Over the last few years, there have been a few small studies indicating that perhaps fish oil supplements can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Anecdotal reports indicate that some individuals do better with fish oil supplements alone.
Fish oil is known to be a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to play a role in the normal functioning and development of brain. A few isolated reports indicate that depressed individuals also have low levels of eicosapentaneoic acid, which is a long chain fatty acid.
However, the evidence for fish oil and depression is very scant and only sporadic reports are available. One study showed that taking 2 gr of fish oil had no effect but a 4 gr dose did show some improvement in symptoms. Current research is now taking place to determine what percentage of patients can improve and how long the effects of the fish oil last.
At this point, fish oil is not recommended as a substitute treatment for depression. For the time being anti depressants still remain the standard of therapy and before one starts to embark on a therapy of fish oil only, discuss this issue with your physician. However, since fish oil is known to be beneficial for heart disease, there is absolutely no harm in taking fish oil with the present day anti depressants.
Rather than taking fish oil pills to get omega 3 fatty acid, a better alternative is eat more fish. The pills are expensive and who knows what else they contain. Other foods, which also have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, include flaxseed, canola oil, Soya beans, and walnuts. Unlike pills, natural foods are less likely to be contaminated with fake products or artificial ingredients. Remember melamine?