Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionOmega-3 Fatty AcidsStress

Using omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with recurrent self-harm

This study concludes that omega 3 fatty acid supplementation contributes to substantial reductions in surrogate markers of suicidal behavior and improvements in well-being.

First, the details.

  • 49 patients were enrolled in this study after an act of repeated self-harm.
  • They were randomly assigned to omega 3 fatty acids (1.2 g eicosapentaenoic acid plus 0.9 g decosahexaenoic acid) or placebo for 12 weeks.
  • Everybody received standard psychiatric care.

And, the results.

  • The omega 3 group had significantly greater improvements in scores for depression, suicidality, and daily stresses.
  • Scores for impulsivity, aggression, and hostility did not differ.

The bottom line?
In April 2006, researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland proposed a “biological basis for anticipating a role for the essential fatty acids in the therapeutics of the large number of conditions characterized by impulsivity, hostility and aggression.”

Then, in June 2006, a study from Columbia University in New York showed that low omega-3 levels predicted the risk of suicidal behavior among depressed patients who were followed over 2 years. The authors concluded, “If confirmed, this finding would have implications for the neurobiology of suicide and reduction of suicide risk.

Well, guess what. The latest findings from the researchers from Ireland have confirmed (or at least support) that study.

7/25/07 21:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.