Harvard Mental Health Letter

In Brief: Study finds that combining an antidepressant with an omega-3 supplement does not benefit people with heart disease and

Depression and heart disease often go hand in hand. This suggests that these two health conditions may share common biological pathways and might respond to some of the same treatments. Omega-3 supplements provide one example of a therapy that has been tested both as a way to improve heart health and alleviate depression.

But a randomized controlled study that involved people with heart disease and major depression found that combining omega-3 supplements with antidepressants was not more effective than the antidepressants alone.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, randomly assigned 122 patients to one of two interventions. All participants received 50 milligrams per day of sertraline (Zoloft), but 62 combined it with 2 grams per day of an omega-3 supplement (double the daily amount recommended for people with heart disease), while the other 60 took the antidepressant along with a placebo capsule. The investigators assessed mood using two standard clinical instruments.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »