Improvement of major depression is associated with increased erythrocyte DHA

Barbara Meyer, Brin F S Grenyer, Trevor Crowe, Alice Jane Owen, Elizabeth M Grigonis-Deane, Peter RC Howe

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine if changes in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status following tuna oil supplementation correlated with changes in scores of depression. A total of 95 volunteers receiving treatment for major depression were randomised to consume 8 ? 1 g capsules per day of HiDHA (2 g DHA, 0.6 g EPA and 10 mg Vitamin E) or olive oil (placebo) for 16 weeks, whilst undergoing weekly counseling sessions by trained clinical psychologists using a standard empirically validated psychotherapy. Depression status was assessed using the 17 item Hamilton rating scale for depression and the Beck Depression Inventory by a psychodiagnostician who was blind to the treatment. Blood was taken at baseline and 16 weeks (n = 48) for measurement of erythrocyte fatty acids. With HiDHA supplementation, erythrocyte DHA content rose from 4.1 ? 0.2 to 7.9 ? 0.4 (mean ? SEM, p <0.001) of total fatty acids but did not change (4.0 ? 0.2 to 4.1 ? 0.2 ) in the olive oil group. The mean changes in scores of depression did not differ significantly between the two groups (-12.2 ? 2.1 for tuna oil and -14.4 ? 2.3 for olive oil). However, analysis of covariance showed that in the fish oil group there was a significant correlation (r = -0.5n-3 Fatty acids; Nutrition1) between the change in erythrocyte DHA and the change in scores of depression (p <0.05). Further study of the relationship between DHA and depression is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863 - 868
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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