Research

Omega-3 or B vitamins fail to benefit depressive symptoms, but low doses may be at fault

01-Jun-2012 - By Stephen Daniells
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Supplements of B vitamins or omega-3 fatty acids may not benefit depressive symptoms in heart disease survivors, says a new study, but low doses and methodology flaws have led a leading industry figure to discount the results.

Data published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that long-term, low-dose supplementation with B vitamins or omega-3s had no effects on depressive symptoms, and that the omega-3s may actually worsen such symptoms.

Researchers from the University of Paris and the Victor Segalen University, Bordeaux 2, in France conducted a trial with 2,501 cardiovascular disease survivors. Participants were assigned to receive either 0.56 mg per day of 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate, 3 mg per day of B6 and 0.02 mg per day of B12, or 600 mg per day of EPA plus DHA for an average of 4.7 years.

However, the study’s findings were discounted by Harry Rice, PhD, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for GOED, the omega-3 trade association. Speaking to NutraIngredients-USA, Dr Rice said: “While the jury remains split on whether or not EPA and DHA effectively treat depression, results from the current study, using a relatively low dose of EPA and DHA, do little to advance our understanding of the potential role of the long-chain omega-3s in treating depression.

“As noted by the authors, an important limitation of the current study was that it was ‘based on ancillary data analyses of a secondary outcome’. Furthermore, the instrument used to assess depression was administered at years 3 and 5 of follow-up, but not at baseline.

“Unfortunately, this methodological faux pas, along with the low dose of EPA and DHA, leave me no choice but to discount the results.”

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.035253
“Supplementation with B vitamins or n−3 fatty acids and depressive symptoms in cardiovascular disease survivors: ancillary findings from the SUpplementation with FOLate, vitamins B-6 and B-12 and/or OMega-3 fatty acids (SU.FOL.OM3) randomized trial”
Authors: V.A. Andreeva, P. Galan, M. Torres, C. Julia, S. Hercberg, E. Kesse-Guyot

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