Tuna vs. Prozac for Depression

Published: September 9, 2012

Review of Scientific Research Shows that Fish Oil Helps Depression

In this study, the scientific research was reviewed to find all of the "gold-standard" placebo controlled studies (in English) testing whether fish oil is helpful in addressing depression. Ten studies were found, and pooling the results from all of the studies (called a Meta-analysis) showed that fish oil was significantly more effective than placebo in addressing depression. This was also the case for Bipolar depression as well as regular depression. The dose did not seem critical, so it is likely that eating a portion of salmon or tuna 3-4 times a week may be as effective as taking Prozac. As Prozac has many side effects and fish oil many health protective benefits, it seems reasonable to begin with natural antidepressants first. I would start with fish (salmon, tuna, and herring/mackerel have the most oil, so use these). If you prefer fish oil, be sure to use brands that are mercury free. I would begin with 1 tbsp/day for 6 weeks and then lower to 1 tsp/day as works best.

Other natural antidepressants can also be very helpful. I recommend products like an herbal supplement that raises serotonin (the "happiness molecule"). As this contains St. John's Wort and 5-HTP, do NOT combine it with prescription antidepressants like Prozac, as your serotonin levels could be increased to unhealthy levels. Fish oil CAN be safely combined with both natural and prescription antidepressants.

In addition, be sure that you do not have low thyroid contributing to your depression (even with normal blood tests) as bioidentical Armour Thyroid has been shown to help depression in 2 studies (even with normal blood tests) while synthetic Synthroid was NOT effective. Be sure to address nutritional deficiencies as well. For simple and outstanding overall nutritional support, I recommend a good multivitamin powder.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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