The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Treating perinatal depression with omega-3

    Perinatal depression includes major and minor depressive episodes during pregnancy or within the first 12 months following delivery.

    Researchers from Taiwan report that taking omega-3 fatty acids might be beneficial.

    First, the details.

    • 36 pregnant women participated in an 8-week study comparing omega-3 fatty acids (3.4 grams/day) vs placebo in pregnant women with major depressive disorder.
    • No psychotropic drug was given 1 month prior to or during the study.
    • The researchers and women were not aware of their treatment.

    And, the results.

    • 24 women completed the study.
    • Taking omega-3 was associated with significantly lower HAM-D scores (less severe depression) at weeks 6 and 8.
    • They also had a significantly higher response rate (62% vs 27%), but not a higher remission rate.
    • At the end of the study, the omega-3 group also had significantly lower depressive symptom ratings after birth based on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and less severe depression based on the Beck Depression Inventory.
    • Treatment was well tolerated with no side effects in the women or newborns.

    The bottom line?
    It’s a small study, and a third of the women were unable or unwilling to complete treatment. Another study earlier this year in 51 women reported no benefit of omega 3 in perinatal depression.

    Perhaps, as the authors concluded, “it is worthy to conduct replication studies in a larger sample.”

    Dr. Kathleen Kendal-Tackett has reviewed depression in mums and what to do about it.

    3/29/08 19:45 JR

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