This study was designed to investigate the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on depression and chronic inflammation in hemodialysis patients.

Fifty-four maintenance hemodialysis patients were randomized to ingest two omega-3 (each containing 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid and 120 mg docosahexaenoic acid) or placebo capsules, three times daily for 4 months. Main outcome measures: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score and serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, ferritin, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), and ratios of IL-10 to IL-6 and IL-10 to TNF-α were measured at baseline and at the end of the study.

Omega-3 supplement lowered BDI score significantly after 4 months of intervention. Among pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators, only serum ferritin level and IL-10 to IL-6 ratio showed significant changes in favor of omega-3 supplement during the study. In linear regression model adjusted for baseline values, omega-3 treatment was a significant predictor of reduced serum CRP, ferritin, and iPTH levels, and increased IL-10 to IL-6 ratio. No significant association was found between the anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effects of omega-3 supplement.

Supplemental use of omega-3 fatty acids decreases depressive symptoms in hemodialysis patients apart from their anti-inflammatory effects.