Center for Women’s Mental Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70 Suppl 5:7-11.
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.