Tag Archives: fish oil

High Doses of EPA for Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder

I have been researching the use of omega 3’s in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  The current studies agree that high doses of EPA work well to treat mood disorders.  DHA is another omega 3 and works better for cognition and fetal/infant development.  Studies show that supplementing with only EPA or higher doses of EPA than DHA work best for mood disorder.

I just had a baby and have been taking 1 gram of DHA throughout my pregnancy. I will continue this dose until I am done breatfeeding.  I have also been taking 500 mg of EPA.   Now I am increasing my EPA dose to 2 grams.  I am hoping this will help with postpartum depression, which I had badly with my 3 previous children. I will keep you posted as to my progress with this increase.  Here is some helpful information about EPA for depression, suggested doses, and relevant studies.

High Doses of Omega 3 EPA and Depresion

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

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Omega 3 and Depression

I started taking omega 3’s (specifically DHA and EPA) when pregnant with my first daughter. I remember thinking how good my mood was as I was not taking any of my prescription medications for anxiety and depression. I stopped the supplement shortly after having my daughter and did not begin taking it again until I was pregnant with my second daughter. Again, I was surprised by my stable mood. I continued taking the supplement after some research showing the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

I found a more potent form of DHA and EPA in a coated capsule from NOW vitamins. It did not give off the fishy aftertaste of fish oil and was more potent than flaxseed oil. One tablet contains 500mg of DHA and 250 of EPA. I take 2 a day. Studies suggest benefits from even higher doses.  I have found a lot of research supporting the claim that omega 3’s are very helpful in treating depression.  The following article does a nice job of summing up these benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids banish depression: Research

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be one of the safest, easiest ways to battle depression, research suggests.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and canola oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, kiwifruit and purslane.

Interest in a relationship between omega-3s and depression began with a number of correlational studies. Many epidemiological studies have found that populations with higher fish consumption report lower rates of depression, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder than nations with lower fish consumption. Similar effects have been seen within nations, with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts among people who eat more fish. A study in New Zealand found that people who ate more fish rated their mental health status more highly than people who ate less fish.

Studies have also shown that people with low levels of omega-3s in their bodies are significantly more likely to suffer from depression and other psychological disorders.

Clinical research confirms the link

A number of clinical trials have supported the effectiveness omega-3 supplementation as a way to alleviate depression symptoms, particularly in patients who have not responded to treatment with antidepressant drugs.

One such study was conducted by researchers from the University of Pavia, Italy, and published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging in 2011. In a double-blind experiment, researchers randomly assigned 46 depressed women between the ages of 66 and 95 to take a supplement consisting of either omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or a placebo. The omega-3 supplement consisted of 1.67 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 0.83 g per day of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

After two months, women who had been taking omega-3s showed significant improvements on measures of depression and mental and physical health status; no such improvement was seen in the placebo group.

“The supplementation of omega-3 LCPUFA in elderly female patients reduces the occurrence of depressive symptoms, improves phospholipids fatty acids profile and health-related quality of life,” the researchers wrote.

Effective across a broad spectrum

One of the most comprehensive investigations of omega-3s’ effects on depression was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2010. More than 400 men and women participated in the randomized, double-blind study, and were assigned to take three capsules a day of either a placebo or a fish oil supplement with high concentrations of EPA. Unlike many clinical trials of antidepressant drugs, the study included large numbers of patients with hard-to-treat conditions, including people suffering from both depression and anxiety and people whose depression had not responded to drugs. This was meant to gain a sense of how omega-3s would function in a more real-world setting.

The researchers found that after eight weeks, depression symptoms had significantly decreased among those who took the omega-3 supplement, but only among patients who also suffered from anxiety. The improvement was comparable to the improvement seen in studies performed on the effectiveness of antidepressants among an easier-to-treat population.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/39553

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621111238.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC533861/

Omega 3 Benefits

Omega 3 Benefits (from omega-3.us)

1. Freedom from pain and inflammation. The National Institute of Health’s website, Medline Plus says, “Omega-3 fatty acids reduce pain and swelling.” How? Omega 3 fish oil fatty acids, particularly EPA, are involved in your body’s inflammatory response and inflammation cycle. Relieving the inflammation (swelling) will help reduce the pain.

2. Better brain function and higher intelligence. Pregnant and nursing mothers who include omega 3 fatty acids in their diets, may have a positive impact on their babies intelligence. For adults, fish oil is also being researched in association with improved memory, recall, reasoning and focus.

3. Feeling better with much less depression. Making you smarter is not all that fish oil may do for your brain. Psychiatry department researchers at the University of Sheffield UK, along with other research studies, have seen the possibility that the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements “alleviated” the symptoms of depression, bipolar and psychosis. [Journal of Affective Disorder Vol. 48(2-3);149-55]  **for more info see: Omega 3 and Depression**

4. Lower incidence of childhood disorders. Just to show how omega 3 fatty acids leave nobody out, studies suggest that children (and adults) with ADD and ADHD may experience a greatly improved quality of life. From Medline Plus, “Taking fish oil seems to improve thinking skills and behavior in 8 to 12 year-old children with ADHD.”

5. Superior cardiovascular health. Research has suggested that the DHA, EPA and DPA in fish oil may have a positive effect on heart disease. According to Medline Plus, “Fish oil may be effective in keeping people with healthy hearts free of heart disease. People who already have heart disease may be able to lower their risk of dying from heart disease by taking fish oil. Though not all researchers agree, some investigators believe that fish oil may be even more effective in reducing death from heart attacks than a group of commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins.”

6. Protection from heart attack and stroke. When plaque builds up on arterial walls and then breaks loose, it causes what’s known as a thrombosis, which is a fancy way of saying clot. If a clot gets stuck in the brain, it causes a stroke and when it plugs an artery, it causes a heart attack. From Medline Plus: “Moderate fish consumption (once or twice a week) seems to lower the risk of having a stroke by as much as 27%.”

DHA/EPA and the Omega-3 Recommended Intakes

Life Stages

Age

Males (g/day)

Females (g/day)

Infants 0-6 mos

0.5

0.5

Infants 7-12 mos

0.5

0.5

Children 1-3 yrs

0.7

0.7

Children 4-8 yrs

0.9

0.9

Children 9-13 yrs

1.2

1.2

Children 14-18 yrs

1.6

1.1

Adults 19 yrs and older

1.6

1.1

Pregnancy All ages

1.4

Breastfeeding All ages

1.3