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Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
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Alternative medicine (4)
- Fish oil supplements: Can they treat depression?
- Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
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- see all in Alternative medicine
Fish oil supplements: Can they treat depression?
Is there any benefit to taking fish oil supplements for depression?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Fish oil supplements may help ease symptoms of depression in some people. A few studies in adults suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. However, studies using fish oil as the primary treatment for severe depression haven't been done.
Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in brain function. People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic (i-koe-suh-pen-tuh-e-NO-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doe-koe-suh-hek-suh-e-NO-ik) acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can be found in fish oil.
Supplements aren't the only way to get more omega-3s. Eating fish a few times a week may be the best way to provide your body with enough of these healthy oils. Examples of fish high in omega-3s include sardines, salmon, herring, trout and canned white tuna. Shellfish, including mussels and oysters, also contain omega-3s.
However, if you're pregnant or nursing, due to mercury levels, limit your weekly intake to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of fish. Eat no more than 6 ounces (170 grams) of white (albacore) tuna a week because it's higher in mercury than light canned tuna. Avoid swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark because of their high levels of mercury. And avoid any kind of raw seafood.
Fish oil isn't considered a replacement for treatment of depression, but it may be helpful as an addition to prescribed medications or other treatment. Although more studies are needed to determine exactly what role omega-3s play in depression, it's possible that eating fish high in omega-3s may help lower the risk of depression — and foods high in omega-3s help protect heart health.Next question
Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
- Mozaffarian D. Fish oil and marine omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Lesperance F, et al. The efficacy of omega-3 supplementation for major depression: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2011;72:1054.
- Tajalizadekhoob Y, et al. The effect of low-dose omega 3 fatty acids on the treatment of mild to moderate depression in the elderly: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. 2011;261:39.
- Gertsik L, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid augmentation of citalopram treatment for patients with major depressive disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2012;32:61.
- Lin P-Y, et al. Are omega-3 fatty acids antidepressants or just mood-improving agents? The effect depends upon diagnosis, supplement, preparation, and severity of depression. Molecular Psychiatry. In press. Accessed Aug. 27, 2012.
- Sublette ME, et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in clinical trials in depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2011;72:1577.
- Questions about fish. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Fish_UCM_306451_Article.jsp. Accessed Sept. 25, 2012.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 18, 2012.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 28, 2012.
- Moreland CS. Psychopharmacological treatment for adolescent depression. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 30, 2012.
- Safe eats — Meat, poultry and seafood. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm082294.htm. Accessed Oct. 17, 2012.
- While you're pregnant — Methylmercury. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm083324.htm. Accessed Oct. 17, 2012.