The antidepressant effect of omega-3 fatty acids has been described in the non-HIV population. The effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the mood status of HIV-positive patients has not been evaluated yet.
In this study, the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on depressive symptoms was evaluated in HIV-positive individuals.
A total of 100 HIV-positive patients with Beck Depression Score ≥16, were assigned to receive either omega-3 fatty acids or placebo twice daily for 8 weeks. Depressive symptoms of each participant were evaluated at baseline (month 0) and at the end of months 1 and 2 of the study. Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition, depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Patient Health Questionnaire were used for assessment of depressive symptoms.
Reduction in mean ± SD of all depression scores during the study period was statistically significant within the omega-3 group and when compared with the placebo group (for both comparisons, P < 0.001). Also, the mean differences of all depression scores were decreased significantly during the intervals: months 0, 1, and 2 (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Among the participants, 7 (7%) and 4 (4%) patients in the omega-3 and the placebo group, respectively, experienced mild gastrointestinal problems, but the incidence of adverse drug reactions related to the interventions was not statistically different between the groups (P = 0.09).
Omega-3 fatty acids improved depressive symptoms in HIV-positive individuals without any significant adverse reaction.