Monday, September 15, 2008

Just one gram, that's all it takes!

A couple of years ago I prescribed fish oil to a client with depression. Her psychologist told her my recommendation was not proven in the research. These days, I'd be able to counter with a lot more hard data.

For example, in one study, 35 depressed adults (about half women, half men) were divided into 3 groups and given 3 different doses of DHA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. 83% of the group with the lowest dose responded to the DHA with decreased symptoms of depression! Higher doses did not seem to be as effective.

My guess is, there may be a threshold over which adding more therapy into the system exceeds the body's ability to use it. So even with fish oil, more is not better may not be the appropriate approach.

However, I do like knowing that even a little bit of this very available, very inexpensive, nonpharmacological treatment can have profound effects on a common and debilitating issue. It's worth a try!

Mischoulon D, Best-Popescu C, Laposata M, Merens W, Murakami JL, Wu SL, Papakostas GI, Dording CM, Sonawalla SB, Nierenberg AA, Alpert JE, Fava M. A double-blind dose-finding pilot study of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for major depressive disorder. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 Sep;18(9):639-45. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

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