Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), somatic and fatigue symptoms in cardiovascular diseases comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD): A randomized controlled trial

Jane Pei Chen Chang, Shih Sheng Chang, Hui Ting Chen, Yu Chuan Chien, Hui Ting Yang, Shih Yi Huang, Ping Tao Tseng, Cheng Ho Chang, Piotr Galecki, Kuan Pin Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are the two most disabling diseases. Patients with CVDs comorbid depression had somatic and fatigue symptoms and were associated with chronic inflammation and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) deficits. However, there have been limited studies on the effects of n-3 PUFAs on somatic and fatigue symptoms in patients with CVDs comorbid MDD. Method: Forty patients with CVDs comorbid MDD (58% males, mean age of 60 ± 9 years) were enrolled and randomised to receive either n-3 PUFAs (2 g of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and 1 g of docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] per day) or placebo in a 12-week double-blind clinical trial. We assessed the somatic symptoms with Neurotoxicity Rating Scale (NRS) and fatigue symptoms with Fatigue Scale at baseline, weeks 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12, as well as blood levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), inflammatory biomarkers and PUFAs, at the baseline and week 12. Results: The n-3 PUFAs group had a greater reduction in Fatigue scores than the placebo group at Week 4 (p =.042), while there were no differences in the changes of NRS scores. N-3 PUFAs group also had a greater increase in EPA (p =.001) and a greater decrease in total n-6 PUFAs (p =.030). Moreover, in the subgroup analyses in the younger age group (age < 55), the n-3 PUFAs group had a greater reduction on NRS total scores at Week 12 (p =.012) and NRS Somatic scores at Week 2 (p =.010), Week 8 (p =.027), Week 12 (p =.012) than the placebo group. In addition, the pre- and post-treatment changes of EPA and total n-3 PUFAs levels were negatively associated with the changes of NRS scores at Weeks 2, 4, and 8 (all p <.05), and the changes of BDNF levels were negatively associated with NRS scores at Weeks 8 and 12 (both p <.05) in the younger age group. In the older age group (age ≥ 55), there were a lesser reduction on NRS scores at Weeks 1, 2 and 4 (all p <.05), but a greater reduction on Fatigue score at Week 4 (p =.026), compared to the placebo group. There was no significant correlation between the changes of blood BDNF, inflammation, PUFAs and NRS and Fatigue scores in general and in the older age group. Conclusion: Overall, n-3 PUFAs improved the fatigue symptoms in patients with CVDs comorbid MDD and the general somatic symptoms in specific subpopulation of younger age patients, and perhaps via the interplay between BDNF and EPA. Our findings provide promising rationales for future studies to investigate the treatment effects of omega-3 fatty acids on fatigue and somatic symptoms of chronic mental and medical diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • DHA
  • EPA
  • Fatigue, major depressive disorder
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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