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J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70 Suppl 5:7-11. doi: 10.4088/JCP.8157su1c.02.

Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder.

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Center for Women's Mental Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Simches Research Building, 185 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Patients with major depressive disorder have high rates of cardiovascular disease and other medical comorbidity. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish and seafood, have cardiovascular health benefits and may play an adjunctive role in the treatment of mood disorders. However, existing studies on omega-3 fatty acids in depression have limitations such as small sample sizes and a wide variance in study design, and results regarding efficacy are mixed. The preponderance of data from placebo-controlled treatment studies suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are a reasonable augmentation strategy for the treatment of major depressive disorder. More research is necessary before omega-3 supplements can be recommended as monotherapy for the treatment of depression. For many individuals with major depressive disorder, augmentation with omega-3 fatty acids should be considered, as general health benefits are well established and adjunctive use is low risk.

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