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Omega-3 Status as a Predictor of Future Suicide Risk

CITATION:  Sublette, M. E.,  Hibbeln, J. R., Galfalvy, H., Oquendo, M. A. & Mann, J. J. (2006). Omega-3 polyunsaturated essential fatty acid status as a predictor of future suicide risk. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 163(6), 1100-1103. 

ABSTRACT:  Low levels of docosahexaenoic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, and elevated ratios of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids are associated with major depression and, possibly, suicidal behavior. Predicting risk of future suicidal behaviors by essential fatty acid status merits examination. Plasma polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in phospholipids were measured in 33 medication-free depressed subjects monitored for suicide attempt over a 2-year period. Survival analysis examined the association of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acid status and pathological outcome. Seven subjects attempted suicide on follow-up. A lower docosahexaenoic acid percentage of total plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and a higher omega-6/omega-3 ratio predicted suicide attempt. A low docosahexaenoic acid percentage and low omega-3 proportions of lipid profile predicted risk of suicidal behavior among depressed patients over the 2-year period. If confirmed, this finding would have implications for the neurobiology of suicide and reduction of suicide risk.

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