The Effectiveness of Fish Oils in Depression

Experts believe that the average Western diet is a major factor in the development of certain mental health problems, which affect 1 in 4 of us in the UK each year. [1] When comparing the average Western diet to that which is typical in the Far East, it appears that our diets fall somewhat short. Scientists suggest that one of the reasons for the low rate of depression in the Far East is their high intake of omega-rich oily fish . With an incidence of 6%, depression is 60 times more common in New Zealand where fish consumption is very low, when compared with Japan, where it affects just 0.12% of the population.[2]

Fish is a vital source of the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which is crucial for moderating the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin. Fundamentally, the purpose of this fat is to ensure that cell membranes in the brain and body are functioning fluidly and allowing electrical messaging to function optimally. Depressive symptoms can occur when low levels of EPA create a chemical imbalance in the brain, which affects the production of mood-stabilising neurotransmitters.

In addition, individuals with depression have been shown to have increased levels of substances called inflammatory cytokines which bring about increased inflammation, associated with symptoms such as fatigue, fever, lack of sleep, pain, and aching. EPA is converted within the body to anti-inflammatory eicosanoids and so by increasing EPA levels the body can help buffer these inflammatory agents, and help to alleviate symptoms.

Well documented evidence

A number of trials have shown a link between depression and levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA. In several studies scientists have demonstrated the efficacy of pure EPA supplementation in depressed patients, ranging from those with mild or moderate depression, to those with severe depression and bipolar disorder. The American Psychiatric Association has since recommended treatment with at least 1g/day of omega-3 for these conditions as an addition to standard treatment.

A double blind, randomised trial published last year showed that the omega-3 EPA is as effective as Prozac in the treatment of depression and, when used in combination, is even more effective.[3] Leading clinicians and researchers such as Dr Dianne LeFevre, a consultant psychiatrist with over 40 years’ clinical experience, and Professor Basant K. Puri, author of The Natural Way to Beat Depression and Head of the Lipid Neuroscience Department at Imperial College, London, use our pure EPA supplement Vegepa, for patients with depression, with extremely positive results.

According to Professor Puri, “By taking a combination of ultra-pure EPA and virgin evening primrose oil, the body obtains the right fatty acids to rejuvenate the structure and functioning of the brain. The antidepressant action of this combination is just as good as, if not better than that of, conventional medicines, but without the adverse side-effects. In addition there are excellent benefits for the heart and circulation…The best EPA supplement available is Vegepa.”

Vegepa Pure EPA Fish Oil Capsules. Click on image to read more.

Vegepa Pure EPA Fish Oil Capsules. Click on image to read more.

Vegepa is a patented formulation of important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, combining a precise ratio of high strength ultra-pure EPA from marine anchovies and GLA from organic virgin evening primrose oil. This unique formulation provides cells with the nutrients required for efficient chemical signalling, integral to healthy brain function.

What people say…

“When I wanted to come off my antidepressants my psychiatrist strongly recommended that I take a good omega supplement, as clinical studies have proven the benefits of fish oil in depression. EPA can significantly alleviate symptoms of depression in its most severe form. I did as he said but didn’t feel any different and almost gave up taking them until a friend of mine who has suffered from ME told me about Vegepa. She told me to take 4 a day. I have never looked back.For the first time since taking supplements I actually felt a difference and now I take them every day without fail. I take other supplements too but if I am travelling the only ones I take are Vegepa as they make such a difference. Thank you Vegepa. I would recommend them to anyone and particularly anyone suffering from depression or mental health problems. You can’t get the quality and quantity you need from your diet and I defy anyone not to notice a difference if you take them properly.” Helen McNallen, Founder of

“I have chronic recurrent Treatment-Resistant-Unipolar Depression. Vegepa “enhanced” the effects of my antidepressants and stopped suicidal ideation and gave me more mental drive and energy levels. I shall take this life long.” Dr C.A.P., Worcestershire

“A few months ago I saw an article about the value of Vegepa – and passed this on to my daughter-in-law. She has suffered for many years from depression. Since she has been taking your capsules [Vepepa ] the results have been terrific. She says they have ‘transformed my life‘. I have some other friends in Belfast who have depression problems, and I would like to help them. Could you please send me some of your leaflets on this product so that I can try and help these friends. Thanking you in anticipation. “ H.H., Newtonabbey

The Natural Way to Beat Depression by Professor Basant Puri

The Natural Way to Beat Depression by Professor Basant Puri

This week, we are donating profits from Professor Puri’s book The Natural Way to Beat Depression to the mental health project Time To Change, run by the charity Rethink – a campaign to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health within the general population. At Igennus we actively support charities and research organisations focused on finding effective natural treatments for a range of ailments, with a view to helping to improve the quality of life for those affected by mental and physical illness.


[1] The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001).
[2] Hibbeln, J.R. (1998) Fish consumption and major depression. Lancet. Apr 18;351(9110):1213.
[3] Jazayeri, Shima; Tehrani-Doost, Mehdi; Keshavarz, Seyed A.; Hosseini, Mostafa; Djazayery, Abolghassem; Amini, Homayoun; Jalali, Mahmoud and Peet, Malcolm (2008) Comparison of therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and fluoxetine, separately and in combination, in major depressive order, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42:3, 192 – 198.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
ME Study Identifies Strong Link With Virus
The Mental Health Agenda: Treatment, Prevention & Banishing Stigma