Encouraging results from the largest clinical study ever conducted on treating depression with Omega-3
Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil Capsules
The use of Omega-3 supplements is effective among patients with major depression who do not have anxiety disorders, according to a study directed by Dr. François Lespérance of the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier at the Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), head of CHUM’s Department of Psychiatry and a professor at the Université de Montréal. The study was published June 15 in the online Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
This was the largest study ever conducted assessing Omega-3′s efficacy in treating major depression. It was carried out in conjunction with researchers from centres affiliated with the UdM’s Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS), from McGill University, Université Laval in Quebec City and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The study was supported by the European firm isodisnatura, the Fondation du CHUM and the CRCHUM.
Initial analyses failed to clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of Omega-3 for all patients taking part in the study. Other analyses, however, revealed that Omega-3 improved depression symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression unaccompanied by an anxiety disorder. Efficacy for these patients was comparable to that generally observed with conventional antidepressant treatment.
From October 2005 to January 2009, 432 male and female participants with major unipolar depression were recruited to take part in this randomized, double-blind study (neither patients nor researchers knew which capsules patients received). For eight weeks, half of the participants took three capsules per day of OM3 Emotional Balance, a fish oil supplement containing high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other half took three identical capsules of a placebo consisting of sunflower oil, flavoured with a small quantity of fish oil. In contrast with typical clinical studies designed to assess the effectiveness of antidepressants, this study included a high proportion of patients with complex and difficult-to-treat conditions, including patients resistant to conventional antidepressant treatments and patients also suffering from an anxiety disorder. The aim was to assess the value of Omega-3 supplementation in a group of individuals more like those treated in outpatient clinics.
Need to assess the impact of Omega-3 supplements
Some 11% of men and 16% of women in Canada will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives, making this disorder one of our society’s leading public health issues. Depression, which is now the world’s fourth leading cause of morbidity and death is expected to move up to the number two position by 2020. “Despite significant progress in neuroscience over the past two decades, depression is difficult to treat,” Dr. Lespérance noted. In view of the large number of patients who stop taking their medications in the first few months of treatment and those who refuse such treatment due to fear of stigmatization or side effects, it comes as no surprise that a large number of patients suffering from major depression use alternative treatments offered outside the healthcare system. “Many of these treatments have not been adequately evaluated. That is why it was important to assess the efficacy of Omega-3, one of the most popular alternative approaches,” he added.
Epidemiological and neurobiological studies have suggested that a relative deficit in polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega-3 group may predispose individuals to psychological disorders such as depression. Further, several preliminary clinical studies based on small numbers of patients have suggested that Omega-3 supplements with high concentrations of EPA can help to reduce symptoms of depression among patients who fail to respond to an initial antidepressant treatment. These studies have not, however, convinced the entire scientific community. A broader study was needed to acquire further knowledge about the properties and efficacy of high-quality Omega-3 supplements among patients suffering from major depression.
“We are proud that OM3 Emotional Balance, with its high concentration of EPA at unexcelled levels of purity delivers the dose of EPA needed for effective treatment,” said Claire Bertin, head pharmacist for isodisnatura, the laboratory producing the Omega-3 supplement used in the study.
It is important to note that the study assessed use of Omega-3 for eight weeks, at doses of 1050 mg of EPA and 150 mg of DHA each day. It is currently unknown whether taking higher doses or taking supplements over a longer period would yield different results.
These encouraging results show that use of EPA is effective among patients with unipolar depression unaccompanied by an anxiety disorder. Additional research directly comparing Omega-3 with conventional antidepressants could more clearly confirm their usefulness for patients suffering from depression.
The Efficacy of Omega-3 Supplementation for Major Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry-François Lespérance, MD, PhD; Nancy Frasure-Smith, PhD; Élise St-André, MD; Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD; Paul Lespérance, MD, MSc; and Stephen R. Wisniewski, PhD.
