National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids for Depression

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (also called PUFAs, short for polyunsaturated fatty acids) are among the CAM therapies used with the intent to help symptoms of depression. Anna-leila Williams, M.P.H., of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, led a team that reviewed evidence on this topic. The authors found five randomized controlled trials to be of sufficient quality for review, although all were small and of short duration. All but one of these trials found some improvement from using PUFAs for symptoms of depression, particularly from omega-3 fatty acids. The authors concluded that while the evidence to support using PUFA supplements as a treatment for depression is not strong, enough potential exists to merit further research. Journal of Affective Disorders, May 2006

Publication Date: 
May 1, 2006

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