People suffering from bipolar may have scientific evidence of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. A new study, conducted by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, revealed that omega 3 fatty acid provided significantly improved behavior in mice models of bipolar. DHA, a main component in fish oil, regulated the moods and behavior of the mice. According to Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study, “The mice that were given DHA normalized their behavior, they are not depressed and when subjected to stress, they do not become manic. When we looked into their brains, using comprehensive gene expression studies, we were surprised to see that genes that are known targets of psychiatric medications were modulated and normalized by DHA.”
The researchers also discovered that the mice who received the DHA had a decreased craving for alcohol. “These bipolar mice, like some bipolar patients, love alcohol. The mice on DHA drank much less; it curtailed their alcohol abusive behavior,” said Niculescu. He noted that this finding was accidental. To validate this result, the researchers conducted another study of alcoholism in mice models, and achieved the same outcome. “We believe a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help the treatment and prevention of bipolar, and may help with alcoholism as well,” he said. The study also identified links between changes in the blood of the mice and changes on a molecular level in the brain. “There is now substantial evidence at the molecular level that omega-3 fatty acids work on the brain in ways similar to psychiatric drugs,” said Dr. Niculescu. “With these biomarker findings, we can now move forward as a field and do more targeted clinical studies in humans.” Niculescu believes that this research may lead to increased use of omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of depression and bipolar, especially in people unable to take psychiatric drugs.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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