In a recent Canadian study, women with moderate depression who received fish oil supplements for eight weeks felt significantly better than those who got a placebo. (The supplements didn’t help women who were suffering from major depressive episodes.)
Omega-3s may lift mood by boosting levels of the brain’s feel-good chemical serotonin, says lead researcher Michel Lucas, PhD, of Laval University in Quebec. The researchers are now trying fish oil in men with depression, who, like the women, take three capsules a day for a total of 1 gram of omega-3s (EPA plus DHA). This is the same daily dose the American Heart Association recommends for adults at risk for heart disease (but talk to your doctor first, the AHA says). It’s safe, says Lucas, who notes that “fishy burps” can be a side effect of some supplements.