Fish Oil for Depression

A new study has shown that fish oil can create an antidepressant response. The study used patient derived stem cells as a model for major depressive disorder to test how a patient could respond to medication and also fish oil.

The University of Chicago researchers utilized stem cells from adults who had been clinical diagnosed with depression. The research has provided a number of novel findings that can help scientists better understand how the brain works and also why some people who suffer from depression respond to drug treatments while others only experience limited benefits from antidepressant medications.

The team was also excited to find scientific evidence that fish oil which is an easy to get, natural product, may be an effective treatment for depression. Depression or major depressive disorder, is the most common psychiatric disorder. About one in six people will experience at least one depressive episode during their lifetime. However, unfortunately antidepressant treatments fail in about one-third of these patients.

In the study the team used skin cells from adults who suffered from depression. These skin cells were converted into stem cells to develop into nerve cells. The biopsies of the skin were taken from two types of patients – patients who previously responded to antidepressant treatments and patients who had previously been resistant to antidepressants.

When fish oil was tested, the models from both the treatment-resistant patients and the treatment-sensitive patients both responded. The responses were similar to what had been seen from prescription antidepressants, but it was produced through a different mechanism.

The team observed that fish oil was acting in part on glial cells and not neurons. For many years scientists have paid little attention to glia which is a type of brain cell that surrounds neurons. There is now increasing evidence that glia may play a role in depression. The recent study suggests that glia may also be important for antidepressant actions.

The study has also indicated that a stem cell model can be utilized to study responses to treatment and that fish oil as a treatment or even a companion to treatment for depression, warrants further study.

For those that want to take fish oil it is important to purchase one that is very high quality. Cheap fish oils tend to be rancid and contain PCB’s, dioxin, flame retardant chemicals and other pollutants. The more expensive fish oils such as Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega which can be purchased at most health food stores are more much more effective. Life Code does not sell fish oil or have any financial interest in Nordic Naturals.

To view the original scientific study click below

N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids promote astrocyte differentiation and neurotrophin production independent of cAMP in patient-derived neural stem cells.