Research: WILLIAMS and others,

Listed in Issue 128


WILLIAMS and others, Yale Prevention Research Center, 130 Division Street, Derby, CT 06418, USA, have analyzed the experimental evidence for a beneficial role of essential fatty acids for depression.


Preliminary evidence supports a hypothesis that low levels of essential fatty acids are associated with depression. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review examining the therapeutic efficacy of essential fatty acids for depression.


Data sources included Medline, Psychinfo, AMED, and Cochrane Controlled Trials Register databases. English language randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, intervention studies, case control studies, reviews, and case reports of humans were selected. Two Abstractors independently evaluated each study, then reconciled findings. When possible, between group treatment effect size was noted or calculated.


6 articles met inclusion criteria: 1 RCT, 2 reviews, and 3 case control trials. A common outcome measure among the case control trials allowed for direct comparison of effect sizes. The evidence implies promise of a treatment effect of n-3 fatty acids for depression in adults; although a statement of definitive clinical efficacy is premature.


Further study of essential fatty acids as independent and adjuvant therapy for depression is indicated.


Williams AL, Katz D, Ali A, Girard C, Goodman J, Bell I. Do essential fatty acids have a role in the treatment of depression? Journal of Affective Disorders 93 (1-3): 117-123, Jul 2006.


Readers are referred to the review feature Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depressive Disorders by Dr Alan C Logan ND FRSH which was published in Positive Health Issue 127 September 2006.

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