DOI: 10.3390/healthcare11233065 ISSN: 2227-9032

A Critical Look at Omega-3 Supplementation: A Thematic Review

Yamil Liscano, Natalia Sanchez-Palacio
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 10–20% of women. Traditional treatments have raised concerns, but omega-3 fatty acids show potential as an alternative. This thematic review, sourced from databases like PubMed and Scopus between 1 February 2023 and 15 March 2023, seeks to delve into the various perspectives on omega-3 supplementation for PPD. The criteria included studies detailing depressive symptoms, social functioning, and neurobiological variables. The review includes research with women showing PPD symptoms, randomized clinical trials, and articles in Spanish, English, and French. Exclusions were studies lacking proper control comparisons and other interventions besides omega-3. Data extraction was performed independently. Two key studies provide contrasting findings on omega-3’s impact on PPD symptoms. In the study comparing DHA supplementation to a placebo, significant differences were not found in the EPDS scale, but differences were observed in the BDI scale. In contrast, another study recorded a significant decrease in depression scores in all dose groups, with reductions of 51.5% in the EPDS scale and 48.8% in the HRSD scale. Other studies, encompassing both prenatal and postpartum periods, underscore the differentiation between prenatal depression and PPD. Despite shared diagnostic criteria, PPD presents unique symptoms like restlessness, emotional lability, and baby-related concerns. It is crucial to address biases and obtain specific results, recommending exclusive PPD-focused studies. This review emphasizes the need for continuous exploration of omega-3’s relationship with PPD to enhance the life quality of pregnant women and their families.

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