Fish Oil Supplements For Depression

Updated on April 22nd, 2020
Fish Oil for Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that is characterized by loss of interest in any activity. This is a common problem among most adults. In fact, according to WHO, more than 300 million people suffer from depression globally. But the good news is that most forms of depression are easily curable. Home remedies like fish oil consumption can significantly lower depression.

Fish Oil and Its Properties

fish oil

Omega-3 fatty acids have a lot of benefits for the body and the mind. Recent studies have shown that omega-3s can help cure some forms of depression. Out of the three types of omega-3s available for consuming, two are found in fish oil: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

[Also Read: How to Treat Depression Naturally ]

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s Heart Failure issue, cognitive depression has a lot of links to a decrease in blood levels of EPA and DHA omega-3s.

  • So, including fish oil in your diet can not only alleviate depression but also reduce the risk of heart diseases and high cholesterol. DHA and EPA play an essential role in treating different forms of depression like minor depression, suicidal ideation, and postpartum depression.

Did You Know?

Fish oil is known to fight inflammation, which is the primary cause of most diseases these days.

Why Use Fish Oil for Depression?


Fish oil contains two types of fatty acids: EPA and DHA. Both these have anti-inflammatory properties and play a critical part in heart health since they form a part of the cell membrane. But, both these fatty acids are only found in fatty fish or fish oil, and since many people don’t eat fish, they don’t get the adequate amounts of EPA and DHA in their body.

The consumption of fish oil(1) increased drastically from 2007 to 2012, with a recorded increase of 8 million in consumption, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

Fatty acids are needed to maintain regular brain function. The brain cell membranes have them in abundance, and they facilitate communication between brain cells. When the amounts of DHA in the brain decreases, the mental health suffers.

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is another type of Omega-3, which is found in walnuts, canola oil, chia seeds, etc. While it is possible for the human body to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, it is estimated that less than 10% of the ALA you consume can be converted to EPA and DHA. So, if fish is not a part of your regular diet, taking fish oil is the best alternative to prevent depression and heart diseases.

Did You Know?

Fish oil improves not just the mood but also helps hyperactivity, increases concentration, and improves your skin and eyesight.

Fish Oil Forms and Doses

There are a variety of ways to include omega-3 in your diet, such as:

  • Including fish in your diet, specifically salmon, tuna, shellfish, and trout.
  • Flaxseed oil.
  • Fish oil supplements.

The best way to get the most nutrients out of fish is to eat at least 2-3 servings of fish every week and to include a variety of fish in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish every week for adults. One serving for adults is a ½ cup or 4 ounces, and for children, it’s a ¼ cup or 2 ounces.

The recommended combined daily intake of EPA and DHA is 250-350 mg. When you are buying a fish oil supplement, check the label for how much EPA and DHA you will be getting. In a 1000mg of fish oil, you can get about 300mg DHA and EPA combined. An adult can take up to 3000 mg of fish oil every day, ideally. For infants, the dosage of omega-3 is recommended at 500 mg. The dosage gradually increases till the age of 14, after which adult dosage is suggested.

Primarily, three grams of omega-3s daily is considered the safest amount for consumption, according to the FDA. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to taking fish oil for depression, and you should consult your doctor for the best dose for your particular case.

Did You Know?

Seafood, fish plays a vital role during fetal growth and in infancy and childhood as well since it helps in brain development.

Fish vs. Fish Oil Supplements

Fish Oil benefits

Fish has a variety of nutrients apart from EPA and DHA(2), and if you’re looking for a generally healthy diet, consuming fish is the best way to get them. But, you also need to check if your fish indeed has the required amount of omega-3, which most farm-fed fishes might not have. Thus, if you’re only looking to raise the levels of fatty acids like EPA and DHA in your diet to cure depression, fish oil supplements may be the ideal alternative.

The type of omega-3s you need depends on your overall health, and research has shown that omega-3 can worsen some chronic conditions, so if you have any illness, your doctor can guide you on the right dosage.

[Also Read: Supplements to Treat Depression]

Did You Know?

There are more than 20,000 species of fish, of which the ones that are most beneficial for health are tuna, salmon, sardines, to name a few.

Depression is a prevalent disorder, and more than 6.7 % of adults experienced depression in 2015, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. All the research conducted to date proves that omega-3 and fish oil are used for curing various depressive disorders, with other treatments. The EPA and DHA found in fish oil are known to lift the mood, thus making them ideal for curing depression.

Did You Know?

The fish oil from deep, cold ocean-water fish is of much better quality than the average fresh-water fish. The fish found in the North Atlantic waters, for instance, is good quality and chemical-free.


1. How Much Is the Recommended Quantity of Fish Oil for Depression?

About 300 mg of fish oil per day is sufficient for minor depression and uplifting the mood. For more severe cases, a physician can recommend the correct dose.

2. When Is the Best Time to Take Fish Oil?

Generally, taking a supplement on an empty stomach can cause nausea, so it’s recommended to take these supplements with or directly after a meal. But, there is no specific time of the day for taking fish oil.

3. How Long Before the Results of Fish Oil Supplements Are Visible?

It can generally take 1-2 months for the results from fish oil to be obvious, but other factors like the dose and organ health are considerations that can affect this time frame.

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