Oily Fish could help beat severe depression

16 June 2021  |  Editor

Oily Fish could help beat severe depression

Fatty acids found in oily fish could be used to help to reduce symptoms of severe depression, research suggests.

A study led by King’s College London showed for the first time that when omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (Pufas) are given to patients with depression there is an improvement in symptoms.

The fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in oily fish and when metabolised help to reduce inflammation, high levels of which are often found in people with major depression.

Researchers from the National Institute of Health Research Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre assessed the effects of EPA and DHA in lab-grown neurones and then in patients to clarify how they reduced inflammation.

The study involved 22 patients with major depression who were given 3g of EPA or 1.4g of DHA daily for 12 weeks. Those on EPA had an average 64% reduction in in depression symptoms and those given DHA had an average cut of 71%.

Mackerel, sardines and salmon are good sources of fatty acids but to reach the levels used in the study would require supplements.

In 2016 a review of 13 studies showed that taking omega-3 supplements helps to improve sadness and fatigue by reducing inflammation in brain cells.

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