Food and Behaviour Research

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Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements in Depressed Heart Failure Patients: Results of the OCEAN Trial

Jiang W, Whellan DJ, Adams KF, Babyak MA, Boyle SH, Wilson JL, Patel CB, Rogers JG, Harris WS, O'Connor CM (2018) JACC Heart Fail.  2018 Aug.  pii: S2213-1779(18)30226-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2018.03.011. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVES:

The goal of this study was to test the effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on omega-3 levels, depressive symptoms, and other psychosocial factors, as well as other chronic heart failure (CHF)-related functional measures.

BACKGROUND:

Patients with CHF and depression had low blood omega-3 concentrations that were associated with an elevated risk of mortality.

METHODS:

This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot clinical trial using a 400/200 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fish oil at 2 g and an almost pure EPA at 2 g, compared with a matched placebo, daily for 12 weeks for patients with CHF and major depressive disorder. Statistical analyses included the intention-to-treat population and "completers" (defined as participants consuming ≥70% of the capsules and completing the final endpoint evaluation between 10 and 14 weeks).

RESULTS:

A total of 108 patients with CHF and major depressive disorder and a score ≥18 on the Hamilton Depression Scale who were randomized at 1:1:1 to the 3 interventions at 3 enrolling centers from June 12, 2014, to May 19, 2016; 80 (74.1%) qualified as completers. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed that the levels of all omega-3 variables were significantly elevated in the omega-3 groups, whereas the placebo group showed little change; there were no between-group differences with overall depression measurements. Per-protocol exploratory analyses showed that scores on the social functioning measurement of the 36-item Short Form Health Survey improved notably in the 400/200 EPA/DHA (p = 0.040) and EPA (p = 0.10) groups compared with the placebo group. Spearman correlation analysis indicated that increased omega-3 indices were associated with improved cognitive depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS:

Omega-3 supplementation resulted in significant increases in omega-3 levels in red blood cell counts, corresponding to a particular compound of omega-3. Changes in cognitive depressive symptoms and social function were in favor of the omega-3 supplementation. Further studies with larger sample sizes are necessary to confirm the benefits of omega-3 supplementation on modifying psychosocial factors for patients with CHF.