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Omega-3 Supplements Don't Help With Depression

U.K. scientists find little evidence they ease symptoms

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FRIDAY, Nov. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- There's little evidence that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements helps treat depression, according to a review published online Nov. 5 in The Cochrane Library.

Katherine Appleton, Ph.D., of Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed 26 studies that included 1,438 patients with depression.

In the review, the symptom scores among those who took the supplements were slightly lower than for those who took a placebo. But, the difference was small and there were significant limitations in the studies that could have affected the results.

"We found a small-to-modest positive effect of omega-3 fatty acids compared to placebo, but the size of this effect is unlikely to be meaningful to people with depression, and we considered the evidence to be of low or very low quality," Appleton said in a journal news release. "At present, we just don't have enough high quality evidence to determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for major depressive disorder. It's important that people who suffer from depression are aware of this, so that they can make more informed choices about treatment."

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