Fish oil for depression?

By Nina Chhabra on October 21, 2019

Fish oil is a common supplement found in most pharmacies.  It is most likely to be used to help lower cholesterol levels. Recently, the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research has issued guidelines stating that the use of omega-3 fish oils in combination with antidepressants can have an overall greater effect towards achieving benefit in the treatment of depression1. The supplementation with fish oil was continued for at least 8 weeks to see benefit, with doses of fish oil in one to two grams per day.  It is important to note the source of fish oil.  Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or an EPA/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) combination of a ratio higher than 2 (EPA/DHA >2) is considered effective, and the recommended dosages should be 1-2 g of net EPA daily. Fish oil supplementation may also be an option in patients in whom treatment with antidepressant therapy is not feasible.

It is important to find a fish oil that is of good quality and is free from heavy metal contaminants such as mercury, and also to ensure the EPA/DHA are of significant levels.  Stop by our Vivo Health Pharmacy located in the Center for Advanced Medicine (450 Lakeville Road, Lake Success, NY 11042) to find our favorite fish oil supplements!

As always, there are side effects, or possible drug interactions with all supplements, so it is best to check with your pharmacist of health care provider before starting something new.


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Please note the above uses have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consumers should consult with their health care provider before taking any new medication or dietary supplement — especially pregnant or nursing mothers, children under 18, and individuals with a known medical condition.

Nina Chhabra earned her doctorate in pharmacy from St. John's University in New York. Prior to her becoming a Natural Medicines Specialist, she worked in a community pharmacy and as an inpatient pharmacist, focusing on diabetes and heart failure. She has served on the New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists and has given continuing education lectures regarding diabetes treatment to her peers.