Dietary supplements do not help prevent depression
A recent study has shown that depression cannot be prevented by taking dietary supplements on a daily basis. However, previous research has shown that there are ways to lower your risk of depression.
More and more people suffer from mental illnesses
Health experts say the number of people with depression has increased significantly worldwide. In Germany and the EU too, more and more people suffer from mental illness. It is therefore not surprising that many are looking for ways to reduce the risk of developing depression. However, as a recent study showed, dietary supplements are not suitable for this.
Supplements to prevent depression?
Older scientific studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be suitable for Alzheimer's disease prevention, but researchers reported years ago that such fatty acids are hardly effective in depression.
Now, a recent study has shown that depression cannot be prevented by taking omega-3 fatty acids and other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.
This was shown in the MooDFOOD study, which examined the preventive effects of dietary supplements and psychological advice on healthy eating and lifestyle for depression.
As the Leipzig University Hospital wrote in a statement, researchers from Leipzig University Medicine, along with 14 other research institutions from Europe, were involved in the study.
The main results of the MooDFOOD study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Study participants with an increased risk of illness
The study reported that more than 1,000 overweight or obese people from four European countries participated in the study.
These people had an increased risk of developing depression and reported at least mild depressive symptoms at the start of the study but no depression.
The subjects were randomly divided into groups and either took a daily dietary supplement consisting of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, folic acid, selenium, vitamin D and zinc, or a placebo preparation.
In addition, half of all study participants received professional psychological counseling in individual and group sessions on healthy eating and lifestyle, with the aim of establishing a healthier eating pattern.
Not more effective than placebo supplements
The study showed: “Daily intake of dietary supplements for one year cannot prevent the occurrence of a depressive episode in the sample examined; Dietary supplements do not have a preventive effect on depression, ”said Dr. Elisabeth Kohls, who coordinated the project at the University of Leipzig.
"The dietary supplement preparations were no more effective than the placebo preparations in the study, and even worse in some analyzes," the scientist explained.
"For professional psychological advice on healthy eating and lifestyle, the sample also showed no preventive effect."
Rely on methods and treatments with proven effects
"These results are important for the millions of depressed people and also for the general population in Germany," said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hegerl, co-author of the article, director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Leipzig and Chairman of the Board of the German Depression Aid Foundation.
“Depression is a serious, often life-threatening illness. They reduce life expectancy by an average of ten years, ”said the expert.
“As with any serious illness, you should therefore rely on methods and treatments with proven effects, both in the area of prevention and therapy. To influence the course of the disease, this includes drug therapy and psychotherapy, but not food supplements, ”said Hegerl.
“It is understandable that people are looking for ways to reduce their own risk of developing depression. We now know that dietary supplements are rather unsuitable for this. ”
Reduce the risk of illness
However, previous research has shown that there are ways to reduce personal risk of depression, including through regular exercise.
Just a few months ago, US scientists reported that physical activity and exercise help to significantly reduce the risk of depression. (ad)