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Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (n-3 PUFAs) in Cardiovascular Diseases Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Chang JP, Chang SS, Yang HT, Chen HT, Chien YC, Yang B, Su H, Su KP (2019) Brain Behav Immun.  2019 Mar.  pii: S0889-1591(18)31188-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.03.012. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here



Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and major depressive disorder (MDD) will be the two most disabling diseases by 2030. Patients with CVDs comorbid depression had lower levels of total omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. However, there have been limited studies on the effects n-3 PUFAs on MDD in patients with CVDs.


We have enrolled a total of 59 patients (64% males, mean age of 61.5 ± 9.0 years and mean education of 10.2 ± 4.2 years) with CVDs comorbid MDD. They were randomized into either receiving n-3 PUFAs (2 grams per day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1 gram of DHA) or placebo for 12 weeks. We assessed depression symptom severity with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), as well as blood fatty acid levels, electrocardiogram and blood biochemistry, at the baseline and at the endpoint.


The n-3 PUFAs group had a greater reduction in HAMD Delusion subscale scores than the placebo group at week 8 (p < .05). Moreover, subgroup analyses found that the n-3 group had a greater reduction of HAMD Core subscale scores than the placebo group at week 8 (p < .05) and at week 12 (p < .05) in the patients with severe MDD, but not in those with mild MDD.


N-3 PUFAs supplementation improved core depression symptoms in patients with severe MDD. N-3 PUFAs supplementation may provide a treatment option for patients with CVDs comorbid MDD.


See here for other research abstracts on the subject of omega-3 PUFAs and depression