Is there any benefit to taking fish oil supplements for depression?

Fish oil supplements may help ease symptoms of depression in some people. Some studies in adults suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate depression, but more research is needed. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in brain function. People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic (i-koe-suh-pen-tuh-e-NO-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doe-koe-suh-hek-suh-e-NO-ik) acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can be found in fish oil. Eating fish a few times a week may provide your body with these healthy oils. Examples of fish high in omega-3s include sardines, salmon, herring, trout and canned white (albacore) tuna. If you're pregnant or nursing, due to mercury levels, limit your weekly fish intake to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of fish and make wise choices. For example, salmon is typically low in mercury. But eat no more than 6 ounces (170 grams) of canned white tuna a week because it's higher in mercury than light canned tuna. However, while it's generally true that the best way to get nutrients is through healthy foods, this is one example where a supplement may help. Some studies have shown that contaminants like mercury do not appear to accumulate in fish oil, but remain primarily in the meat of the fish. So if you're concerned about mercury, a high-quality fish oil supplement may help with depression, but ask your doctor for advice. Fish oil isn't considered a replacement for treatment of depression, but it may be helpful as an addition to prescribed medications or other treatment. Although more studies are needed to determine exactly what role omega-3s play in depression, it's possible that fish oil supplements high in omega-3s may help lower the risk of depression — and omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health.

Related Questions

Will omega 3 fish oil supplements help with depression or is that just a myth?

Omega 3s support. brain health and through that mood and cognition. You need good quality and the right dose or it won't help. Read the label to see that the combo of EPA & DHA equals 50% or more of the total capsule mgs. Fish Oil needs to be pure, pharmaceutical grade. Res-Q is a good brand, as is Nordic Naturals. ProThera is good but you need a health pro to get it for you. One cap won't do it. Read more...
Not a myth. A number of studies have supported the notion that Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial in the treatment of depression. http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/fish-oil-to-treat-depression. Read more...

Can I start taking fish oil or do I have to ask my doctor first? Which brand is the best to help with depression. Is nature maid fish oil a good one?

OK to start but also. Fish oil is perfectly safe; you don't have to ask your doc but should tell him or her. Fish oil can improve results when added to drugs for depression but it's not yet clear how much it helps depression by itself. Choose a brand that's purified-nature made is, so it's ok, but one that is also esterified, like nordic naturals, may be better absorbed. While fish oil can help, see comment for more:. Read more...