Effect of fish oil omega‑3 fatty acids on reduction of depressive symptoms among HIV‑seropositive pregnant women : a randomized, double‑blind controlled trial

Opiyo, Rose Okoyo ; Nyasulu, Peter Suwirakwenda ; Koigi, Reuben Kamau ; Obondo, Anne ; Ogoyi, Dorington ; Kogi‑Makau, Wambui (2018)

CITATION: Opiyo, R. O. 2018. Effect of fish oil omega‑3 fatty acids on reduction of depressive symptoms among HIV‑seropositive pregnant women : a randomized, double‑blind controlled trial. Annals of General Psychiatry, 17:49, doi:10.1186/s12991-018-0220-4.

The original publication is available at https://annals-general-psychiatry.biomedcentral.com

Article

Background: Globally, it is known that HIV-infected pregnant women are prone to depressive symptoms. Research evidences also suggest that nutrient deficiencies may enhance the depressive illness, and that fish oil omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate the depressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of fish oil omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid-rich supplements on depressive symptoms among HIV-seropositive pregnant women. Trial design: A randomized double-blinded controlled trial with two parallel groups was conducted. The intervention group received fish oil omega-3 of 3.17 g (eicosapentaenoic acid = 2.15 g; docosahexaenoic acid = 1.02 g) per day for 8 weeks, while the control group received soybean oil for a similar period. Method: Participants were HIV-seropositive pregnant women who were enrolled in prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs and attending antenatal clinics at selected Nairobi city county’s health facilities. Recruitment was done from health records of HIV-infected pregnant women. Data analysis followed per-protocol analysis. Participants who completed the 8-week trial were included in the analysis of covariance statistical model with omega-3 as main effect. The covariates in the change in BDI-II depressive symptom score outcome were baseline characteristics and nutrient adequacy. Results: 282 participants were recruited 109 randomized to fish oil, and 107 to soybean oil. Completion rate was 86/109 (78.9%) and 96/107 (89.7%) respectively. At the end of week-8 of follow up most participants in both arms had mild depressive symptoms 82/86 (95.3%) in the Fish oil group and 94/96 (97.9%) in the Soybean oil group. The difference in effect between the intervention and control group was not statistically significant (1.01 (95% CI − 0.58 to 2.60), p = 0.21). Conclusion: Fish oil omega-3 with a daily dosage of 3.17 g (eicosapentaenoic acid = 2.15 g; docosahexaenoic acid = 1.02 g) appears to provide no added benefit in reduction of the symptoms of depression in HIV-infected pregnant women.

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