Essential Nutrients-Mood:  Research Article

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder

CITATION: Stoll, A.L., Severus, W.E., et al.  (1999) Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder:  A Preliminary Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.  Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56:407-412


Background: Omega 3 Fatty acids may inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproate, 2 effective treatments for bipolar disorder. The present study was performed to examine whether v3 fatty acids also exhibit mood-stabilizing properties in bipolar disorder.

Methods: A 4-month, double-blind, placebocontrolled study, comparing omega 3 fatty acids (9.6 g/d) vs placebo (olive oil), in addition to usual treatment, in 30 patients with bipolar disorder.

Results: A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the cohort found that the omega 3 fatty acid patient group had a significantly longer period of remission than the placebo group (P = .002; Mantel-Cox). In addition, for nearly every other outcome measure, the omega 3 fatty acid group performed better than the placebo

Conclusion: Omega 3 Fatty acids were well tolerated and improved the short-term course of illness in this preliminary study of patients with bipolar disorder.


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