Food and Behaviour Research

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A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid in the treatment of major depression

Marangell, L.B., Martinez, J.M., Zboyan, H.A., Kertz, B., Kim, H.F., Puryear, L.J. (2003) American Journal of Psychiatry 160(5) 996-8. 

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OBJECTIVE: This study was an evaluation of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the treatment of major depression. METHOD: Thirty-six depressed patients were randomly assigned to receive DHA, 2 g/day, or placebo for 6 weeks. Response was defined a priori as a > or =50% reduction in the score on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. Thirty-five participants were evaluable; 18 received DHA, and 17 received placebo. RESULTS: Response rates were 27.8% in the DHA group and 23.5% in the placebo group. The difference in response rates between groups did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: This trial failed to show a significant effect of DHA monotherapy in subjects with major depression.