Can Omega 3 Supplements Treat Depression?

We took our question to Toronto-based Naturopathic Doctor Leslie Solomonian. Here is her response:

It’s definitely been demonstrated clinically and in studies to improve mental health in general. The brain is largely composed of a particular type of Omega 3 fatty acid and as a society we tend not to get enough of that particular fat in our diet. So the use of long-chain fatty acids, particularly fish oil, has been shown to really benefit a number of aspects of mental health, including depression. Find out what brand Dr. Solomonian recommends after the jump.

Q: Is there any particular brand that you would suggest?

A: What’s really important to keep in mind with fish oils is their source and how well they’ve been cleared of heavy metals. One particular brand that is widely available is called Nutra Sea and it’s been fairly well demonstrated to be clear of the heavy metals that may have been in the fish as the source. Pretty much every health food store would have it and I’ve seen it in most grocery stores that have any semblance of a health food section. I hate to talk down about a product, but I would stay away from the typical Shopper’s Drug Mart variety of fish oils because the money and the research probably hasn’t gone into making sure that they are clean. So for some nutritional products you can buy pretty much anything, but for others you want to make sure that the quality is high both in terms of its benefit and in terms of its safety.

Q: How much should people take?

A: Normally we like to aim for about 2,000 mg of long-chain Omega 3s per day. DHA is the particular form that’s really
beneficial for mental health and so aim for anywhere between 1,000-2,000 mg of DHA if there are signs of depression. If a person is just wanting to maintain their health in general then you don’t need quite as much, you could probably aim for more like 750 mg a day of DHA.

Author by Jackie Burns