Effect of fish-oil supplementation on mental well-being in older subjects: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 1-3

O. van de Rest, J.M. Geleijnse, F.J. Kok, W.A. van Staveren, W.H. Hoefnagels, A.T.F. Beekman, C.P.G.M. de Groot

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96 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is suggested that a low intake of fish and/or n¿3 PUFA is associated with depressed mood. However, results from epidemiologic studies are mixed, and randomized trials have mainly been performed in depressed patients, yielding conflicting results. Objective: We investigated the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on mental well-being in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Design: Independently living individuals (n = 302) aged 65 y were randomly assigned to consume 1800 mg/d EPA+DHA, 400 mg/d EPA+DHA, or placebo capsules for 26 wk. Changes in mental well-being were assessed as the primary outcome with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Montgomery-Åsberg Rating Scale (MADRS), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-A). Results: Plasma concentrations of EPA+DHA increased by 238% in the high-dose and 51% in the low-dose fish-oil group compared with the placebo group, reflecting excellent compliance. Baseline CES-D scores ranged from 5.9 to 6.8 in the 3 groups and were not significantly different between groups. Mean changes in CES-D scores after 26 wk were ¿0.2, 0.2, and ¿0.4 (P = 0.87) in the high-dose fish oil, low-dose fish oil, and placebo groups, respectively. Treatment with neither 1800 mg nor 400 mg EPA+DHA differentially affected any of the measures of mental well-being after 13 or 26 wk of intervention compared with placebo. Conclusions: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial we observed no effect of EPA+DHA supplementation for 26 wk on mental well-being in the general older population studied. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00124852
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-713
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • polyunsaturated fatty-acids
  • geriatric depression scale
  • blood-cell membranes
  • cholesteryl esters
  • ces-d
  • validation
  • consumption
  • population
  • severity
  • symptoms


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