An Important Note from A-M B-Well about the Above Study:
From the Desk of Graeme George
Chief Financial Officer and International Sales Co-ordinator
A-M B-Well Inc. and AM B-Well International
I have put many hours of research into this important study re Depression which was published on June 15 in the online Journal of Clinical Psychiatry using the brand OM3 Emotional Balance by Isodisnatura, a European firm, and I have made the following observations:
Isodisnatura’s website is financially funded by a pharmaceutical company called Pfizer Canada so I wonder if the study was also funded by Pfizer Canada…Food for thought?
Over an 8 week period specialized groups of men and women suffering from unipolar depression, without anxiety disorders, were given either a placebo or 3 capsules daily of OM3 Emotional Balance (“OM3″) that provided 1050 mg. of EPA and 150 mg. of DHA, all in ethyl ester (EE) form which is a synthetic form vs. a triglyceride (TG) natural form. Based on one of their resellers’ sites in the U.S. called CVS Pharmacy, the price of 60 capsules of OM3 is listed at US$24.69.
So if one compares like-for-like and compares 60 capsules of OM3 to 90 capsules of A-M B-Well Omega-3 PGFO (“AMB Well Omega-3″) capsules, the price for 90 capsules of OM3 would become US$36.04 in comparison to US$25.75 for AMB Well Omega-3 capsules. If one then factors in the bioavailability of a pharmaceutical grade fish oil in EE (synthetic) form vs. a TG (natural) form of Omega-3, the difference in price of OM3 would be 1/3 more compared to AMB Well Omega-3 bringing OM3′s cost up to US$48.05 for the same effective dose as AMB Well Omega-3 at US$25.75. FYI: A highly concentrated triglyceride base fish oil is put through an exclusive 6-step manufacturing process for extracting the Omega-3s from the fish oil and refining them vs. a 5-step manufacturing process for a highly concentrated ethyl ester base fish oil. This exclusive 6-step manufacturing process for the triglyceride base fish oil is also much more expensive than the 5-step manufacturing process for the ethyl ester base fish oil. It makes you wonder who is making all that extra money?? You can read more about TG vs EE and the studies that support it at http://www.anne-marie.ca/fishoil.html under Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil Standards.
Then we look at the EPA and DHA.
The EPA for 3 capsules of OM3, their claim to fame, is 1050 mg. daily costing US$1.60.
The EPA for 3 capsules of AMB Well Omega-3 is 1200 mg. daily costing $0.86c which is far better value. The true cost of EPA per gm. of AMB Well Omega-3 is less than half the cost of OM3!!
Obviously, with a 7.5:1 EPA/DHA ratio, OM3 is hopelessly deficient in DHA which is ALSO an EFA (essential fatty acid) required for overall health.
Conclusion: Certainly, the study using the OM3 brand has proven that EPA is significant in treating unipolar depression without an anxiety disorder, but to purchase an UNBALANCED product at a huge price premium per gm of EPA makes no sense. Further, OM3′s product is not third party tested by IFOS, although it does say they get independent testing periodically, but does not name the independent party. EVERY batch of AMB Well Omega-3 is third party tested by IFOS www.ifosprogram.com and receives a 5-star Certificate of Analysis that is posted under Consumer Reports on the Internet.
We at A-M B-Well Inc. recommend the ideal ratio of pharmaceutical grade fish oil be in a triglyceride form of 40:20TG (EPA/DHA) to treat not only depression, but heart health, high blood pressure, lipid profiles, brain and memory and do not require several brands offering differing ratios of EPA and DHA to treat a multitude of diseases. The only thing you are treating is a deficiency in cash!! All of the EPA and DHA is provided for in our A-M B-Well Inc. pure pharmaceutical grade fish oil, the best fish oil in the world, with the best prices and a 5-star Certificate of Analysis for EVERY batch provided. You can follow this topic on our Omega-3 Wellness Forums.
September 14, 2010