Effects of Fish-oil on Mood and Cognitive Functions of Healthy Individuals

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Leiden University Medical Center
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: April 12, 2010
Last updated: July 8, 2011
Last verified: July 2011

The investigators recently found a positive effect of omega-3 supplements on cognitive function in healthy individuals after 4 weeks (J of Psychopharmacology 2009, 23: 831-840). The investigators hypothesize that 4 weeks consumption of omega-3 supplements in previously depressed individuals will positively affect their cognitive functions.

Secondly, low Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Some studies have found low HRV in patients with depression. No studies have investigated the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on Heart Rate Variability in individuals with a history of depression. The investigators will test the hypotheses that omega-3 supplements lead to an improvement of heart rate variability indices in healthy volunteers with a history of depression.

Condition Intervention
Dietary Supplement: omega-3 fatty acids supplements (fish oil)
Dietary Supplement: Placebo

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Dietary Supplements (Fish-oil) on Mood and Cognitive Functions of Healthy Individuals

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Leiden University Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Cognition [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Battery of test measuring emotional and neutral information processing. Largest effect expected on Decision Making Test (cf. Antypa et al., 2009) and Emotion Recognition Test.

  • Heart Rate Variability [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Mood states [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

    Fatigue, Anger, Tension, Anxiety, Vigor (Profile of Mood States, self-report measure).

    Depressive symptoms.

Estimated Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: September 2008
Study Completion Date: September 2010
Primary Completion Date: September 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Fish-oil Dietary Supplement: omega-3 fatty acids supplements (fish oil)
1.74g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 0.25g docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Olive oil capsules, identical in appearance to fish oil capsules
Dietary Supplement: Placebo
softgel capsules (identical in appearance to fish oil capsules) containing olive oil. 3 capsules/day, 4 weeks


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 45 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Dutch-speaking men and women
  • Normal weight (BMI between 18 and 27).
  • Regular diets, not containing fish more than once a week.
  • History of depression (at least one major depressive episode in the past).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Currently more than mildly depressed (BDI-II-NL score higher than 19, or score on the suicidality item of this scale higher than 1).
  • Current or past psychosis
  • Current substance abuse or past substance dependence
  • Smoking or current use of soft drugs (current = month prior to study till completion)
  • Any hard drug use (lifetime)
  • More than 3 alcoholic consumptions/day

Participants will be asked to keep their dietary habits constant throughout the study.

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01104194

Leiden University
Leiden, ZH, Netherlands, 2333 AK
Sponsors and Collaborators
Leiden University Medical Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: Prof AJW Van der Does, Leiden University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01104194     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: P07.063 
Study First Received: April 12, 2010
Last Updated: July 8, 2011
Health Authority: Netherlands: Medical Ethics Review Committee (METC)
Netherlands: The Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (CCMO)

Keywords provided by Leiden University Medical Center:
heart rate variability
omega-3 fatty acids
Depression (in remission) (vulnerability to depression)

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Behavioral Symptoms

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on May 30, 2016