The goal of this study was to test the effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on omega-3 levels, depressive symptoms, and other psychosocial factors, as well as other chronic heart failure (CHF)-related functional measures.
Patients with CHF and depression had low blood omega-3 concentrations that were associated with an elevated risk of mortality.
This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot clinical trial using a 400/200 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fish oil at 2 g and an almost pure EPA at 2 g, compared with a matched placebo, daily for 12 weeks for patients with CHF and major depressive disorder. Statistical analyses included the intention-to-treat population and "completers" (defined as participants consuming ≥70% of the capsules and completing the final endpoint evaluation between 10 and 14 weeks).
A total of 108 patients with CHF and major depressive disorder and a score ≥18 on the Hamilton Depression Scale who were randomized at 1:1:1 to the 3 interventions at 3 enrolling centers from June 12, 2014, to May 19, 2016; 80 (74.1%) qualified as completers. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed that the levels of all omega-3 variables were significantly elevated in the omega-3 groups, whereas the placebo group showed little change; there were no between-group differences with overall depression measurements. Per-protocol exploratory analyses showed that scores on the social functioning measurement of the 36-item Short Form Health Survey improved notably in the 400/200 EPA/DHA (p = 0.040) and EPA (p = 0.10) groups compared with the placebo group. Spearman correlation analysis indicated that increased omega-3 indices were associated with improved cognitive depressive symptoms.
Omega-3 supplementation resulted in significant increases in omega-3 levels in red blood cell counts, corresponding to a particular compound of omega-3. Changes in cognitive depressive symptoms and social function were in favor of the omega-3 supplementation. Further studies with larger sample sizes are necessary to confirm the benefits of omega-3 supplementation on modifying psychosocial factors for patients with CHF.