Omega-3 May Treat Depression in Patients With Inflammation

Omega-3 May Treat Depression in Patients With Inflammation

"Hyman Rapaport, MD, of the Emory University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a trial involving 155 participants with major depressive disorder where one group was given either two capsules containing the Omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentataenoic acid) or placebo over eight weeks. Another group was given four capsules of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), another type of Omega-3, or placebo.

In patients who had one of four markers of inflammation based on a blood test, those who took EPA capsules showed an improvement in mood, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The effect, however, was not seen in inflammatory patients who took DHA."

If we are honest, I think we'd all acknowledge that living with a CLL diagnosis does affect our mood and increases our risk of suffering from depression. While most of us adjust, for some, living with CLL might be the tipping point in which we do need to seek professional help and some of us may already have the challenge of living with depression.

When I read the above article, what jumped out at me was the section I've underlined above. Purely conjecture on my part, but given CLL can be associated with greater levels of inflammation (because our immune system doesn't work properly), if you do have a major depressive order, bring this article to your doctor's attention and ask whether taking EPA is worth a try. Bear in mind too, that another common problem with CLL is low platelet levels and taking EPA may not be wise if you have low platelets. I'm not medically trained, so you'd be foolish to try this just because I've draw this article to your attention, but perhaps following up this research finding with your doctor could be a turning point for you.


Photo: Banksia flowers beginning to bloom

7 Replies

  • B12 deficiency is also linked to depression... it makes a tremenous difference to me to have a monthly jab....

    Simple blood test for B12, folate B6 etc... get it checked.

  • Neil -

    Have you seen any of the transgenic camelina seed oil for sale in Oz? It's supposed to be much higher in EPA than the usual camelina seed. I find nothing on it over here yet.

    To make things more interesting, some experiments have been done on feeding the transgenic camelina to farm raised salmon to boost the salmon EPA even higher.


  • Thanks Seymour, for adding that info. (My platelets don't need any encouragement to go lower, so I haven't looked into the different sources of EPA) :)

  • I wasn't aware of the Omega3 and platelet problem!

    I asked the GoogleBird, and she dropped this link:

    It appears to be well foot-noted.

    On the list of foods that they list as causing platelet problems is also green tea, citing this article:

    So some foods that may be good in early stage CLL may be bad during treatment, or in later stages.


  • I posted this a while back... lots of things effect platelet function... we aren't talking counts... it is how the platelets clump together that is effected by some common foods and drugs

    Link to research


  • Thanks, Chris! I didn't recall that one, probably because my platelet counts are ok at the moment.

    I think the list in the link I posted had many more foods. Despite the footnotes in the link I posted, there may be some controversy or at least lack of consensus about some foods or herbs on the list.

    Of interest to many of us is the link regarding Green Tea and platelet function. When I get a chance, I'll try to do more amateur research on it.

    In the meantime, I think it would be good to discuss all aspects of your diet with your specialist. Although I don't find that most specialists are at all up to date in these matters, or even willing to discuss specific foods, I hope that the demand for information from multiple patients will slowly drive their education.

  • My brief and very dated notes on EGCG and platelets:

    "Anecdotal information from that ~25% of those taking Green Tea Extract see their platelets drop after a month and should discontinue taking extract.

    ACOR CLL list information is that platelet aggregation is inhibited in some patients taking EGCG; platelet count is unaffected.

    Chaya stated early April 2010 that “There have been significant number of patients reporting a drop in platelet counts after initiating EGCG (green tea) therapy. Mayo thinks this is a real effect. Fortunately, the effect seems reversible and the platelet counts go back up when EGCG is discontinued.”

    Dr Neil Kay of Mayo said “We do not see any evidence of fall in platelets with EGCG but we have to remember we do not know what is in the OTC drugs most folks are taking.”

    Dr Kay's statement sums up the problem well; we really can't provide any definitive statement because we aren't talking about one well defined, quality controlled formulation. Perhaps the best we can manage is "Only take supplements with the knowledge of your medical team and be prepared to cease if there's an adverse result. For green tea that may include a drop in platelets and/or delayed clotting, which could put you at risk of uncontrolled bleeding, which you may not be aware of if it is internal."


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