Omega-3 and polyunsaturated fat for prevention of depression and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials

Deane, Katherine H. O., Jimoh, Oluseyi F., Biswas, Priti, O'Brien, Alex, Hanson, Sarah, Abdelhamid, Asmaa S., Fox, Chris and Hooper, Lee (2019) Omega-3 and polyunsaturated fat for prevention of depression and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. The British Journal of Psychiatry. ISSN 0007-1250

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Abstract

Background: There is strong public belief that polyunsaturated fats protect against and ameliorate depression and anxiety. Aims: To assess effects of increasing omega-3, omega-6 or total polyunsaturated fat on prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms. Method: We searched widely (Central, Medline, Embase to April 2017, trials registers to September 2016, ongoing trials updated August 2019), including trials of adults with or without depression or anxiety, randomised to increased omega-3, omega-6 or total polyunsaturated fat for ≥24 weeks, excluding multi-factorial interventions. Inclusion, data extraction and risk of bias were assessed independently in duplicate, authors contacted for further data. We used random-effects meta-analysis, sensitivity analyses, subgrouping and GRADE assessment. Results: We included 31 trials assessing effects of long-chain omega-3 (n=41,470), one of alpha-linolenic acid (n=4837), one of total polyunsaturated fat (n=4997), none of omega-6. Meta-analysis suggested increasing long-chain omega-3 probably has little or no effect on risk of depression symptoms (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.92-1.10, I2 0%, median dose 0.95g/d, duration 12 months) or anxiety symptoms (SMD 0.15, 95% CI 0.05-0.26, I2 0%, median dose 1.1g/d, duration 6 months, both moderate-quality evidence). Evidence of effects on depression severity and remission in those with existing depression were unclear (very low-quality evidence). Results did not differ by risk of bias, omega-3 dose, duration or nutrients replaced. Increasing alpha-linolenic acid by 2g/d may increase risk of depression symptoms very slightly over 40 months (number needed to harm=1000). Conclusions: Long-chain omega-3 supplementation probably has little or no effect in preventing depression or anxiety symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 09:30
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 00:45
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/72390
DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2019.234

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