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Omega-3 Therapy Relieves Depression in Children

The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) may help relieve clinical depression in children, according to a promising pilot study. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that one of every 33 children, and one of every eight adolescents, may suffer from depression.

Twenty children between the ages of 6 and 12 completed a small clinical trial in which they received either an omega-3 supplement or inactive placebo. Depression was scored using a combination of three different psychological rating scales.

While the placebo group demonstrated no improvement, seven of the ten children in the omega-3 group showed a 50% or greater reduction in depression scores, and four children achieved full remission. Omega-3 fatty acids may thus offer an effective means of managing depression in children.


Nemets H, Nemets B, Apter A, Bracha Z, Belmaker RH. Omega-3 treatment of childhood depression: a controlled, double-blind pilot study. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(6):1098-100.

Reprinted with exclusive permission of Life Extension.

Key concepts: omega-3 fish oil, depression, children