RSSLow-dose DHA for depression

Posted on Mon, 14 May 18

Low-dose DHA for depression

Low-dose docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could be of substantial benefit in severe depression, with 45% of people previously unresponsive to medication or psychotherapy achieving clinical remission. 

A remarkable pilot study has suggested that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement typically derived from fish oil or algae, could help people with severe depression who are not responsive to typical treatment with drugs or psychotherapy. 

In an 8-week open-label pilot trial, patients with major depressive symptoms who were non-responsive to medication or psychotherapy received either 260 mg or 520 mg per day of DHA in addition to their usual treatment. 

At the end of the study, 54% of participants had a greater than 50% reduction in depression scores, and 45% were in remission. 

This study is important because most studies of omega-3 fatty acids in depression have focused on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), with relatively few examining DHA. Despite being a small open label trial with no placebo control, the clinical benefit was large and should encourage further research. 


Smith DJ, Sarris J, Dowling N, O'Connor M, Ng CH. Adjunctive low-dose docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for major depression: An open-label pilot trial. Nutr  Neurosci. 2018 Apr;21(3):224-228.

Tags: Omega 3, Fish Oil, Depression

Related Articles

« Back to Latest Blog Entries