Many scientific articles suppose a role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) - particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6, n-3) - as an adjuvant therapy of depression.
We are carrying out a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study - approved by Ethic Committee - to evaluate the adjuvant effect of EPA and DHA in the therapy with paroxetine mesylate, a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), in unipolar mood depression and recurrent depression.
In the first phase (T0 baseline), the authors enrolled 20 patients, male or female, between 20 and 60 years old, affected by major depression or recurrent depression according to DSM IV TR. We excluded anticoagulant therapies, pregnancy, concomitant treatment with other drugs and presence of psychotic disorders. The initial plasmatic fatty acid level of cohort of 55 subjects (20 patients and 35 controls) has been evaluated by gas chromatography.
Our preliminary results indicate a general alteration of serum fatty acid levels in depressed subjects compared to healthy subjects, with a high significant statistical difference between the two groups. This difference may help in defining a biological indicator of mood depression. A remarkable different serum fatty acid concentration was still observed, after adjustments regarding diet.
Parker G, Gibson NA, Brotchie H, Heruc G, Rees AM, Hadzi-Pavlovic D. Omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(6):969-78.