Enhancing Antidepressants

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Antidepressants are only effective for about one-third of people who take them. But new research has found that combining these drugs with certain supplements, including fish oil, could boost their positive effects and offer new hope for people struggling with depression. Scientists analyzed the results of 40 clinical trials that investigated the effects of pairing certain nutritional supplements with several major classes of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants. The naturally occurring compound SAM-e, vitamin D, and methylfolate all enhanced the efficacy of antidepressants, but omega-3 fish oils had the most dramatic effect, significantly reducing symptoms of depression, ScienceDaily.com reports. Researchers speculate that supplements help by easing inflammation associated with depression, or by targeting brain processes similar to those targeted by antidepressants. “This is an exciting finding,” says the study’s lead author, Jerome Sarris. “Here we have a safe, evidence-based approach that could be considered a mainstream treatment.” Researchers said larger studies are needed to verify the findings.

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