A new meta-analysis supports the link between intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, and reduction in major depressive disorder (MDD).
The meta-analysis only included studies in adult patients with MDD assessed using standardized clinical interviews, and excluded studies that specifically studied perinatal/perimenopausal or comorbid MDD, in order to get a more homogenous population. Studies not applying a randomized placebo-controlled trial design were also excluded. This criteria resulted in 13 studies with a total of 1233 participants (out of an original pool of 1955 studies).
The analysis of these studies showed a benefit for these omega-3 acids that was comparable to effects reported in meta-analyses of antidepressants. The effect was greater in studies supplementing higher doses of EPA and performed in patients already on antidepressants.
Mocking, R. J. T., Harmsen, I., Assies, J., Koeter, M. W. J., Ruhe, H. G., & Schene, A. H. (2016). Meta-analysis and meta-regression of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for major depressive disorder. Transl Psychiatry, 6, e756. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.29