Clinical use of nutraceuticals in the adjunctive treatment of depression in mood disorders

Australas Psychiatry. 2017 Aug;25(4):369-372. doi: 10.1177/1039856216689533. Epub 2017 Jan 31.


Objectives: The aim of this paper is to detail a summary of the current evidence in this area, to better inform clinical practice. Our recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of nutrient pharmacotherapies in the treatment unipolar depression revealed primarily positive results for replicated studies testing S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), methylfolate, omega-3 (EPA or ethyl-EPA), and Vitamin D; with supportive isolated studies found for creatine and an amino acid combination. Mixed results were found for zinc, folic acid, Vitamin C, and tryptophan; and non-significant study results for inositol. In bipolar depression, omega-3 and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) were found to have supportive evidence, with an isolated study using a chelated mineral formula also displaying efficacy. No major adverse effects were noted in the studies (aside from occasional minor digestive disturbances with omega-3 and NAC).

Conclusions: Several clinical considerations are needed when psychiatrists are considering prescribing nutrients, including knowledge of drug interactions, supplement safety and quality issues, individual psychological and biochemical individualities, in addition to cost factors.

Keywords: N-acetyl cysteine; SAMe; bipolar disorder; depression; folic acid; major depressive disorder; mood; nutraceutical; nutrient; omega 3; supplement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder* / drug therapy
  • Depression* / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / drug therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Humans


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid