Depression: Can Fish Oil Help?

Fish oil may ease depression because it contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the omega-3 essential fatty acids that's severely deficient in Western diets. Although much more investigation is needed, several small studies have yielded exciting results2. Just a few examples:

  • In a 2002 clinical study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers added various doses of EPA to the regular therapy of 70 people who were not responding to standard antidepressant drugs. 69% of the patients who took 1 gram daily had a 50% reduction in all the symptoms of depression: anxiety, sadness, decreased libido, sleeping problems and suicidal tendencies3.
  • At Taiwan Medical University, researchers found that 4.4 grams EPA plus 2.2 grams DHA (docosahexaenoic acid - the other key omega-3 essential fatty acid in fish oil) could alleviate depression4.
  • Harvard University researchers found that 1 gram of pure EPA has a mood-regulating effect and is helpful for treating the depression and aggression of borderline personality disorder5.
  • Canadian researchers published a clinical study in 2003 comparing effects of fish oil vs. Neptune Krill Oil (NKO™) on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). They found that krill oil's EPA/DHA proved statistically more effective than fish oil for relieving the depression, irritability and stress of PMS1 and 6. And no wonder. Krill oil is superior to fish oil in every respect. Click here to find out why.


2 Logan AC, New Findings about Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression

3 Peet M, Horrobin DF. A dose-ranging study of the effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate in patients with ongoing depression despite adequate treatment with standard drugs. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002; 59: 913-19

4 SU KP, Huang SY, Chiu CC, Shen WW, Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder. A preliminary double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2003;13:267-71

5 Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment of women with borderline personality disorder; a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am J Psychiatry 2003; 160: 167-69

6 Sampalis F, Bunea R, Pelland MF, et al. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune krill oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. Altern Med Rev 2003;8:171-79

1Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Precautions: If you are pregnant, nursing, allergic to fish or shellfish, have a blood coagulation condition, are taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, or are currently under a physician's care for a health condition, please consult a healthcare professional prior to use.

NKO™ is a trademark of its manufacturer, Neptune Technologies and Bioresources, Inc.