Omega-3 Supplements: Non-Pharmaceutical, May Help Fight Depression

Omega-3 supplements may be an effective tool to help some people overcome depression. The findings come from a major study, which was a collaboration between several Canadian universities and was recently published online by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The study found that over 8 weeks, low doses (1050 mg/daily) of omega-3 supplements yielded significant reductions in the symptoms of depression, and performed comparably to popular anti-depressant medications. However, it was only effective in patients who were suffering from depression but not anxiety. Patients with both depression and anxiety did not have much notable improvement from the omega-3 supplements.

In addition to the efficacy of omega-3 supplements in fighting depression, this form of treatment has several other advantages, say the study’s leaders. Even though depression is a very prevalent condition, afflicting people worldwide and of all ages, there are still some stigmas against seeking help in the form of therapy and especially in taking prescription drugs. Additionally, because omega-3 is derived from natural sources (fish oil is a common source), it comes with much lower risk of psychical and psychological side effects than do many synthetic pharmaceutical treatments for depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for physical health as well. Supplements in the form of fish oil pills are popular for those who don’t care to eat fish directly (or for higher doses). They have been associated with cancer prevention, immune function, brain health, and cardiovascular disease prevention. Currently, it’s unclear whether one of these physical health benefits is the reason that omega-3 supplements are proving effective for people struggling with depression. But when paired with therapy, omega-3 supplements may be a strong treatment regimen, especially for people concerned with the health risks that come with prescription drugs. Additional research will need to be done to find out whether the efficacy of omega-3 supplements against depression changes over time or with different doses.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • brucie


    June 25th, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    great to know that newer ideas are coming up and more so coz these newer ideas profess the use of natural methods rather than the pharmaceutical methods that come with their own side-effects and other disadvantages…now,only if there was a natural cure for everything…

  • Simmons


    June 26th, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    I have observed that some cooking oils contain omega-3 supplements.But hey,isn’t excessive use of oil harmful?I find this contradicting…Can anyone please explain?

  • Sun


    June 26th, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Physicians should be advising more and more patients to incorporate fish oil and omega 3s into their diets. But I think that like everything else it should all be in moderation. remember the soy craze of a few years back and now they say that too much of that can cause cancer in women. Well what if all of us jumping on the omega 3 bandwagon start to hear the same thing? These are healthy foods that these vitamins are found in, so why not make that a aprt of our daily diet and leave it at that? Don’t go to extremes just because one or two articles say that this is going to be the cure for all that ails you.

  • Barb


    June 27th, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    What are some other foods I can find omega 3s in because I really hate fish. Any suggestions?

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on