Nutrient supplements can give antidepressants a boost: Uni of Melbourne and Harvard study
A international evidence review conducted jointly by researchers from the University of Melbourne and Harvard University has found certain nutritional supplements can increase the effectiveness of antidepressants.
Omega 3 fish oils, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), methylfolate (bioactive form of folate) and Vitamin D, were all amongst the supplements found to boost the effects of antidepressants.
The researchers examined 40 clinical trials worldwide, alongside a systematic review of the evidence for using nutrient supplements (known as nutraceuticals) to treat clinical depression in conjunction with antidepressants such as SSRIs, SNRIs and tricyclics.
Head of the ARCADIA Mental Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne, Dr Jerome Sarris, led the meta-analysis, published online late last week in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
“The strongest finding from our review was that Omega 3 fish oil – in combination with antidepressants – had a statistically significant effect over a placebo,” Dr Sarris said.
“Many studies have shown Omega 3s are very good for general brain health and improving mood, but this is the first analysis of studies that looks at using them in combination with antidepressant medication,” he said.
“The difference for patients taking both antidepressants and Omega 3, compared to a placebo, was highly significant. This is an exciting finding because here we have a safe, evidence-based approach that could be considered a mainstream treatment,” Dr Sarris stated.
Good evidence for Vitamin D, not so much for folic acid
The University of Melbourne research team also found good evidence for methylfolate, Vitamin D, and SAMe as a mood enhancing therapy when taken with antidepressants. The team reported mixed results for zinc, vitamin C and tryptophan (an amino acid). Folic acid did not work particularly well, nor did inositol.
“A large proportion of people who have depression do not reach remission after one or two courses of antidepressant medication,” Dr Sarris said.
“Millions of people in Australia and hundreds of millions worldwide currently take antidepressants. There’s real potential here to improve the mental health of people who have an inadequate response to them,” he said.
Dr Sarris stated medical professionals may be hesitant to prescribe nutraceuticals alongside pharmaceuticals due to a lack of scientific evidence around effectiveness.
“Medical practitioners are aware of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, but are probably unaware that one can combine them with antidepressant medication for a potentially better outcome,” he said.
The researchers found no major safety concerns in combining the two therapies, but said people on antidepressants should always consult their health professional before taking supplements.
“We’re not telling people to rush out and buy buckets of supplements. Always speak to your medical professional before changing or initiating a treatment,” Dr Sarris said.
Zambrero, one of Australia’s largest Mexican restaurant chain, is calling on Australians to unite a...
Australia has suspended the import of raw green prawns from White Spot disease affected countries.
Amazon Go opened to the public on Monday this week. The key question is what are they going to do wi...
Clean Food Co, Asia Pacific’s most trusted partner fast-tracking business entry to China, announces...
Australian wine exports increased by 15 per cent to $2.56 billion in the 12 months ended December 20...
On May 20 2019, the online publication The Spoon released its 2019 ‘ Food Tech 25 ‘ list of the top...
Food and beverage producers will soon be required under American law to declare if any genetically m...
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced major changes to nutrition fact labels displ...