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Fish oils are sources of special oils called omega-3 fatty acids. There is a lot of good quality research into the natural treatment of depression, including taking fish oil for depression.

Fish Oil for Depression

Fish oil can be an anti-depressant. Many clinical trials looking at depression show that adding omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil benefit depressive symptoms [7]. Fish oil is believed to help more notably in those with major depression versus minor depression, with virtually no safety concerns. In fact, it can also have beneficial effects on other aspects of health, including cardiovascular health.

How Fish Oil Helps with Depression

Fish oil is proposed to helped depression through 2 main mechanisms. The first mechanism is by reducing inflammation and the second is by affecting neurotransmitters [5]. Fish oil contains two main fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic (DHA). EPA appears to be more powerful for depression. Look for a product with about 60% EPA to DHA [5].

Diet or Supplementation?

The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram per day in the standard diet. Taking fish oil for depression may require higher dosages; talk to your naturopath.  One piece of fatty fish typically yields somewhere between 250 mg to 1 gram [5] of EPA and DHA. So generally speaking, supplementation is indicated. Be sure to get good quality fish oil supplements, as fish oil can be significant contributors of lipid peroxides. Use a  professional brand recommended by a health care practitioner.

Need Help with Depression?

When it comes to assessing and treating depression, there’s more to it than fish oil. Our counsellors and naturopaths can help!


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About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

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Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.

While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.

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