Docosahexanoic acid and omega-3 fatty acids in depression
by
Mischoulon D, Fava M
Depression Clinical and Research Program,
Department of Psychiatry,
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Psychiatr Clin North Am 2000 Dec; 23(4):785-94


ABSTRACT

Geographic areas where consumption of DHA is high are associated with decreased rates of depression. DHA deficiency states, such as alcoholism and the postpartum period, also are linked with depression. Individuals with major depression have marked depletions in omega-3 FAs (especially DHA) in erythrocyte phospholipids compared with controls. These data suggest that DHA may be associated with depression, and the limited data available on supplementation with DHA or other omega-3 FAs seem to support the hypothesis that DHA may have psychotropic effects. Overall, the use of EFAs is promising, particularly in view of the many illnesses potentially treatable with these substances; however, larger, carefully designed studies are needed to establish whether DHA is an effective and safe antidepressant, mood stabilizer, or antipsychotic. A few preliminary trials of DHA are in progress, but no studies comparing DHA against placebo or against an established antidepressant have been carried out. Studies to address this issue are being developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Studies likely will require escalating doses of DHA, eventually reaching high levels so as to ensure that patients will avoid a potentially ineffective subclinical dose. Careful monitoring of dietary intake among subjects also will necessary because a high intake of omega-3-rich foods may confound results. Finally, large-scale, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials comparing the efficacy and safety of DHA against standard antidepressants are required before psychiatrists can recommend DHA therapy as effective and safe for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. Given the popularity of self-medication by patients who already are taking marketed antidepressants, studies examining the use of DHA as an augmentor to standard antidepressants may answer whether DHA can occupy a niche as an augmenting agent for patients who have made a partial response or have not responded to conventional antidepressants. Considering that natural medications generally seem best for treating mild to moderate illness, the role of DHA as a therapy for minor and subsyndromal depression also should be considered. It is hoped that studies of these types will help to clarify some of the knowledge gaps outlined in this article.
EPA
DHA
SAMe
Dopamine
Low-fat blues
Food and mood
Neuroactive lipids
Omega 3 fatty acids
Folate and vitamin B12
Mood, food and cognition
Lipids, depression and suicide
Omega 3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder
Omega-3 for borderline personality disorder
Omega-3, inflammation/autoimmune diseases
Seafood, DHA content of mothers' milk and postpartum depression


Refs
and further reading

HOME
HedWeb
Nootropics
Cocaine.org
Future Opioids
BLTC Research
MDMA/Ecstasy
Superhapiness?
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family