 Fatty Acid (O-3FA) add-on study. Subjects consisted of the original 19 patients, along with 18 new patients recruited and followed in the same fashion as the first nineteen. Subjects carried a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and were visiting a Mood Disorder Clinic regularly through the length of the study. At each visit, patients' clinical status was monitored using the Clinical Monitoring Form. Subjects reported on the frequency and severity of irritability experienced during the preceding ten days; frequency was measured by way of percentage of days in which subjects experienced irritability, while severity of that irritability was rated on a Likert scale of 1-4 (if present). The irritability component of Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) was also recorded quarterly on 13 of the 39 patients consistently. Patients had persistent irritability despite their ongoing pharmacologic and psychotherapy. Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake helped with the irritability component of patients suffering from bipolar disorder with a significant presenting sign of irritability. Low dose (1 to 2 grams per day), add-on O-3FA may also help with the irritability component of different clinical conditions, such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric conditions with a common presenting sign of irritability.

PMID: 15703073

 

Fish Oil For Relaxing The Brain In Bipolar Disorder

Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;161(10):1922-4.

OBJECTIVE: The authors hypothesized that changes in brain membrane composition resulting from omega-3 fatty acid administration in patients with bipolar disorder would result in greater membrane fluidity, as detected by reductions in T(2) values. METHOD: Women with bipolar disorder (N=12) received omega-3 fatty acids for 4 weeks. A cohort of bipolar subjects (N=9) and a group without bipolar disorder (N=12) did not receive omega-3 fatty acids. T(2) values were acquired at baseline and after 4 weeks. RESULTS: Bipolar subjects who received omega-3 fatty acids had significant decreases in T(2). There was a dose-dependent effect when the bipolar omega-3 fatty acid group was subdivided into high- and low-dose cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: Omega-3 fatty acids lowered T(2) values, consistent with the hypothesis that the fluidity of cell membranes was altered. Further studies are needed to clarify the significance of alterations in brain physiology induced by omega-3 fatty acids, as reflected in T(2) values.

PMID: 15465995

 

Fish Oil In Major Depressive Disorder

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2003 Aug;13(4):267-71.

Patients with depression have been extensively reported to be associated with the abnormality of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including significantly low eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in cell tissue contents (red blood cell membrane, plasma, etc.) and dietary intake. However, more evidence is needed to support its relation. In this study, we conducted an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, comparing omega-3 PUFAs (6.6 g/day) [corrected] with placebo, on the top of the usual treatment, in 28 patients with major depressive disorder. Patients in the omega-3 PUFA group had a significantly decreased score on the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression than those in the placebo group (P < 0.001). From the preliminary findings in this study, omega-3 PUFAs could improve the short-term course of illness and were well tolerated in patients with major depressive disorder.

PMID: 12888186

 

EPA For Major Depressive Disorder; A Dose- Ranging Trial

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002 Oct;59(10):913-9.

BACKGROUND: In depressed patients, low blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid are seen. We tested the antidepressive effect of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in these patients. METHODS: We included 70 patients with persistant depression despite ongoing treatment with an adequate dose of a standard antidepressant. Patients were randomized on a double-blind basis to placebo or ethyl-eicosapentaenoate at dosages of 1, 2, or 4 g/d for 12 weeks in addition to unchanged background medication. Patients underwent assessment using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory. RESULTS: Forty-six (88%) of 52 patients receiving ethyl-eicosapentaenoate and 14 (78%) of 18 patients receiving placebo completed the 12-week study with no serious adverse events. The 1-g/d group showed a significantly better outcome than the placebo group on all 3 rating scales. In the intention-to-treat group, 5 (29%) of 17 patients receiving placebo and 9 (53%) of 17 patients receiving 1 g/d of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate achieved a 50% reduction on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score. In the per-protocol group, the corresponding figures were 3 (25%) of 12 patients for placebo and 9 (69%) of 13 patients for the 1-g/d group. The 2-g/d group showed little evidence of efficacy, whereas the 4-g/d group showed nonsignificant trends toward improvement. All of the individual items on all 3 rating scales improved with the 1-g/d dosage of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate vs placebo, with strong beneficial effects on items rating depression, anxiety, sleep, lassitude, libido, and suicidality. CONCLUSION: Treatment with ethyl-eicosapentaenoate at a dosage of 1g/d was effective in treating depression in patients who remained depressed despite adequate standard therapy.

PMID: 12365878

 

Fish Oil For Unipolar Depression

Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Mar;159(3):477-9.

OBJECTIVE: Studies have reported that countries with high rates of fish oil consumption have low rates of depressive disorder. The authors studied a specific omega-3 fatty acid, the ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA), as an adjunct to treatment for depressive episodes occurring in patients with recurrent unipolar depressive disorder who were receiving maintenance antidepressant therapy. METHOD: Twenty patients with a current diagnosis of major depressive disorder participated in a 4-week, parallel-group, double-blind addition of either placebo or E-EPA to ongoing antidepressant therapy. Seventeen of the patients were women, and three were men. RESULTS: Highly significant benefits of the addition of the omega-3 fatty acid compared with placebo were found by week 3 of treatment. CONCLUSIONS: It is not possible to distinguish whether E-EPA augments antidepressant action in the manner of lithium or has independent antidepressant properties of its own.

PMID: 11870016

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids In Bipolar Disorder

BACKGROUND: Omega3 fatty acids may inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproate, 2 effective treatments for bipolar disorder. The present study was performed to examine whether omega3 fatty acids also exhibit mood-stabilizing properties in bipolar disorder. METHODS: A 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, comparing omega3 fatty acids (9.6 g/d) vs placebo (olive oil), in addition to usual treatment, in 30 patients with bipolar disorder. RESULTS: A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the cohort found that the omega3 fatty acid patient group had a significantly longer period of remission than the placebo group (P = .002; Mantel-Cox). In addition, for nearly every other outcome measure, the omega3 fatty acid group performed better than the placebo group. CONCLUSION: Omega3 fatty acids were well tolerated and improved the short-term course of illness in this preliminary study of patients with bipolar disorder.

PMID: 10232294