omega-3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder

Doug Skrecky (
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 23:01:56 -0700 (PDT)

Stoll AL. Severus WE. Freeman MP. Rueter S. Zboyan HA. Diamond E. Cress KK. Marangell LB.
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass, USA. Title
Omega 3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder: a preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial [see comments]. Comments
Comment in: Arch Gen Psychiatry 1999 May;56(5):413-6 Source
Archives of General Psychiatry. 56(5):407-12, 1999 May. Abstract
BACKGROUND: Omega3 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 omega3 fatty acids also exhibit mood-stabilizing properties in bipolar disorder. METHODS: A 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, comparing omega3 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 omega3 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 omega3 fatty acid group performed better than the placebo group. CONCLUSION: Omega3 fatty acids were well tolerated and improved the short-term course of illness in this preliminary study of patients with bipolar disorder.